I'm pretty sure that I could just go on and on and on with ideas to make your paintings better but you know what, there is one proven way to improve. It's simple too, that's what's so frustrating. Show up. What showing up is actually painting. Lots of painting. That's how you learn. One of the artists that I've taken classes from told us once that she has to paint over 30 paintings to get one good enough to go in a gallery. WHAT! I thought everything she did was wonderful and it was but she was looking for something special and that takes a lot of time with your seat in the chair (or standing) painting even when you are good.
When you paint a lot, everything will not turn out. In fact when you start out, most of it isn't. Just like golfing or driving or kissing. It takes practice. Lots of practice. Okay, with kissing maybe not so.
I read the book Big Magic this summer and loved it. She used an example of an instructor who divided his sculpting class into two groups. One group would be graded on quality, one group would be graded on quantity. Guess who did the best? The quantity group.
If you pay attention to what you are doing and try to figure out what went wrong, you'll learn. You'll improve. Try it, what have you got to lose? I see it in my classes all the time.
In my next post I'll work on some tricks to get yourself to paint more.