Can you believe we’re already celebrating 4 years of Master Oil Painting? Some of you have been with us since our very first art training video on YouTube, and others just joined us today. Long timer or brand new, we want to say THANK YOU for making this amazing community a reality!
Over the last 4 years I’ve heard a few questions over and over (and over and over and over…). I figured this was my chance to share those awesome questions, and my answers to them, with everyone at once! Community rules, studio set up, art market conditions, and everything in between. This isn’t a fine art encyclopedia yet, but maybe with your help we’ll get that put together someday as well.
And as always, if you have some tricks of the trade that you wouldn’t mind sharing please comment below!
Most Commonly Asked Questions with Answers (in no particular order)
Q: What lights do you use in your studio?
A: My lights are a combination of two different bulbs that have worked out amazingly for me. They aren’t perfectly color corrected, but they seem pretty close, and they allow me to work at any hour of the day or night.
I wanted to make sure the lights were available at most hardware stores so I wouldn’t need to worry about hard to find specialty items or frequently changing obscure websites or catalogs.
The bulbs I found are the GE Sunshine F32 and the Daylight 32. The Sunshine bulb is 5000 K temp and the Daylight bulb is 6500 K, so between them they approximate the semblance of natural lighting – not too cool or too warm. Even though north light, which artists prefer, is between 7500 and 10,000 K, bulbs that are easy to purchase do not do well at replicating the true color temperature of north light.
I use four 4-foot long light fixtures with four bulbs each for a total of 16 bulbs. I alternate each of the different bulbs with two of each bulb in each of the fixtures.
There are probably better systems out there with all the new technology, like LED’s, but this has worked well for me for the last 10 years. Before that I had a different studio with north light windows so my set up was a little different.
Funny thing is that my very first art training video 4 years ago was on studio lighting. Enjoy, and try not to make fun of my awkward dramatic intro too much.
Q: How do you keep your paints fresh on the enamel table overnight, or over several days of no use?
A: I don’t worry about my paints drying out on the palette. I paint so often that the paint doesn’t have time to go to waste, at least when I’m not working non-stop on training videos and teaching .
Otherwise, when it’s a few days or a week in-between sessions I just peel off the thin dried skin and use the wet paint underneath. If it’s even longer than that, I usually scrape the paint off and lay out new paint. That’s why I buy the large 150 ml tubes. I also squeeze out large piles of paint and smooth them into a circle or rectangle so the skin is easier to remove if they begin to dry out. Paint waste is fairly minimal, but it’s also part of what I plan on. My 150 ml tubes last 6 months to a year even when I’m painting on an almost daily basis, so I don’t think I’m wasting as much as it seems when I periodically scrape my palette.
Something you might try, if you know it will be several days or weeks between painting sessions, is transferring your paint piles to a storage container that you can put in the freezer until you’re ready to paint again. A few minutes with your palette knife might end up saving you a lot of paint in the long run.
There is also a product I saw recently that had great reviews: https://www.greatarttools.com/palette_garage_store/ – I haven’t used the product myself, so I can’t personally vouch for them, but it looks effective and convenient. I would probably use something similar, except that I tend to avoid things like washing brushes or saving paint because I get too focused on painting and teaching that I fail to attend to some of the important tasks like that until my brushes have dried up on me. Fortunately, Turpenoid Naturals works wonders with loosening stiff brushes.
Q: I’m a member of the 6 Week Course or Monthly Membership. Could you please tell me if you answer questions at specific times, like webinars, or can I ask you anytime through email. Also, do you only critique paintings during the member only webinars?
A: The monthly members only webinars and the weekly Facebook Live events are the easiest time for questions, only because it means I can answer ‘in person’ which I’m better at than written replies. However, I have never turned a member’s question away, so if you have one you would like answered through email I’m more than happy to help – just know it might take me a while to answer because I’m not the fastest person on the keyboard and may sometimes fall behind. We get a lot of emails, and we answer each one personally – either David guiding members through the technical side of things or me responding to more art specific questions. And don’t forget about our Members Only Facebook Group. I try to get on there and answer questions at least once a week, and the other members are also brilliant at offering helpful insights and encouragement with one another.
Critiques are a little different story. While email critiques can be beneficial, they are not nearly as valuable for the member as a video critique, and it takes me an incredible amount of time to put an effective critique into print. Video offers greater clarity and description in a condensed form. Also, even though written and video critiques are both time consuming, video requires a lot of behind the scenes work that is just too cumbersome for individual critiques – especially with the time constraints I’m under. The only effective and feasible forum I’ve found for those is through the webinars. Having said that, I still hesitate to turn away anyone needing help and would find a way to critique it for you if you really needed it.
I feel like critiques are one of the most important aspects of learning and growing as an artist, which is why I have designed our training with a monthly critique option. As far as I know we are the only online training that has such readily available critiques. However, if you’ve watched one you know that the 25 paintings I critique in a session take me 2-3 hours and the creative energy required wears me out physically and mentally, so fitting any more into a month is difficult. I’m still toying with the idea of a paid 1 on 1 session option for additional critiques, but right now I haven’t figured out how to fit something like that in.
Q: How do you start selling your paintings as a fairly new artist?
A: Selling art can be tricky because there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ scenario. Most of my work has been sold through galleries, but many artists today are enjoying great success selling their art using the internet.
If you’re wanting to sell through galleries, I recommend the book ‘Starving to Successful‘ by Jason Horejs who owns Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. He’s had great success as a gallery owner, and his book is one of the best resources I know of to learn about getting your work into galleries. He’s very passionate about helping artists.
Selling your art yourself will require a lot of time spent marketing and promoting, often upwards of 30-50% of your time. Painting is an amazing way to make a living, but selling art is every bit a business as any other and requires significant time for both developing a mastery of the craft and a mastery of business (unless you find someone to do the selling and promoting for you). If you want to sell your art just make sure you plan on working two full time jobs, one as an artist and the other as your marketing manager, and don’t be surprised when you need to put in overtime for both of them.
I would suggest you visit galleries where artists you admire sell their work and talk with the gallery’s owner or director. Let them know you’re an emerging artist and would like some mentoring on getting your artwork ready for galleries. I’ve found gallery directors and owners to be very open and wonderful people who love art and artists. Just make sure you don’t take their time during a busy moment or when potential collectors are in the gallery. If you respect their time and business they will usually be very willing to help. I met some very influential people in my career by doing this early on.
Q: What should I paint that will sell well?
A: I’m not a fan of ‘painting for a market’. I suppose some artists do that, and may have even become successful doing so, I just don’t have any desire to move in that direction. I have always painted what I love and then gone in search of the galleries and collectors who like the same type of artwork.
It’s possible to paint for a particular market, but competition is intense in the art world and if you don’t truly have a passion for what you do the work will more than likely be lacking in a way that affects sales. I’ll paint subjects or do commissions by request, so long as I am given license to paint according to my own style and interests. I recently did a painting of a home that was very important in the lives of a family, but they gave me great liberty to paint it the way I wanted to paint it.
Q: If I purchase Master Oil Painting art training, how long does it take to get it?
A: This is one of my favorite things about our training site. No DVDs, no shipping, and no wait time!
You get immediate access to High Definition streaming art training the moment you join. You’ll receive a welcome email with your login credentials and another email with home page directions to make viewing the training simple for you. Periodically an email gets lost in the junk mail folder, or deleted, but that’s not a problem because we can easily resend you the information. We recommend starring, or saving, those two emails so that your account is always easy to access.
We’re easy – Purchase, Login, Enjoy!
Q: How did you set up your wall easel?
A: I purchased my easel almost 30 years ago, but at the time it was on a wooden base with wheels. I removed the base and attached it to the wall for greater stability and floor space.
The rectangle pieces of metal you see on the sides of each post are to keep the posts screwed into the wall nice and snug – they’re like washers with a hole in the middle for a screw to fit through. I used aluminum wall anchors screwed into the drywall to hold the rectangle metal washers tightly in place.
Here are some pictures that will hopefully be helpful:
Q: What’s the difference between the Master Oil Painting 6 Week Course and the Monthly Membership?
A: Deciding between the 6 Week Course and the Monthly Membership will largely depend on what your hoping to find. The 6 Week Course covers the principles of oil painting, from basic set up to more advanced composition and color techniques. It doesn’t show much step by step, or paint along, videos since that’s what the Monthly Membership is for. The other important aspect of the 6 Week Course is that once you purchase it your access NEVER expires. Watch the videos and refer to the training as often as you want to.
The Monthly Membership doesn’t cover in-depth my set up, tools, or individually discussed principles of oil painting – instead each video in the Monthly Membership shows every brushstroke of the painting and palette from white gesso to gallery ready painting. They are packed with voice over instruction describing my process and thoughts, and how I’m putting principles of art into practice. This is your opportunity to feel like you’re painting side by side with me in the studio, learning techniques and color mixing through practice and application. Every single month a new video is added to the library ranging from 1-6 hours in length, so you’re unlikely to ever run out of paintings to learn from.
They work really well together, but can also be used independent of each other. Many of our members have shared how well Monthly Membership has helped them apply the principles of the 6 Week Course, so if I were to recommend a “best order” it would be to start with the 6 Week Course and then move into the Monthly Membership.
Both of them come with access to our Member Only benefits, including the private Mastering Oil Painting Facebook Group and the monthly critique and Q&A webinars.
Q: Do you offer any free training options?
A: First off, I’ve been teaching art for so many years simply because I love doing it. Art, and art training, aren’t careers that people gravitate towards to make bundles of money and retire young. If it were possible I’d give all my training for free, but it costs so much to produce the videos, run the site, and operate the business that it’s just not possible.
I’ve tried hard to price all of my training as low as we can, but I know circumstances don’t always care about good intentions and that there are some “starving artists” who are still unable to purchase any of the trainings I offer. I remember multiple times early in my career when paying for art courses or books meant my family had to live off of pasta for a few weeks, but the courses, books, and workshops were such a boost to my confidence and skill level that they were worth the sacrifice.
With that in mind I’ve always had a goal to produce a percentage of my art training at no cost. 4 years into Master Oil Painting and I’m proud to have hours and hours of free content available on our YouTube channel, as well as continued instruction through our Facebook page, weekly emails, and this blog. And as soon as they figure out the cloning process I’ll produce even more!
YouTube Chanel: https://www.youtube.com/inmanfinearts
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BillInmanFineArt
Blog Homepage: https://www.masteroilpainting.com/blog
That about does it for our most commonly asked questions. Do you have any other questions that would be good to add to this list, or suggestions that might help fellow artists who have been asking similar questions?
Hi Bill – I have been receiving your mails for a couple of months now – I live in Cape Town South Africa and would like to know if I can purchase firstly your 6 week course and then go on to monthly – I love reading all the mails I receive and find your information so informative- I have gone for art classes with local artists but I so love your style – it suits me – I have tried other styles but feel totally out of my comfort zone- many thanks
Hi Marilyn! First off, thank you for your kind words, and I’m glad to hear that our content has been helpful to you. We’d love to help you get started with our training as well, so would you be able to email us at email@example.com? That way David, our Tech Guy, can help answer any questions you have about joining the 6 Week Course and eventually the Monthly Membership.
I’ve noticed another common question, concern is brush maintenance.
Being the novice I am, early on my brushes would stiffen from lack of proper cleaning. To correct it required leaving brushes to soak in turpentine or other solvents for extended periods.
That however was not my favored remedy
Surching a suitable solutions I’ve settled on using “baby oil”.
Typical application is to remove as much paint as I can by dry wiping the bristles dipping the bristles in the baby oil, perform a second wiping then a final dip and light wipe to complete the process
Furthermore any residual oil remaining on the bristles appears to have no negative affect with studio or professional grade paints.
This process results in perfectly clean brushes without benefit of toxic or expensive solvents, and to date has not shown harmful to the integrity of either natural or synthetic bristles.
Hope this is helpful
Bill, I am a relative “newbie” to the world of painting……only about 2 1/2 years and am enjoying it more each week. Hope to soon have my home studio set up (in a few weeks) so I won’t have to unpack and set up each time I want to paint! As I really like your painting style/technique, I have a couple of questions for you. What do you paint on….a board, a canvas, linen? How do you prep your surface …I like that what appears to be brushstrokes that show up in the finished painting and assume this is done before the paint goes on the surface? Do you add a medium to your paint when you apply the underpainting? Thank you so much for your time (and your talent!)
What type of umbrella do you use? I live in sunny windy Florida. I have a Guerrilla Shadebuddy Umbrella & Stand. It did not last long and need to order a new one. Thanks for your advice.