I do not intend to continue to post early samples of my work but allow me one more to make a point. In the first classes I took, mentioned in my first post, the instructor demonstrated brushwork as we followed along. She loaded her brush with paint and made bold distinct passages. She left each undisturbed and finished the entire painting that way. As I said before, I didn't know what I was doing but didn't have any bad habits either. The painting below hangs in my studio today as a memento, but also as a lesson on the wall to remind me not to overwork the paint. This habit can become ingrained and is best avoided from the start. My painting style now is nothing like this image, but I try to remember the lesson every time I face a blank canvas. Visitors to my studio often comment on the painting and it amuses me that some seem to prefer it to my current style. That's OK though, and it makes me treasure my first attempt even more.
One more thing- when I first started I was sometimes advised to save all of my paintings. That way I could look back on them to gauge my progress. Except for those who paint very infrequently, my advice is to discard older paintings on a regular basis if they are serving no purpose other than documentation. I would have had to rent a storage locker by now, or else my studio would be a cluttered disaster area. I recommend photographing all of one's finished paintings along with any important studies and filing the digital images by year, which is what I do, or dating them and filing by genre/subject matter if preferred. I do save a few successful paintings that represent milestones. These hang in inconspicuous areas of the house, such as the laundry room or guest bath, and I can visit them whenever I like. Of course with time many successful paintings will leave through the front door as sales or gifts and that is the happiest way to control clutter!
Thanks for reading!
Suggested Reading: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Condo.