When we’ve made an investment in developing our art, we all want to know how to get the most out of a painting workshop. This weekend I start four days of fantastic creativity with two amazing tutors.

Here are a few things you can do to get the most out of a painting workshop. Once you’ve made the investment, boost your progress as much as you can these ways:

Leave your inner critic at home

We’re all very good at criticising our work. But there’s a balance between being your own best critic, and being self-critical. The critical voice in our heads is not helpful, nor is it accurate or true.

Choose your tutor

It’s important to have the right tutor and the right subject. Find a tutor whose work you admire, and who teaches a technique you want to learn. Work out whether their teaching style suits you: Some workshops give step by step guidance. Others are more focused on supporting artists in their aim to develop their own unique style.

Be prepared

On a practical note, make sure you have the right equipment and materials before you go. Some tutors will be specific about the items you should bring. Others will be happy for you to use a lot of what you already have. If you do need to buy supplies, get small quantities if you’re not sure you’re going to be using them going forward.

Embrace failure

Understanding and accepting the fact that we are unlikely to produce a masterpiece on a workshop is a key element when we think about how to get the most out of a painting workshop. When we’re doing something for the first time, we should expect to be less than expert. If we’re focused on creating a masterpiece, we will be thinking about the outcome rather than the process.

Make connections

One of the real benefits of going on art workshops is the connections and friendships we make with other attendees. Some of my closest friendships have started with a meeting at a workshop. It’s not really a surprise – people who invest the time and money on a painting workshop will have a common interest in painting and in learning. One of the values of painting with other artists is what you learn from each other as much as what you learn from the tutor.

Ask questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The tutor is there to teach you so will probably appreciate the fact that you are thinking about the information they are imparting and asking good questions. Make sure that the questions are on topic. That will help all other attendees and make sure everyone benefits from your curiosity.

The most important tip on how to get the most out of a painting workshop

This is my all time top tip for making sure that a workshop will fast track your painting expertise:

Relax and enjoy the process!

When we are relaxed and having fun, we learn better so not only is the workshop more enjoyable, it is also easier to learn from it.