Can You Learn to Paint Realism without Experience?

Can You Learn to Paint Realism without Experience?

Evolve Artist’s Aha Moments in Learning to Paint Realism.

A conversation with Piper Talladay.

Recently, I met online with Piper Talladay to get behind the scenes at Evolve Artist. She is a contemporary realist painter specializing in equine portraiture. And she also is the Head Instructor for Evolve Artist, and Kevin Murphy is the founder.

Get Insider Insights from An Enjoyable Chat about Evolve Artist.

I was lucky to record this conversation with Piper. It was intended for background info for this post, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s too good not to share. Nothing was rehearsed; it’s just us chatting about Evolve Artist. It’s a fun watch that you can learn from too.

Can You Learn to Paint Realism without Previous Art Training or Skills?

Get a feel for Evolve Artist with a free painting mini-course at

Piper’s delightful way of sharing her experiences, starting as a student with no oil painting experience to becoming an instructor and eventually becoming the Head Instructor for Evolve Artist, is fascinating.

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Free paint realism mini-course

I have admired Evolve Artist on multiple levels since discovering it and writing this “Evolve Artist Review. Do You Want to Paint with Realism?” In it, I say people can recognize high quality. That’s how I felt and what I saw as I dug into the details about how the Evolve Artist program works and the results its students get.

Why Evolve Artist Continues to Impress Me.

Now that I’ve had a chance to learn more insights about its art instruction program, I’m even more amazed by the Evolve Artist Program. I don’t pretend to have comprehensive knowledge about the art instruction marketplace but having created, produced, and taken hundreds of training courses makes me sure no other program delivers better results and more value to students.

Tangible quality all around is my takeaway. The program is built to help students finish the training and succeed at creating Realism paintings of their dreams. In addition, people of all ages and skill levels become proficient at producing Realism paintings with confidence in the outcome.

Virtuous Circles Are Real…ly Good!

The instructors first learned their Realism painting skills from the Evolve program. They loved the experience and achievements so much that they became instructors who were eager to share their knowledge.

Businesses that provide personal instruction in the creative arts can create a virtuous circle. Good things happen when a pattern of successful, inspired students with outstanding skills comes back as instructors. They are living testimonials of the value that students in the program receive. You can imagine their enthusiasm for the Evolve program.

You won’t encounter businesses that run like Evolve very often. Its comprehensive, conscientious guided training and the results students painting Realism get is exceptional.

I’m positive Evolve students share my experience of quality, integrity, and enthusiasm, which supports my conviction in recommending the program to anyone who wants to learn to paint in Realism.  

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Free paint realism mini-course

We’ll get to the students’ aha moments in a minute… but first, I want to tell you about…

My Evolve Artist Aha Moment.

I write about Evolve Artist because I love facilitating valuable connections—the two-way kind where both parties prosper from the relationship. When I have confidence in a company’s service or product, it’s natural to introduce it to artists who can benefit from knowing about it.

In this case, if learning to paint Realism is a goal or wish, you’ve found the perfect solution. I am an Evolve Artist affiliate, so should you join using my link, it becomes a three-way win-win-win for artists Evolve and me. I only take on deals where everybody wins.

My Aha: “Anyone Can Learn to Paint with Realism without Prior Training!”

Learning that anyone who joins the Evolve Artist training can learn to paint with Realism without any prior art-making experience is my “Aha Moment.” That’s because I assumed it would at least take perceived drawing talent and some basic art training to acquire the skills to paint in Realism as Evolve Artists teaches it.

Frankly, I was surprised—but delighted to learn from Piper that Evolve has similar success with all experience levels, from professional artists to beginners, getting noteworthy results.

And when I thought about all, I knew about the program, what first seemed like a stretch of a claim made sense to me. Especially when Piper explained how starting with foundational training that is missing in formal education programs makes the difference. It is what gives students confidence in the program and me too, ultimately.

The core of Evolve is foundational art and making it accessible to everyone.

— Piper Talladay

With Core Knowledge and Training, You Can Paint Anything.

The value of a foundational education is with it; you can do anything. Learning to command the steps, concepts, and tools to paint in Realism allows artists to create what they intend to make every time with consistency.

Having foundational skills and understanding how to use them to construct a realistic painting of anything you like is the ticket to success on personal and professional levels.

Creating art is about manifesting intention—thinking about what you want to make. And it is tremendously gratifying to know your result will come out as expected. Acquiring such talent and knowledge turns into exceptional professional skills you can build on with self-assurance. Evolve Artist has proven that with foundational education, artists can make paintings happen to their satisfaction every time.

What Kevin Murphy Says about Quality and Consistency.

Kevin Murphy is the Evolve Artist founder and primary instructor. His enviable career as an illustrator, painter, and educator is remarkable. Here is a synopsis of his beliefs about quality and consistency.  

Making money in selling your art requires your work to be good. The quality of your art must stand out so people are impressed when they see it. That’s the starting point because it’s tough to sell if people look at your work and are not impressed.

Kevin cares about and insists on quality in Evolve’s training and the art its students make. He wants students to be proud of their work. Moreover, he wants students to sell their work consistently. And as such, Kevin says the artwork’s quality needs always to be high enough to impress potential buyers. And so, he believes in the simple but powerful equation that artists must make consistent quality paintings to get consistent sales.

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Free paint realism mini-course

What Barney Says about Connections, Quality, and Consistency.

The quality of your work is one of the essential factors in creating connections and stimulating buyers to act. Good things happen when the quality of your art is evident to buyers. It builds their confidence in you and interest in your art, vastly improving your odds of selling to them. When a potential patron sees consistent quality across your portfolio, the favorable odds of them buying goes higher.

In the Art Marketing News Extra premium newsletter, I preach the value of connections and teach how to make them. I recognize finding buyers for your art is a challenging task. I believe directing your effort to build intentional relationships makes sense; it’s efficient and helps because you don’t want to spend more time on marketing than necessary.

In Making Connections, It’s the Same As with Art, Quality Matters.

Your marketing can create one-way connections where people know you, although you don’t know them. Those are great to have, and sales can come from them, but they are weak compared to two-way connections where you also know prospective buyers. But an even stronger connection happens when they know you, you know them, and they like your kind of art and have an income level to afford it.

You can imagine the payoff of intentionally making those types of connections. And they come easier when you are confident in the consistency and quality of your work because buyers can sense it. I believe it is human nature to find self-assurance attractive. So it should be obvious you are proud of your work. The best way to do that is to know you can make quality work consistently.

Consistent Quality Is a Hallmark of a Great Reputation.  

You can build a brand and reputation on consistent quality. It’s a great way to be known as an artist among your circles of influence. Consistent quality is a kind of intangible superpower because it helps build strong, valuable connections.

Precious Moments Lead to Repeat Sales and Patronage.

The moments when buyers first open themselves to appreciate your work are precious and not easy to replicate. And as such, they are too valuable to waste, which happens when your work is inconsistent in quality. Without it, developing collectors who will purchase multiple pieces is nearly impossible.

Quality Connections Position You for Referrals and Repeat Sales.

By creating consistent quality work, you position yourself for repeat sales, referrals, and support in ways you never imagined. And those things are central to building a satisfying artist’s career. Constant improvement and consistency in creating quality art create confidence and stimulate growth and ambition—all catnip traits that encourage buyers to return for more.

Who wouldn’t want to continue to buy from and support a talented artist whose outstanding work keeps improving?

Artists Can Create Virtuous Circles.

As your art improves, your ongoing success incentivizes collectors to patronize your work by purchasing multiple pieces— another perfect virtuous circle example.  

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Free paint realism mini-course

A Willingness to Learn Is the Key to Success with the Evolve Artist Program.

Piper explains all you need is a willingness to learn. Evolve can take someone who has never touched a paintbrush and teach them to paint in the style of Realism. It has students who have never painted or taken an art class. They come in with zero experience and still thrive.

Passionate, Involved Instructors Help Students Keep Learning.

Not only does Evolve understand the importance of willingness to learn, but they also make it incredibly easy to get the training they need. At Evolve, formal training via video instruction is the base. But the homework follows, along with available one-on-one with instructors as necessary, and online classroom learning is part of the Evolve experience.

Evolve students get up to 350 hours of video and personal instruction over the time they take to complete the course. Such immersive, intimate involvement makes Evolve students willing to learn everything they need to take full advantage of the world-class foundational art training experience.

Evolve Includes Everything to Give Students the Best Chance to Succeed.

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Your box of art materials includes everything you need for a year of training.

In my previous Evolve review, I explain how students receive a supply of all the art materials they need for a full year of training. Evolve Artist doesn’t want students wasting time and money trying to round up everything to learn to paint with Realism. Instead, it’s all included with the Evolve Artist Program.

Nothing Is Left to Chance!

Students learn more than drawing. They know how to create shapes, forms, and colors to represent their final image. And they learn essential tips for holding a paintbrush and arranging colors on your palette because small details make significant differences.

Evolve recognizes that such seemingly minor details matter because they don’t want you wasting time and having to unlearn bad habits years later. So, while students are learning to express their creativity, they are also learning the mechanical aspects of creating consistent, quality artwork. Finally, the blend of creativity and ability elevates the student experience and, ultimately, the post-training career.

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Free paint realism mini-course

The “Aha Moment” for Evolve Artist Students.

Piper tells us every student has a different aha moment. She says, “One that I’ve gotten a lot is a lot of students say it kind of sneaks up on them. So, they’ll be just doing these exercises, and it’s a lot of practices, and they’re going through, and then suddenly they get a jolt and go, “Whoa! I get it. I get what I’m doing. Like, whoa, look what I’ve done in 20 paintings, or look what I’ve done in ten paintings.”

A lot of students say it sneaks up on you. That “Aha Moment” surprised me in Block Three. Or “Like, wow, I am really doing this. I’m learning this.” And other students say it’s when they get to a point in Block One after only the first couple of paintings they create in Block One helps them realize they need this training and knowledge.

And while some people will get an “Aha Moment” in Block One, others realize it when they get to color in Block Three. But I’ve also had students who have said, “Hey, I watched the first set of videos and was just dumbfounded. I was excited because this is what I’ve been looking for, right? This learning is what my art has been missing. I didn’t know this was what my art had been missing, but now I get it. What I’m learning is just what I need. I’m on the right track.”

Piper’s Personal Aha Moment.

Personally, Piper reveals the following:  

“I didn’t know how much I needed a foundational art education until I got into it. But I am thrilled that I get it now. I understood that there was light and shadow, but now I understand what they are doing in my painting and how form shadows improve my art. So it’s helpful to see what reflections, highlights, and value control actually do for my work.”

Understanding the Deep Value of a Guided Experience.

Piper offered the importance of the guided experience that every Evolve Artist student gets. For example, they have students who have been trying to learn for a long time by watching YouTube videos or just looking at other artists’ finished work with some results because you can learn things that way. Studying other artists work and their videos only go so far when you don’t understand or have the foundations. They plateau because you can only do so much with informal training like that.

And equally important to learn from a solid education foundation is having someone to walk alongside you, which matters considerably. So, we start students with Kevin teaching the videos and then having myself, my instructor team, and our customer support team all saying, “Hey, we’re here; we’re doing this with you.”

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Free paint realism mini-course

Evolve Artist Is the Consummate Guided Art Instruction Experience.

Students are doing more than just watching videos. They are given homework, and we provide feedback on every assignment. Plus, we’re available to talk to them. So, for example, if they want to book a one-on-one and speak to an instructor, we’re there for them. They can talk to us five days a week when we’re open. Artists can speak with an instructor nearly anytime and email us or ask questions in the homework tool.

Evolve Artist is a consummate guided experience with an entire team committed to seeing students through to the end. It’s the opposite of saying: “Here you go, learn it yourself.” It’s an incredible community of instructors and students from around the globe studying and learning tips and techniques to paint with Realism. We’ve found bringing students to meet and work together online is a powerful learning experience that produces immensely satisfying results.

The Bottom Line on Learning to Paint in Realism with the Evolve Artists Program.

If you follow me and read my blog, you probably know I rarely promote anything as an affiliate besides my products and services. I make exceptions for exceptional opportunities, which is how I view the Evolve Artist program. That’s because I find quality in all it does.

As you investigate the Evolve program, you begin to understand the level of commitment and excellence that students experience from the outset. Evolve’s a website and promotional materials are top-notch. And they perfectly set the expectations for the training it provides.

The People in the Organization Are the Real Difference.

Then when you meet the people who teach and work daily with students in the program, you realize they exude the company’s ethos. They seek to empower students with guided instruction to paint with Realism.

They teach with the belief that the core foundational education they offer makes learning accessible and with a predictable outcome to all students within a friendly, positive, and supportive environment. To a person on the team, I find all involved genuinely enthusiastic about the Evolve Artist program. And the many glowing student testimonials overwhelmingly support my observations.

Try the Free Painting Mini-Course.

If you want to see what an Evolve Artist painting class is like, please enroll in our free Depth & Volume mini-course, where you will learn some fundamentals of Realism necessary to paint realistic images. The instructors are professional artists who teach in the program and use their Evolve Artist training to create their art. They are eager to teach art to students of all ages and skill levels, and they will help you learn to paint with Realism.

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Free paint realism mini-course