I have taken an online class with Mark (12 days, 20 mins sessions of one to one tuition) and I wanted to let you know what happened, documenting the progress. I selected the still life class, which is the class where you can best learn the "draw mix paint" method.
First of all: I have taken this class only after having viewed (more than once, and taking a bunch of notes) all Mark's videos. All of them. I would not recommend taking the class unless you do this first.
The class time is limited, you need to ensure you reserve the time with Mark for questions you have, and for him to comment and teach you based on your progress.
Although not a requirement suggested anywhere, I wanted to set myself up for success so just before the class I bought the proportional divider, a reference photo from his website (laminated) and the Geneva Paints. I also bought the colour checker, although for a painting from a photograph that is not needed as you'll colour-check only by painting a little dot on the photograph (then wipe it off easily when fresh, given it's a laminated paper).
The item I would not do without in this class is the proportional divider - by far. Additionally, the Geneva paints are the best paints I have ever worked with, and will only use these going forward, forever! The richness in pigment is parallel to none, the flow is amazing and they do stay fresh on the palette and on the canvas for a long time (2 weeks so far, and counting).
For the purpose of this class I highly recommend them, however you would also be able to work easily if you use Mark's recipe for the slow dry medium and mix your colours properly ahead of the class. That recipe is here: https://forum.drawmixpaint.com/discussion/81/recipe-for-slow-dry-medium
and somewhere he uploaded a youtube video to show how to mix the colours.
The class will develop according to the pace you set. I took my time as I wanted to learn all the steps properly: I was not interested in finishing this painting, I was interested in learning how to get there.
Mark was very happy with the approach.
Here is the reference photograph:
For the first three days I drew using for the first time in my life the proportional divider. It was a life changing experience, I have never produced a drawing so well made and proportionate which made so much sense. Mark found this really good.
For the following two days I mixed the colours. As the reference photo I chose was very complex and I wanted to go slow I mixed the colours to cover only one third of the canvas (the first to the left). The colour groups I mixed belonged to the roses, the glass and the small bottle, the background, and the table.
This was not easy either. I made misteaks in laying down the colours (swapping a higher value place with a lower value place) on the palette - which is not something I will repeat. Also, in two cases I missed some steps (one time the lower values, one time the higher values).
Finally I started painting. You can see here where I stopped (end of class). There are mistakes here, the most glaringly obvious one is the bottom of the small bottle that needs a good bit of re-work on values. However I am very pleased and Mark found it quite good.
To give you an idea of my level before I was taught by Mark, here are some of my previous paintings: https://forum.drawmixpaint.com/discussion/12127/paintings-before-mark#latest
Once I embark on a journey I want to see it through. So, as planned, at the end of this class I have purchased the year long mentoring program, during which I want to complete this painting and hopefully paint another one (or two). I work full time so I only have weekends (and admittedly not all of them) available to paint. So a monthly cadence and no time pressure suits me down to the ground.
Mark advises to paint at least 5-10 paintings following the method to the letter before "straying" from it. Anybody will stray in the future (after all it is a learning method) but of course, one has to master it before doing so.
In my view It's like learning a different language: use the grammar and the dictionary to the letter at the beginning, and yes, the initial exercises are tedious, then once you are fluent in that language, feel free to introduce slang or poetic licenses when speaking it or writing it. There is no difference here.
There are some that say that Mark's method is too tedious and that he does not bring you to create proper art. They are sorely mistaken. This method "teaches" - teaching being the keyword here! The art you will create will come later, after you know what you are doing. At least this is my opinion.
This is it. I hope you will find it useful.