The principles listed below are what I have gravitated towards, over time. They are nothing new, just bits and pieces of wisdom that I have picked up from other artists, who are like magicians to me. I am sure I will modify and enhance these principles over time, but I deeply believe in their core essence.
1- Practice, Practice and more Practice: In the end, everyone is a self-taught artist, some go to art school, some learn from books and videos. But No one School, teacher, book or video can give you the magic answer to all your painting/sketching questions. You are your best teacher. Don’t just collect art supplies… practice.
2- Create small paintings: To practice often, it is necessary that one creates small work of art, so that it is not an overwhelming task to reach the finish line. Do small, simple paintings- a pear, an apple, a small vase, a slice of bread. Some die hard artists paint everyday and off course, the quality of their work speaks for itself. The idea is to go through the whole cycle of the painting process as many times as possible, and painting small will help you complete the cycle more frequently.
3- Time Constraint: I am noticing that if I constrain myself to time. I tend to do a better job at getting a work that has a zest to it, is greatly simplified, and does not look belabored. The time constraint in turn forces me to use limited palette. Which is the next principal.
5- Use large brushes or broad strokes depending on the medium: Use the largest brush you can use (I like filbert) and go at it. If using pastel or a dry medium, think big and avoid the details as much as possible. Leave the details for the end or don’t do any details, the art work should look complete with or without the details.
6- Look at other artists work and make that your standard: Look at the work of other artists you admire. Study how they have done their work, how they have played with value, intensity, hue, temperature etc. It wouldn’t hurt to copy their work to hone your skills (It is illegal to copy and sell other artists work without their permission).
7- Self Critique: I am fortunate that my wife has a good eye for seeing what has gone amis with my painting and she immediately tells me what looks obtuse. However, it is a good idea to look at a painting after a day or two with renewed senses and the problem areas in your painting will jump out at you, which one must analyze and if desired, fixed. I feel that the realization of the problem is 90% of the job. The other 10%, of fixing the problem, is easy.
8- Rules are meant to be broken: This is 100% true for Art. From time to time I may do things out of the ordinary to make something work and you should too.
9- Have Fun!