4 Beginner Painting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

There’s a lot going on when you’re learning to make art…avoid these things as you get started!

There’s a lot going on…but by following these 4 Evolve tips, you can get started smoothly on your painting journey!
Evolve student Karen shows a great example of perfectly controlled values. Can you see how all of the shadows are darker than even the darkest lights? This organization helps beginners to avoid common mistakes and understand how to handle value.

1. Incorrect Values

Here at Evolve, we believe that value is one of the three moving parts of any painting. Value simply speaks about the lightness or darkness of tones and colors. Issues in value are a common mistake in beginner paintings.

These paintings by Evolve Student Karen B. are a good example of how simplicity leads to mastery. The first painting is her first painting from direct observation, and the second her last. By slowly progressing in the complexity of her paintings, she is confident in the measuring process.

2. Choosing the Wrong Thing to Paint

One of the most common mistakes that beginners make is choosing an inappropriate subject for their level.

Evolve students learn how to mix rich colors using Old Holland Paint

3. Color Mixtures and Overusing White

Color mixing holds an important place in learning how to paint. However, one of the common beginner painting mistakes is to not experiment with color mixtures, but instead to use paint directly from the tube.

An example of colorful shadows by Evolve Student Tiffany B.

4. Using Only Black for Shadows

Using pure black in the place of a shadow is the final painting mistake we will discuss.

Guidance from a quality teacher will help you to avoid most mistakes, if you want to learn more, visit us at Evolve Artist.


Making mistakes is a part of learning. But if you do not learn or grow from your beginner painting missteps, they are then truly mistakes that will stick with you. By looking for these common issues in your paintings as you learn, you will continue to improve and spot them for yourself.

Teaching art students how to get the technical skills they need to become working artists. Learn more at evolveartist.com

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