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I am struggling and a little worried

Hello everyone, 
I started doing art when I was very young and then gave it. About a year ago I picked it back up because my life was going down hill and I needed something to keep me in check. So I started painting again. I am also a professional magician so this keeps my mind in 2 places instead of one. But I started with watercolor and had a cheap set and did very well. Then I wanted some help improving so I called a painter on YouTube I won’t say his name and he said he would help me by giving me lessons since I’m young and broke. But I would have to switch to oil painting. I got all of my paints and easel. Spending lots of money then he ghosted me. So I started trying the draw mix paint method and something is not clicking. So I have been getting slightly frustrated and losing motivation to paint. If anyone has been through a similar situation it would be nice to hear some advice. 


  • edited May 12
    Hello @parkerwilliammagic and welcome.
    I have not been through a similar situation, but I want to remind you that if you did well with the water colour then that is a real positive, they are certainly not easy.
    Marks methods I would say are very beginner friendly and, as I am sure many will agree here on the forum, that if you follow his instructions to the letter you will achieve good results.

    When you say you have tried this method but something is not clicking, what exactly do you mean ? What have you tried in this method that you feel you are failing at, and where is it that you have become stuck ?

    Like most things, becoming good at them requires application and repeated practice. Mistakes are something to embrace because we learn from them.

    It is good that you also do magic because, particularly with realism, when we paint we are also creating an illusion. I dare say you do this with your magic.

    Painting is also about problem solving, so identify your problem and then look into how you can solve it. Often there are many ways to do this. There are no rules but there are guidelines that are helpful and often wise too adhere to particularly in values, colour and perspective to name a few.

    Keep at it.

  • Hi, @parkerwilliammagic. Welcome to the forum.

     @MichaelD has said everything I might have so I won't reiterate but just say that you'll get lots of helpful guidance and useful critique here if that's what you're after. Just post Your work in the Post Your paintings sub-forum and you'll be surprised at the help you'll get. Most here are very kind and helpful so don't be shy.  :)
  • @parkerwilliammagic I suggest choosing a simple still life.  Avoid patterns and complicated objects.  Watch Marks videos and follow what he says exactly.  To save yourself some time and money you can get by with just a color checker and proportional divider.  Maybe post what you are working in along with the reference and artists here will be happy to point you in the right direction.
  • hi and welcome :) looking forward to see your paintings :)
  • Welcome @parkerwilliammagic. You are probably better than you think you are. I would encourage you to post your work. There are some very fine artists on the forum who will be more than willing to help. 
  • It is really hard to be subjective about your own work and sometimes when you’re learning new techniques it can be dispiriting but you’re probably making a lot of progress even if it doesn’t feel that way. 

    One thing I’ve found helpful is to keep checking out books on painting cause sometimes having things said in a different way gives you that aha moment. 

    Gregg Kreutz has a book called ‘Problem Solving for Oil Painters’ that runs through all the things that might be off and how to deal with it. 
  • I am no expert, but would suggest you perhaps just start "playing" with your oil paints.   Experiment with working on wood, normal paper, watercolour paper, oil paper, canvas and board.    Play with making marks and shapes with different brushes.

    15 odd years ago , when I began with oils, I found by mixing lots of spirits (I just used cheap turps to play with) and linseed oil (I just used cheap from a hardware store), I was able to experiment with using the turps or the oil, or both in place of "water".    I just used plain watercolour paper and still have some of the studies I did.   They have lasted well, even without gesso on the paper.

    Gradually, I found I began to use the oils over the top of those "watery" pictures and used the old "fat over lean" idea.    I will admit to ruining a lot of pictures.   The initial watery works had a charm to them which was lost when I began to thicken the paint over the top.   It was frustrating and still occasionally is.   However, with practice and time, you will find the odd thing just "works".   

    My "break" with oils came when I went to use watercolour one day and found I was frustrated with it as it did not respond the way oil paint did!

    Stick with it and enjoy the process.  I think we never stop learning how to manipulate oil paint.
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