1. Make sure your painting area is environmentally safe. Breathing fumes from painting materials can be very dangerous. If you work with oil paints try using mineral oil to clean your brushes. It can be bought in the drugstore.
 
2. Tone your canvas with a color before beginning. This can be done with oil, gesso, or acrylic.
 
3. Take time to develop a strong composition before you begin painting.
 
4. Use brushes that are larger than you think you will need.
 
5. Begin with large simple shapes. The details should come last.