Art instruction: how to choose what to paint

Art instruction and art classes will definitely help because the subject is everything!!!

Why it is so difficult to choose what to paint? Why cannot we decide on it?

That sometimes takes, hours, days and weeks, even months. I know how some potential artists would procrastinate for long time just because they cannot stop at something in particular and make a decision.

How so?

Stopping at some subject is crucial to get started at all.

When we go through images or sort our memory and imagination we find the potential subjects too difficult, too complex or too simple. There is nothing to paint. Nice colors, but bad view, no foreground or no background, boring or too detailed: these and similar thoughts might rush through your head.

One of the worst ways to help you choosing what to draw or paint today is just to check out what others do or have done today.

That’s it. There goes your day and there go the best hours for painting.

Internet images will suck you in; you will end up watching lots of YouTube videos which you neither wanted to watch, nor needed. You will look at endless Google images. That is a big distraction which we call inspiration. I will just get some inspiration on this subject, you say and nothing gets done.

Whether that is a photo or a set-up of real items, just get started. Just do it: the first line, the first brush stroke. Who cares?

You can change colors.

You can add or remove the background.

You can disregard details or add them to your pleasing.

Anything which is related to your computer or phone is here to distract you.

No wonder we wake up 4 hours later and we have not done one single line of a sketch, drawing or under-painting.

I sometimes think people are way better off going to a class because that will remove all troubles.

There will be a prepared image, subject or concept and you just go with it.

That image will suit well your intentions.

Assuming, you are alone and you do not have intention attending classes at the moment.

Get a picture, good, perfect or not that great: it does not really matter. The only thing that matters is to get started.

Once we are over the starting point, that’s it.

Just take the pencil or pen and start drawing. Take the brush and start brushing.

The first step is what matters. After that point you will be fine because the inner “you” will not allow taking a break until you are done.

For inspiration, please, see the progress of recent barn and spring watercolor.


We start with sketch, then do very light line drawing, apply first washes, add more or less color, define more and that’s pretty much it. Total time: about 5 hours.

I did not like how the first version looked pale (not in photo, but in reality) the next morning, so added stronger background and more layers to buildings and front.

art classes: barn watercolor

That’s how it looks, watercolor on Saunders-Waterford paper, 22 x 16 inches, or 56 x 41 cm.

To get started easier, please, sign up for painting and drawing classes:

To see what art can do for your mental health and brain fitness, please read my article on my other blog: Keeping memories alive

Good luck!


16 Replies to “Art instruction: how to choose what to paint”

    1. Well, you can try it anyway.
      All one actually needs is the starting image, composition and order of steps.
      I don’t seem to manage videos, then I’d need way better lights. I cannot afford them at the moment, but I intend to publish a learning page on this same website, so, that people who are interested can try using the sample images. There is nothing complicated, it is simply: just go ahead and do it!
      Thanks for your nice comment!

    1. Thanks, Steve! That is nice to know! I thought you were a poet and artist who creates digital images. That’s even better that you publicize your artistic side.

      1. My pleasure, Inese. Programming one thing or another is what I mostly do, and in terms of writing, I’ve written far more technical stuff than fiction, but I very much enjoy the poetry and digital art, and I’m hoping I can improve. By reading your blog amongst other things. 😃

        1. It is good to have some pleasurable thing to switch to. I have been doing medical research, writing and translations for almost 35 years now. It is quite an upsetting activity, dealing with really sad facts is not what lifts my mood. It means also focusing to an extreme level because I have very complex materials, usually intended for medical specialists, or materials to be sent to court because patient had passed away, and I have to type sometimes about 5,000 words a day, it can be 100 pages in 4 days. I have done that, everything is rush. There are also numerous regulations one has to comply with. Therefore, I know how relaxing it can be to switch to art.
          Your poetry is quite unique, most likely it is because of mixing together exact science and poetic interpretation of daily events and everything what happens around us and can be found in news. That is a definitely a noticeable personal style.

        2. Your work sounds exciting, even if it is a bit stressful: that is a lot of writing.

          I enjoy my writing and basically just put down whatever comes into my head. My scientific background definitely has an effect and certain news events affect me, again because of my life experiences, but I don’t plan it. Otherwise it would be like work. 😃

        3. That is why your poetry is interesting AND FRESH: you do not plan anything. I noticed how well flowing it was. It certainly feels that you have a scientific background. I have, too, and I am typing a lot again. They wanted this job done by today, the deadline is a bit extended now. 76 pages coming after that. It is for German colleagues this time.
          Well, my dream is just being able to make enough money with my art and non-medical writing. Unfortunately, I’m slaving at computer 12 hours a day and that leaves not much time for anything else.
          Nice talking to you!

  1. “I will just get some inspiration on this subject, you say and nothing gets done.” Ha-ha-ha-ha. I have sure fallen down that rabbit hole many a time! As always your watercolor is exquisite. I love the way in which your trees bleed out into the sky as if they were embracing that space.

Your comment is greatly appreciated