Greetings from Santa Rosa, California

I tried painting with water colors years ago and now at the age of 72, I'm trying oil. I watched many of Mark's videos, set up the studio, made a shadow box and bought Windsor Newton paint and the ingredients to mix Mark's recipes.

My first painting attempt didn't go well. The paint seemed thick and sticky. So I think I need to thin it with some mineral spirits? I ordered glasses and just got them because I found matching value so difficult. I'm trying not to be discouraged, but can't help but think I've taken on too much. 

I'm going to tint another canvas soon and attempt to paint a pear or two. 

Any advice or suggestions will be most welcome. Mark is a great teacher and explains things well. The problem is that he makes it look so easy.

Thanks in advance,


  • Welcome!  I am new to oils, too.  I am sure others will chime in with better mixing advice than I am able to offer, but it is fantastic you are not giving up.  Hang in there.  (And many of us here use magnifying eyewear and it makes a big difference.)
  • edited February 2021
    Hi, @christinez. Welcome to the forum. Don't get discouraged. You're not going to paint a masterpiece in your first week of painting. It takes time and plenty of disasters for the trash. But that's how the learning happens There are quite a few of us here who started late and have gained so much from DMP. You're in good company. 

    Don't thin your paint with mineral spirit. Use a medium.

    Enjoy your painting.  :)
  • @christinez
    Baby steps.
    What kind of paint are you using. What kind of thinner, brushes all the bit and pieces. Mark does make it look easy... it is and is not. But if you take it slowly. Don't just jump right in to a painting. Line up your ducks. You'll be okay. It's a workflow. It's a process. Expect to practice and experiment to get the feel. Mark makes it look simple but he's been doing it a very long time. Be patient keep referring back to the videos and procedures and you'll do it.

  • Welcome @christinez. agree with everyone above - baby steps, patience and don't give up. I've read somewhere that if for 100 failed paintings you get one right you can consider it a success :)
  • Please don't give up.  Keep pushing paint around and you'll soon see results.  I would like to suggest that you have your reference enlarged and laminated so you can see adequately and color match.  It is slow but using Mark's methods will help you greatly.
  • Welcome to the forum.  I use walnut oil to thin the paints.  I do not use any spirits.  The only time I use spirits is when I use odorless paint turpentine to thin down the umber/white to stain the canvas.  And I do that outdoors.  
    I suggest you start with a simple object, maybe a vase or something with reflective surface. I also recommend that you watch Mark’s videos more than once, especially after you’ve tried his method.  You will realize how much you missed in the videos.  But most of all, enjoy the process and the time you are taking for yourself.  
  • Thank you everyone for the warm welcome and the encouragement. I've had to regroup and life has gotten in the way a little, but I haven't given up.
  • Welcome. I am new as well. Being a musician, the first rule is practise, practise, practise. Don't get discouraged early on. Keep going!
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