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Muncie artist gains following with online painting lessons

September 26, 2018

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Bill Inman works mostly in solitary at his quaint Elm Street studio, yet his work is noticed by thousands every month.

Inman always wanted to be an artist. That came naturally through his years of painting pieces that he sold in galleries. He lived in various areas across the western part of the country — southern California, Wyoming, Alaska — capturing the beauty of the vast, breathtaking landscapes through his artwork.

But in the back of his mind, Inman always had dreams of becoming a teacher. Now he has found a way to mix both passions.

Twelve hard-drives full of nearly 40 terabytes of media crowd the desk in his studio, which also holds a big-screen computer monitor. Paintings are scattered around the room, and a pair of video cameras are set up at his easel.

Inman runs MasterOilPainting.com. It’s where he uploads videos of himself painting landscapes, start to finish, with a voice-over of step-by-step instruction.

This venture started when YouTube became popular. Inman laughs at the first video he ever made. “The sound was horrible, the visuals were bad. Plus, learning how to edit that was all so complicated for an artist who was so new to technology,” he said with a chuckle.

Almost six years later, Inman has developed a solid system. One camera captures his painting, while another zooms in on his palette of multiple colors. He has a more advanced microphone system, and because some of his paintings can take up to 40 hours to complete, he cuts out unnecessary clips to make the tutorials more concise. He even dabbled with fast-motion clips.

The style has gained quite the online following among the online art world. Inman teaches oil painting to more than 35,000 unique visitors each month. His site holds close to 350 members from more than 100 different countries, and well over 2,000 people have purchased some type of tutorial. On YouTube, he has accumulated nearly 24,000 subscribers.

Inman jokes that with his lack of experience in technology, he is blown away at the online response his work has generated. He credits much of that growth to his son, David Inman, who helped him build a state-of-the-art, continuously updated website, among other marketing materials.

Bill Inman’s courses aren’t for the casual artist who only wants to spend 30 minutes on a piece. He strives to help them create gallery-worthy content. He said art is a “crazily demanding field,” but for those who are passionate enough to stick to it, he is passionate about getting them up to speed.

“Most people who think of going into the arts they think, ‘Oh, a nice relaxing hobby kind of profession,’” Inman said. “It’s very far from that. It’s a really competitive and demanding field. You have to love what you do, and you have to love working in order to do well with it.”

Is Inman the Bob Ross of the digital age? Well, he does instruct with video, but that’s about where the comparisons end. Inman’s work isn’t like the formula paintings Ross created. His style is more focused on principles like abstract color shapes, shadows and highlights, color theory and color relationships, according to his YouTube page.

Inman’s website offers six-week courses, tutorials for individual paintings and a membership option, all at various prices.

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Source: The Star Press

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Information from: The Star Press, http://www.thestarpress.com

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