Top Tips for Budding Furniture Painters
When I started on my painting journey, I had absolutely no idea where it would take me. I started just over eighteen months ago as a novice painter barely able to paint a one coat finish on a piece of furniture, to a Brand Ambassador for a worldwide paint company, Dixie Belle paint!
I would like to share with you some of the things I have learnt a long the way, which will hopefully give you some guidance at the start of your painting journey.
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Enjoy the Journey!
Okay, this is probably the most important tip of all. I often hear new furniture painters feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of talent out there in the furniture painting world and the number of directions they could take their painting in, putting too much pressure on themselves to meet unrealistically high standards too quickly. Just remember when you are at the start of your journey, you are not going to know it all straight away and that's ok! In fact, that is part of the fun! There are lots of furniture artists offering tutorials on YouTube, myself included. Ranging from tutorials for absolute beginners, up to intermediate level. Remember to enjoy this part of the process and take it in your stride. There's no rush! Which leads me onto my next point...
2. Don't Be Afraid to Get Experimental
If you had told me eighteen months ago that I would be painting a piece like this, I would have probably laughed at you and I'm not kidding! I would have told you that I have no clue how to paint flowers, in fact, I don't even know how to draw a flower! The latter still stands, but with a lot of openness to learning and experimentation, I now know how to paint abstract flowers.
Some people may tell you, you need to paint a certain look so that it sells, or that you need to choose one for your business branding and while there might be an element of truth in both of those points, I say you are a creative and it is worth trying all of the looks! Especially to start with. You may eventually find that a certain kind of painting technique is your style and you want to stick with it, or you might be more like me and enjoy painting something a little different each week. Either way, you won't know until you experiment!
3. Try Different Paint Brands
No paint brand is made the same and each have their own unique benefits. I tried a lot of different paint brands before I decided Dixie Belle was the one for me. That being said, it doesn't mean mine or anyone else's paint brand is right for you and don't let anyone tell you any different. The reason why I love Dixie Belle is because I love chalk paint and I love colour! Dixie Belle paints are amazingly pigmented and versatile, plus their range is huge and it means I never get bored! However, there are other paints out there that do different things, so it's worth getting a few testers and see which paint brand on the market is the best fit for you.
4. Purchase a Good Brush
If I had to choose between ten bad brushes or one good one, I would definitely choose one really, really good brush. If you are a chalk paint lover like myself, then I would recommend a solid synthetic brush like the Dixie Belle Mini, or alternatively a synthetic, natural bristle mix such as the Best Dang Brush; both offer smooth, brush-stoke free finishes, plus are fantastic for blending. If you are a lover of texture like me, it is worth investing in a good natural bristle brush such as the Dixie Belle Premium Chip Brushes. I am not kind to these at all as I often mix with a texture additive called Sea Spray (which can be harsh on your bristles) and stipple (which is even harsher!), but I do find the premium brushes tend to stand up to all of this and I am not throwing money away trying to replace them all the time.
5. Don't Compare Yourself to Others - Community Over Competition
I've been there, I've done it. I've compared myself to others especially in the early days. Wondering why I am not gaining as many followers as some of my fellow painters on Social Media platforms, or why my photos weren't doing as well and I tell you what, it never made me feel good. The green-eyed monster serves no purpose other then to make you feel insecure and put barriers up to making good relationships. Everyone has different styles and everyone grows at different speeds. There is no right or wrong here. Try and take inspiration from those people that are maybe doing a little better then you at this point in your jourmey and instead of saying "Why am I not like him/her" and feeling crap, try and rephrase that as "Wow that person is doing well, I would like to aspire to reach the point of where they are at some day" (and maybe even throw a compliment that person's way ;-) ) Trust me, that positive energy will make you feel good!
There is a whole community out there willing and waiting to support you. This community are your friends and not your competition!
6. Be Fearless In Putting Yourself Out There!
When I painted this piece I was legit terrified of putting it out there. I had not seen anything quite like it at the time on Social Media and Mid-Century Modern was definitely not my usual style; but I tell you what, this pieve has been one of my highest performing creations to date!
So last but not least my advice is to paint from the heart and put yourself out there. If you rely on sales and those sales are usually very simple pieces, then remember at least once in a while to feed your creative soul and paint a piece for you. It can be scary putting your work out there, ready for the internet to critique and let's be honest the internet is not always the kindest place, but as an furniture artist you cannot grow without an element of risk. However, once your get used to that risk, I think this is the place where you will find you grow the most. Plus the painting community is incredibly supportive and you never know, that piece you are scared to put out there might be a big hit!
I hope you enjoyed these tips and have found some of them useful. If you want to hear more tips, then check out the video below. Please also remember to reach out to your fellow painters. including myself if you are ever in need of any advice.
Have yourself a great day and as always, Happy Painting!