*Avoid looking at other modern artists whenever possible for the first year, it will drive you crazy.
*Don't paint something just because you think it will sell quickly. The cash will be nice for a short period, but you may hate thinking of that piece having your name on it in 20 years.
*Never, ever, pay to show your work unless you have complete freedom and are not paying a commission. A decent gallery is confident in their ability to make sales and that is why they charge a commission.
*Work on every piece for at least another hour after you've "finished".
*Draw every single day.
*Try doing the same thing different ways. Draw it, paint it, sculpt it.
*If you turn down an opportunity and are never asked again to participate, that person wasn't interested in your art in the first place.
*You don't have to donate art to groups that could easily pay you for it.
*You don't have to take every commission, or any.
*Listen to ambient music while you are doing concept sketches. Don't watch tv. Ambient music will allow you to get lost in the time it is taking. Relax, take your time.
*Draw realistic portraits and hands as much as possible. Don't try to sell the drawings. Keep a sketch book with them.
*Critique your own work. Look for areas that shading is off. Are the colors blended properly? Is the perspective correct? How is the negative space working?
*Never ignore a background. If it's a solid color, have a reason.
*Invest in high quality paint. You'll just end up painting the same thing a hundred times to get the opacity needed if you use cheap paints.
*Know how to use every different brush and understand the reasons for the names, styles and sizes.
*Understand you can make nearly every color needed from a few basics and know how to do it.
*Paint and draw outside every chance you have.
*Don't "tip" anyone for showing or selling your work. There is either a commission or there isn't.
*Don't show work you feel is unfinished. It's ok to work on something for months or years.
*Take photos and post them online. It will force you to look at the piece in a different way.
*Look at your piece in the mirror. If it looks weird, you messed up. Go back and fix it.
*Know why you feel like certain artists are better than you are. Study their techniques.
*Don't be afraid to stop a style. It's ok to leave that part of you behind.
*If a gallery isn't working to promote you, why are you paying them a commission? Wall space isn't storage space. If you want to get your art in front of people, show it at a cafe.
*More people visit coffee shops than galleries. Even more people visit bars. Have good business sense about where you show your work and don't take criticism from anyone about where you are showing.
*Don't book more than one show a month.
*Just because everyone else is doing something, that doesn't mean it will work for you.
*Often indie creators will unintentionally exaggerate their profits from certain endeavors.
*Don't be the one "weird" or non-commercial artist at a festival. It will never be worth it.
*Never compare your prices to others. Look up how to set your prices and read at least 3 different methods. Price everything the same way.
*Raise your prices slowly.
*You'll make 10x the price of a painting from the prints.
*Never make a print from a photograph. Scan everything.
*Accept the fact that you will spend more time on website updates, social media and bookkeeping than you will feel like you spend on painting. Make a goal to keep improving your art. Make a goal that someday that art will pay for an assistant.
*Get a full-time job with benefits. The stress of trying to pay bills and stay healthy will be gone and you'll be able to focus.
*Never steal another artist's technique, concept, etc. If someone steals yours, stop doing that if possible. Try not to hate them for being unoriginal.
*If someone else is doing the same thing as you better, admit it and back away. Not everyone needs to paint birds and it's ok to not be the best at it.
*Don't paint and draw everything on a table.
*If you can't live with something on your living room wall, why would anyone else?
Seems like that is it for now. I'm sure in another 3 years I'll have a whole new list to tell my today self.