Progress is gradual. If you compare your work today to your work from a month ago you probably won't see the much difference. But if you look at your work a year ago vs. now you'll see that you have more control over your tools, marks and washes. Progress is not measured in hours, but in months and years. The more you draw and paint, the better you will get.
I’ve never been a big fan of warming-up before exercising - and I certainly don’t want to warm-up before a painting. I just want to dive straight in with no preliminary drawing, lots of colour and I expect great results. No wonder I’m often disappointed.
With this in mind I set out to encourage my weekly classes to start with a warm-up exercise. I produced a plan (of course!) that changes the exercise on a monthly, if not weekly basis, so no one can complain of lack of variety - although they complain about everything else and often try distracting techniques to stop me suggesting an exercise!