I remember spending a whole lot of my youth with my nose buried in art and watercolor painting books when I wasn't playing in the woods. I always seemed to learn more from step-by-step pictoral walk-throughs of paintings in progress than from reading descriptions of how to paint a particular subject or technique.
Being rather old school, I watched John Gnagy on television, I read American Artist magazine and could not get enough of seeing how other artists were doing what they were doing. I grew up with the haunting dynamic realism of Andrew Wyeth versus the lyrical world-affirming characters, colors, and brushwork of Dong Kingman.
Mixing histories, I've found various inspirations in the work of Norman Rockwell, Zoltan Szabo, Tony Couch, Ted Kautzsky, Tom Hill, Charles Burchfield, Edward Hopper, John Singer Sargent, Irving Shapiro, Frank Wilcox, Frank Webb, Edgar A. Whitney, Vincent van Gogh, and Tom Lynch. But a few among the many who have traveled these paths before us.
Prepare to learn: Layer by layer
The original Step-by-Step lessons on www.watercolorpainting.com are not pre-painted to make sure I know all the right moves. I shoot each as they happen to unfold in realtime. As I pick a subject and start painting I am as suprised at the end result as anybody. Layer by layer a piece of art develops from white paper to the last "should I, or shouldn't I?" stroke.
Learn from others, watch their mistakes
So read and look. Learn some good and proper skills. Learn how I cope with painting problems as they raise their chaotic little heads looking for direction. See how all the images of those before me have influenced the way I paint and what I paint. See me screw up. (See me smile when I don't)
If you walk away from this site having learned something, or if what I've done here has sparked an idea for your own art—good. That's why I do this. That's why other artists are out there: on the web, making videos/DVDs, writing books, making CD-Roms, and giving workshops. Sharing our own special joys and ways and visions of creating our art keeps us alive.
If you are persistent and keep MAKING ART... you may have the pleasure of looking upon one of your finished paintings in awe. It's an odd kind if awe. The kind that makes you ask yourself, "Did I paint this?" When it finally dawns on you, you will grin.