Watercolor painting for beginners: the best way to get started

SUMMARY: When it comes to watercolor painting for beginners, adult students need to bring with them more than the right supplies when starting.

When it comes to watercolor painting for beginners, starting as an adult is tough

It doesn’t matter how much success we’ve had in our life, when we start something new, we don’t want to go through the learning curve.

For one thing, as an adult we expect that we should have figured out everything worth knowing by now. That we shouldn’t be floundering about.

And when it comes to painting, there can be such a gap between the paintings we have in mind and the ones that we produce, that we can’t help but look at them as embarrassing failures.

I think our expectations are even higher because we painted as children and we have fond memories of that time. 

Putting in the time

The fact is that mastering watercolors, like mastering any skill, is something that requires practice. While a bit of talent can help, the time spent practicing and experimenting is what will make the greatest difference.

But not only do we expect to be good at it right away, we resist investing the time to get better.

Fortunately, we can fast-track our progress with the help of books, live workshops and online watercolor classes.

At Arts of Course, we design our online courses specifically for adults who are pressed for time. They're self-paced, encourage exploration, and give students a place where it’s safe to take a risk.

I’ve been painting for 8 years now, and I still find that the majority of my work could be improved upon. I have to remind myself that because art is limitless, no matter how much better I get, there will always be room for improvement.

The secret ingredient

In the end, as a life-long learner myself, I think that a love of adventure with a splash of self-compassion are the most important things you can bring to your easel whether you’re a seasoned artist or just beginning to paint.

Here’s a story about self-compassion I go back to whenever I get impatient about my progress:

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