Guest Post from Kristie –

Edgar Degas said, “Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.”

My involvement with Bill’s painting was usually, “what are you going to paint next?” then in a day (or six) I would go in to critique it. I know he does a lot of study about his subjects before he paints (because he tells me when I ask him what he’s been doing all day).

The work behind the painting is something I hadn’t really understood until he started filming for his monthly instructional videos.

I’m not very good at being patient.

At times I don’t understand what can be taking so long to get a painting done. Especially if I bring him lunch and the painting looks like it’s pretty much finished already. I may point a couple things out to him to fix, but in my mind it should just be a swish here and a touch there, and voila! It’s done.

The Looking Glass | 30×40 by Bill Inman (early stages)


The Looking Glass | 30×40 by Bill Inman (finished)

Turns out it’s not that easy, or quick…?

Per my request, as well as dozens of others over the past few months, Bill has decided to make another painting course.

This one will be for those who are newer to the world of art, including those who have never picked up a paintbrush before. Our plan is for it to lead into the lessons of the 6-week course with plenty of step-by-step instruction.

I have gladly volunteered to be the first student, to help with it’s creation.

Actually, that’s how this course idea began, or the plan for it anyway – I told Bill that if he could teach me to paint he could teach anyone. As has been pointed out many times, I’m good at seeing something that may be off in a painting, but I have no clue how to fix the problems!

Plein Air East Coast White River Experience – problem spots

Excitement and fear are running side by side at the thought of this endeavor.

Excitement at learning how to paint I absolutely love scrolling through the Master Oil Painting Facebook group and seeing the amazing work posted on there! The beautiful emotions put to canvas. Cherished memories caught up in a permanent form.

It’s all just so awe inspiring, and I can feel the anticipation welling up inside me as I want to get started now!

Fear, because what if I can’t learn how to paint?

“Every Artist was First an Amateur” – Ralph Waldo Emerson (oil painting – Legacy – 36×48 – by Bill Inman)

I know it’s going to take an incredible amount of work and practice on my part. Sometimes I feel like my brain takes just a little longer to absorb information. There have been plenty of times when I hear Bill explain something in a webinar and I feel like it’s a different language (which I guess it kind of is). I need an ‘artinese’ translation dictionary…… ya, that’s a made up word, but I still think it would be helpful (might be a blog for later actually).

I’m worried there might be some karma associated with these lessons.

Let me explain. The first time I put Bill on a horse to teach him how to ride, the horse took off into some brush. If Bill tells the story, the horse bolted at a dead run, but If I tell it, he cantered non menacingly. The speed doesn’t matter though – I was laughing too hard to tell him what to do in any case. I knew the horse, I knew he would stop – eventually – and that all Bill had to do was stay on top, which he did!

Now it’s my turn to be taught by the master.

Lucky for me, and all of the Master Oil Painting students, Bill is not the type of person to laugh at inadequacies. But I think, much like when I put him on our old roping horse expecting him to know a little something about the basics, I will be at the canvas and be utterly at a loss.

When Bill and I were engaged I would go up to see him in the art building on campus of what is now BYU-I (formerly Ricks College). He basically lived there.  Sometimes there wouldn’t be another soul in the building, but he seemed to always be there working hard.

One time he gave me a sheet of watercolor paper, some brushes and paint, and let me at it.

It was awful!

I’ve seen better things come from our kids in kindergarten. That feeling of failure and frustration has always stayed with me when I think of trying my hand at painting.

What’s interesting is 15 years later, while working through my Speech and Audiology degree, on a whim I took some classes in ceramics, stone cutting and art installation.  I loved them all, especially pottery! I wouldn’t go near the drawing or painting classes, too daunting. Now I wish I had.

I get to start at the very beginning with this course, and if Bill can teach me, then it should be quite a successful curriculum.

“Creativity takes courage” Henri Matisse once said.

I think it takes courage all throughout the artistic process. I see the Master Oil Painting members putting their paintings in for LIVE critiques in our webinars and I’m always so impressed with them!  The posts in the members only Facebook group asking for critiques impress me as well – and the group insights are so kind and helpful.

You probably won’t see any of my work for a while. I don’t expect to paint pieces rivaling any of the members for quite some time – but I will share them eventually – once I get my painting legs under me.

As I anticipate dipping my toe into the world of painting, the thought of it makes me so much more impressed with your talents and willingness to share and grow with us.


Do you have any suggestions that might help me as I get started?