The man who single-handedly taught me I was good enough at painting to aim bigger. In the first couple months of learning watercolor, I stumbled upon this French painter's YouTube Channel. It didn't take long before I had watched every single one of his videos, and even attempted to do some of his paint-alongs.
What I love most about Umberto is his style. He paints abstractly, not caring too much about the details or the exactness of any of his subjects. He'll use a few strokes, let the color mix naturally on the paper, and he lets the viewer put together the pieces. One of his videos on how to draw figures shows what I mean. Obviously people aren't triangles, but he only needs to indicate a red triangle and you know that it's a woman in a dress. This is still something I'm working on.
Another one of my favorite things about Umberto that I noticed makes his style so unique is that he uses a swordliner brush. Usually you'll see artists use round brushes or mop brushes, but the swordliner's unique triangle shape makes more really cool effects when painting trees, foliage, and figures in city scenes. Watch out for it if you dig into some of his videos.
I'll come back to my first point about why this man was so important to my learning watercolor - that he taught me I could aim bigger. He showed me lots of little tricks like highlighting with white ink or flicking water onto the paper - little cheats that make the painting look much more advanced. He helped me break down how to paint what I would have guessed were very complicated paintings. At the end of the day, he gave me confidence that I could make some pretty amazing paintings with only a couple months of fooling around. So while I'm still an amateur painter, he helped give me the confidence to put my work up on a website, and for that I'm thankful.