I had a college professor that insisted that the average artist had to complete at least 300 paintings before they would have reached an acceptable skill level. He would walk around the class and say to different students, " You're doing good, in about 200 more paintings, you will probably have it." He was always met with overwhelmed looks of desperation as the students mentally calculated how much longer they had to toil before they "had it".
I had the same feelings as the rest of the students. My only consolation was that when everyone else needed 200 more paintings (some 250 or 275), my professor stated that I only needed about 150 more. At first I wondered why he would say this to his students, who just wanted to express themselves through paint. Now I look back at my paintings I did in college and I have to laugh. It is true. An artist does need several hundred paintings under their belt for them to reach an acceptable skill level.
Many young aspiring artists do not understand the hard work, and stamina that go into becoming a skillful artist. The very first drawing class we took in the BFA program was designed to weed out those students that did not have the drive, the energy, or the motivation to be successful as an artist. That beginning drawing class was an essential milestone for any fine art student. The workload was heavy, the teacher was tough, and the students dropped like flies. Most of the students that made it through that first class went on to graduate with their Bachelor's of Fine Art and careers as fine artists.
I'm not sure if I've reached the 300 painting milestone yet, but I do know that I am leaps and bounds better than I was when I first started. It is all about hard work, education, and motivation!