When I first decided to learn to oil paint (story to follow later) I went to a very good art supply store in my state.
I walked in and started looking around. I had no idea what I was looking at, or looking for. The nice lady at the counter came over and asked if she could help.
I explained that I wanted to learn to oil paint. I didn't even know what I would paint on, and I was looking for a pad of paper. I told her that maybe I would buy some butcher paper.
She told me that the oil paints would disintegrate paper. She gave me a quizzical look.
She asked if I was an artist.
I told her that I had absolutely no artist abilities, and that I was starting from absolute scratch.
She smile and told me something that gave me chills. She gave me a firm, tangible starting point. She put me on my path.
She said: “There’s a saying that tells us that no one is an artist until they've painted a mile of canvases.”
Then she started showing me all the things I would need to get started.
She said that she was one of the teachers at the store, and I could immediately tell that she was telling me things that she believed, but might not be exactly what other painters would tell me.
So here we go with controversial views.
She told me not to waste my money buying canvases yet. She told me to buy some Masonite board at the local hardware store and cut it to the size I wanted.
She told me to prime the board. She didn't say how many times, or anything about sanding the board. She told me I could buy white gesso for priming, but that regular white priming paint at the hardware store was the same thing and would save me money.
I picked up some pink soap for cleaning brushes (I imagined that painting was going to be a terrible mess) and she said that was fine, but that I could clean my brushes just fine with dish soap and water.
Okay. I bought the pink soap and a little glass jar to clean my brushes in. I took a brochure about painting classes.
I was going to paint a mile of paintings.
I’ll tell you what I've learned about her advice to me next.
By the way, so far, I've painted about 0.004 miles of canvas.