I've been fortunate in my upbringing that my parents have always encouraged me with art and have given me access to any instruction I might want and need. From elementary though Jr high I went to group art lessons at an artist's house where we got to work on our own projects of all different mediums (clay day was always the best!). In junior high and high school I had one on one lessons where I learned the basics of acrylic painting, drawing and color mixing.
So from there I went to college and started making my way through the BFA program at Midwestern State University. All of those art lessons from my childhood gave me a strong foundation of color, composition and some technical ability. Unfortunately, without the close supervision of an instructor I couldn't do anything. It totally sucked. I had all these half formed ideas of what I wanted to, but I could never get it out and it was endlessly frustrating for me.
So one day I decided that I needed to figure out this painting thing. So instead of thinking of art as this magical creative act that is birthed into the universe I approached a painting as a problem that needed to be solved: I had a photo on a piece of paper and that image needed to be painted on a canvas. The paintings after weren't that good, but at least I could finish one. It was a bunch of trial and error until I could come up with some pieces that I could show in public.
Now painting for me is a process that is still evolving, but I am equipped with the knowledge and tools I need to get something respectable out (most of the time). Its still some trial and error, but its not on such a frustrating basic level.