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You’ve been doing quite a bit of painting.

In your painting nook. All alone.

And you’re not that happy with the results. Your inner critic is all over your paintings, and you don’t feel you’re improving much.

If this is you, then taking this one step can REALLY help:

SHARE your paintings (with the RIGHT people)

This is for a couple of reasons:

Encouragement

There’s nothing so encouraging as receiving a positive comment or response from someone about a painting you’ve done or are working on. It can be the thing to boost your confidence, to spur you on to your next painting, or the thing to give you the strength to pull a painting out of the rubbish bin and finish it off!

So having a supportive friend or partner will make a world of a difference to your efforts to improve your skills. And it can be even more rewarding to receive feedback from someone else who is also learning.

Corrective feedback

If you choose the right people to share your work with, you can also benefit from receiving some ‘corrective feedback’ in the form of supportive tips and pointers for where to improve your current and future paintings.

This can then inform your practice sessions and really bring your work on in leaps and bounds.

Where do you find people who can help you?

Check out your area for informal art clubs where people get together without an instructor just to paint, draw and share artwork together. Online there are websites that are ‘safe’ troll-free spaces for sharing your work and receiving encouragement – my online school is one of them.

Please share others in the comments below!

Ok, but the thought of sharing is SO scary!

Why is that?

Well, it’s a sign that painting is really important to you. Which is actually a good thing.

And sharing makes you vulnerable to criticism which can be scary but is ultimately a good thing:

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.”

Brené  Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

How to get the courage to share

Try this one tip: instead of focusing on your own feelings, try stepping outside of yourself to think of what sharing your work can mean to others.  

Your painting won’t be perfect, but by sharing it’s imperfection you help others who see it to realise that it’s OK for their paintings to be imperfect too.  You encourage them and spur them on to paint more and share more. Looking at it from this perspective; from what you stand to give rather than what you might lose can do wonders for your bravery.

 

What some of my marvelous School members have said about sharing:

“I always think my paintings are not good enough.  I didn’t realize that sharing them and gaining feedback would give me the confidence and motivation to keep painting. Had I not shared my paintings I might have given up.”

Barbara Kulas –  GA, USA

 

“Self doubt is a big hurdle to get over for someone new to painting, or even ones not so new! By offering paintings up for critique to fellow School members and friends you receive recognition for your efforts and encouragement, these are great confidence boosters. Self doubt starts to recede… Happy painting!”

Lorraine Damm – Mannum, Australia

 

“I rely on the feedback from other trusted painters and friends to improve my work. They see it with fresh eyes and help me know where my painting is strong and where it needs work. They bring their lifetime of experience and observation. While I feel a bit vulnerable hearing their suggestions, I am more confident that my painting will become better than I could have made it alone.”

Linda Shumaker – CA, USA

 

“I am a firm believer in the saying “we learn from our mistakes”.  If no one tells you that you are making a mistake you will continue to make the same mistake over and over again. Receiving feedback from other students has helped enormously to boost my confidence when it has been slipping and introduced me to friends all over the world. Creativity is contagious in a good way.  It heals the soul, calms the mind and brings joy to those around you.”

Margaret Orchard – Norfolk, UK

I hope this helps give you the courage to share your paintings with the right people in the right places to help you develop as a painter.  

Please share your own sharing experiences, and any good places to share your work online, in the comments below.

Happy painting,

38 Comments
  1. Chani 2 weeks ago

    I sometimes share my work on instagram, I feel that it helps me improve my work. I will be joining your school one of these days when I can afford to. I really find your work inspiring, the one tool that I really need to perfect is knowing the rules of painting on parchment as it drinks up all the water.

  2. Val 2 weeks ago

    Although I do agree with you, I am interested in getting the kind of critique that enables me to do better. I do not like the sycophantic responses most online (and even some art club members) give.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 2 weeks ago

      In my experience Val you just need to ask for that when you post – making it clear you are open to constructive criticism. Often people won’t volunteer a critique unless it’s specifically asked for because they don’t wish to hurt the painters feelings, which I think is fair enough.

  3. Sandy Donner 2 weeks ago

    All these comments really resonate with me. I am constantly doubting my ability and even worse, comparing myself with other artists. I’ve had to learn to push through the ugly stage that every painting goes through and just keep painting until the butterfly emerges. Sharing is extremely hard, but so helpful with this! I’ve learned so much from the tips and critiques from others and also made some great friends. Fresh eyes can help you see your painting in a new light and helps you to step back and see your work in a different way. It also helps to give gentle tips to other artists and therefore use our artist’s eye to see work without the emotional attachment. You start to look at things differently in your everyday life and think…”So if I were to paint this, I would…”

    • Author
      Anna Mason 2 weeks ago

      Well done for pushing through the discomfort and growing as an artist Sandy!

  4. Vinodhini R D 2 weeks ago

    Thank u soo much anna. It really my luck to have you as my mentor.

  5. Sheila Gunther 2 weeks ago

    Thank you for your comments!

  6. Kathy 2 weeks ago

    Thanks so much for the encouraging words. Your kindness shines from your message!

  7. Natalia 2 weeks ago

    Hello Anna!!! I want say Thank you very much for your lessons and support !!! It big Happy see result after your lessons and have really fine pictures!
    Your amazing pictures inspiration for me!
    Natalia, Russia

  8. Jack Hotakorzian 2 weeks ago

    I am so happy to have received this email. I did your free tutorial of the pear and I would have liked to receive your feed back on it, but cannot see how . I have posted it on other social media and received a lot of positive feedback but yours would have been invaluable.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 2 weeks ago

      Sorry Jack, I’m just not able to comment on everyones! Glad you got some good feedback though!

  9. katherine patrick 2 weeks ago

    This came to my email inbox just as I was feeling a bit discouraged and frustrated with my limitations in grasping this watercolor technique. It encourages me to keep on. I also appreciate the positive input I receive from my fellow students and the admin.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 5 days ago

      Oh good, I hope you feel more like painting again now Katherine!

  10. Helen roberts 2 weeks ago

    Thanks Anna I think I am my own worst critic family think my work is good but I still I think I could do better I get a little frustrated but I will keep trying

  11. Iris Wang 2 weeks ago

    Actually, I joined some private groups on facebook which just for watercolour addicts recenty. It has been 6 years since I started out in watercolour by self-study to feel the paint layer’s charm, but it is really just in my nook, I dont know if there is any mistakes or some points could be improved. Sharing let me gain more feedback and appreciation rather than scruples, which encourage me a lot.

  12. maria kellner 2 weeks ago

    I used to feel the same ,then i developed my product called Colour Preveiwers,i can tell how each layer will effect the next with confidence.

  13. Gloria Smith 2 weeks ago

    Hi Anna thanks for this, I am my worst critic and always feel I can do better. My family do support me, my husband has brought me an easel new light your flower book and other materials to keep encouraging me.
    I have done the rose from your book, posted on my Facebook page I know it’s not perfect, but it is the best rose I’ve painted, and I’m quite proud of my effort. My next task is your Crafty Art rose, I will keep going and one day I may feel more confident to join your class.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 5 days ago

      Keep at it Gloria, and do seek out that support!

  14. Alison Walker 2 weeks ago

    I love your paintings , I’ve never really learnt to paint but I throw porcelain pots on a wheel. After seeing your paintings I tried my hand at painting with underglaze but of course you can’t get depth very easily unless you fire the pot several times building upon the previous colours. Difficult to ask for comments on that sort of thing because it’s slightly different but I love the way you explain and I’ve learnt a lot from your work.

  15. Jela Duić 2 weeks ago

    I like to share my work wizh others because I olways look on my painting as a new worksheet ..I love the process of paintingm, try to realise good things as well as mistakes….paint..paint…learn..learn…

  16. Ainara Calahorra 2 weeks ago

    Thank you so much, Anna, for:
    – Your lessons are so useful for someone that really want to paint realistic in watercolor. I have received some critics from the people around me that they like the watercolor more watery or traditional. I am able to see the beauty in that kind of paints but I enjoy the pleasure to see realistic watercolor. It was not easy to see, until I discovered your web and YouTube channel. I felt identified with the way that you express your art and for that reason, I started to paint.
    – Your words of encouragement and understanding. Thanks it, this is the first time that I am going to share my watercolors. I have posted the poppy that I painted from your tutorial.
    I bought your book for Christmas and I recommend it to everyone. Thank you.
    (PD: sorry any misspelling since I am from Spain, and English is my second language)
    Ainara Calahorra, California (USA)

    • Author
      Anna Mason 5 days ago

      I’m so pleased you have found your community and a method you enjoy! Art is a very personal thing so people have different tastes – though interestingly i think a lot of people have the opinions about art that they’ve heard elsewhere and taken on board – rather than a direct response to a painting. Thanks for your comment!

  17. Bernie Bombardier 1 week ago

    I love to see others work! It’s so important for the feedback and it’s most important to take a step back and realize they are not criticizing you but the painting. Sometimes in the online environment feedback can be misread in the wrong tone we ourselves attach to the words we are reading. The important thing is to look at it analytically and take the point from a learning perspective. You can definitely develop a “thick skin” from critiques which helps in its own way in the real world.
    I used to be so petrified to post work but now I welcome it. It really does benefit the artist as long as it’s not taken personally.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 5 days ago

      You’re so right about tone Bernie, and I think we all need to remember that when we’re offering critical feedback on a painting – choosing our words as best we can to convey the constructiveness that the comment is coming with (emojis can help online! )

  18. Donnabainum 1 week ago

    Thank you for this email. I have not shared any of my paintings because I thought I was the only one that is not happy with the way they turn out.

  19. Lisawood 1 week ago

    Great blog subject. Thanks for sharing. I watched a Ted Talk of Brene Brown years ago and just loved what she had to say. I’ve found observing my mind and not believing everything it thinks gives way to being free to just be in the moment and have fun. Any time I feel contracted while painting, I know I am back in my mind and it is just a reminder to come back into the present moment. Painting in the present moment brings the joy and lightness back. Love your school!!

    • Author
      Anna Mason 5 days ago

      That’s a great point about feeling contracted = mind , Lisa, thanks for sharing that!!

  20. CaroleW 1 week ago

    I attend a local art class at which we use various mediums, watercolour, acrylic, pastels etching. We are having an exhibition soon and I am very anxious about showing my work. However, of the pieces I have completed, the Harvest Mouse and the Cosmos are the ones I have chosen. Maybe it’s because I spent more time on these. Your tutorials have given me lots of confidence, not just in your projects, but in my class, where the tutor is doing a great job with a variety of subjects and mediums.

  21. Sharon3 1 week ago

    I love the weekly inspiration for painting watercolors.
    Thank you for this e-mail , Love sharing my work with other painters.
    Anna have you ever painted a hibiscus flower.
    Your inspiration is so helpful.

  22. Merila 1 week ago

    I love seeing all the artwork people post. It is especially interesting to me to see the sketchbook section and the personal projects our community of artists undertake. The photos people are posting are also inspirational. I thank all the photographers who so generously post the sharp, colorful images from around the world and their willingness to allow us to use them freely.
    Having attended drawing and painting classes in person where the students self critique, hear constructive comments from the teacher and sometimes other students has allowed me to “get over myself” as far as letting other people see my work. Still, it was a little scary to post my own work on this website where I knew hundreds of people might have a look. Also, when you are in a class, the critique is from people you know and have some degree of a relationship. So these were factors that made it a little difficult to share. But I just decided to take the same approach with THIS community as I have for in-person classes. Doing so has made me feel a part of something much bigger than my own little realm where I have sometimes felt isolated from a wider creative group. In short, I think being willing to share launches you through that doorway into this very welcoming community. I haven’t felt that sense of isolation since; I am very glad to have found it.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 5 days ago

      Your contribution is really valued, and I’m so pleased it’s been helpful for you and that you’ve developed that courage to share your wonderful paintings.

  23. Brenda Gromling 1 week ago

    Learning to paint has been a journey. After I retired from a successful Medical Sales Career (see my blog post: https://bibigromlingart.com/blog/125904/life-after-retirement), I needed something to do. I started by taking classes at a local gallery and after awhile, found a video of Anna on YouTube. I took the first pear class and was absolutely hooked. I now am selling my work, have a website and have started a new career. If you read the blog post-the picture I am holding was my very first watercolor painting…I have come a long way and my skills have improved because of Anna and her technique.


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    • Author
      Anna Mason 5 days ago

      That’s so great Brenda, so glad to have been so helpful to you! Your Pear is great!

  24. Artee 1 week ago

    I have been sitting on 2 tutorials Knowing they lack parity with the guide sketches and 1 in particular looks overworked. The other is incomplete and is the third go. I wonder is it better to post my efforts and move on, or repeat each tutorial until it seems close to the sketch?

    • Author
      Anna Mason 5 days ago

      Artee, thanks for you comment. Please post this question in our forum (under the ‘Community’ tab) and post a photo of your pictures so we the rest of the community and my team can really offer some feedback!

  25. Gail Jones 1 week ago

    I like being part of this school and although I have only been painting for about 3 months, I get such encouragement from everyone and the tutorials are so easy to follow. Love it here!

  26. Loralyn 7 days ago

    I like posting my work and getting positive?helpful feed back. Any and all tips are very appreciated!

  27. Jodi 2 days ago

    Life has been a terrible rounds of interesting things since I extended my subscription. I thnk I have been on only 1-2x in months…..however, before that, the school help me brave sharing a few photos of my work. I appreciate the feedback and the support. Not all are looking for constructive critiques, so as Anna says, be specific if that is what you are desiring. And mentioning what part/s you are struggling with in the painting with asking for suggestions is very helpful. Regular comments and encouragement are helpful to, but I also appreciate it when people take the time to say, “hey, what about this?”
    Thanks for the reminder Anna!

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