Getting those first 100 paintings under your belt...

I was browsing my portfolio the other day, when I got sucked in to the vortex of artsy laziness and decided to count up the paintings I've saved and sort of "quantify" my growth over the last 4 years.  What amazed me isn't that I've improved (I would be sad if I felt I hadn't improved atleast some!), but how a marked increase in recent production has so obviously gone hand in hand with the development of my skills and vision.  I remember reading some advice from more experienced painters that you need to paint! paint! paint! and that a novice painter just needs to get those 100 first paintings under his belt.  Well, now that I'm here, on the other side of that 100, I can't agree more. 

Over the first 3 years, I painted about 50 paintings, total.  I took two semester-long watercolor classes back in 2011, and they helped me produce work and learn basic skills.  I then did some abstract work on my own, bit by bit.  Along the way, I joined the artist community at WetCanvas, I researched and learned about color theory, I did my two murals, I did some digital linework, and, ever so slowly, I kept painting watercolors.  Still, all in all, that's only about 1.5 watercolor paintings a month.  I could copy an image with glazes pretty well if I wanted to, but here's what I got when I tried to compose an image of my own last October-



Comparatively, I count that I've painted atleast 100 paintings in the last 9 months, which averages out to just about 3 paintings a week.  Holy mole!  That surprised me.  My (crappy) math skills tell me that's a 750% increase. LOL.  Here's a recent painting I did, after all that playtime-



Good teachers matter, and I've searched some out.  Well written books or instructional videos matter, and I've read some. Good tools matter, and I bought them.  I think they all very clearly have made learning easier.  But nothing, in my opinion, takes the place of...well... the almost mechanical fact that you just. need. to. paint.... a lot. if you want to learn how to paint.

You can learn a lot from failing.  In fact, you really HAVE to fail if you want to learn. So, I guess the goal is that I have many more failures, right?  :D