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I don't know if anybody has bothered to watch "Style Me" on WE (Women's Entertainment Television). It's a show hosted by the over-tanned and under-talented Rachel Hunter, that is primarily a ripoff of "Project Runway". But instead of competing as fashion designers, the "Style Me" bunch has to compete as stylists. Well anyway, they have finished the season and announced a winner.

So you are naturally going "Who cares?" Well, I do. And not because I give a shit about the lazy and manipulative world of Reality TV (note: I care about the lazy and manipulative world of cartoons, I guess). I care because… is the winner. Yes, that's the girl who won the privilege/responsibility of trying to make Rachel Hunter look like she dresses well.

She sat for that painting right before she was sequestered with the other stylists. I mean like just a few days before this "Style Me" thing went down. And here is a telling tidbit: She made that bra she is wearing in my painting.

What? What was that? ... Yes! The answer is YES! I take full credit for her victory! The fact that she was far and away the best stylist is immaterial. I don't like to get bogged down with facts when I am taking the credit for other's achievements.

Post Game

Fri Oct 21, 2005, 7:37 AM
My solo show is down now, and all that is left are a few pieces in an inauspicious group show. Someone should ask:

How did the opening go, Doc?

Sigh... Where to begin? Well, let me tell ya, when you take a years worth of labor, love, obsession and hang them in a room, place yourself in said room, and then people that room with strangers and friends... It is an odd experience.

The night before the opening was spent at the recording studio where the Venture Players did their best to breathe life into the script for the Brothers Venture Comedy Semi-Hour Season Premier. Most of the core dialogue was done during the day. But by the time night began to drop from the sky, Jackson, the engineer and I were all that remained. And as always, Jackson and I walked home from the studio together. We do it every time, like thirty blocks. To talk, joke, enjoy each other. It's a tall drink of platonic love (with ice and a crazy-straw) that I will, without reservation, admit to enjoying. I absolutely cherish the friendship that I have with Jackson. There is no mystery how we can both write a script, without any interaction between us, and have it fall sweetly into the world of Venture. It is because we understand each other, respect each other, and hate ourselves. Don't ask... Just trust me here.

As our gay-assed "walk" (in the Robert Bly sense of the word "walk", and the middle school sense of compound word "gay-assed") drew to a close, I remembered that I needed to pick up my suit. Like four days prior, I brought in a suit for alteration. Not because I love an old Spanish guy slapping my nuts with the back of his hand as he checks my inseam... Because everybody loves that. And I can get that kinda treatment at the Ye Olde Spanish Baths, as I do on alternating Mondays. No. I brought in the suit to make it fit my frame better. Although I have what are considered larger that appropriate genitals and about nine or ten extremely long hairs growing from my rib-striped chest, I am not So every suit that has the sad job of keeping me less than naked and more than stylish has to be altered. And the tailor was on the way home.

Getting the refitted suit back from Senior Touchy Hand was the first real action that said to me "You have a solo show in a NY gallery, you dink". You would think the whole thing about me painting these fucking things would do that. Nope. I paint because I must. They are not made as a commodity or an object that will increase my social standing. Their completion and delivery to Arcadia Gallery did not represent any more than gaining a few extra inches of floor space at the Astro Base. But getting my newly altered prom dress crystalized the event for me. It had become real. It suddenly became one more venue to come off as a jerk. Just one more place to be awkward. And in front of my paintings no less. Would my scantily clad and indifferent oily women ever forgive me?

Later that same night, like around midnight or so, I walked to the gallery. I knew that they put up the show that night, and I wanted to see it through a window, as one would a puppy in a pet shop. I wanted to see it first, and drink it in. There it was, my name in big black letters with my painting just underneath it. Like I imagined it would be when I was in the mood to play make-believe. When I was in the mood to think that anybody could understand my mania. When I had had the time to dream. For a second, only a flash of time, I felt like I was not a monster, a broken man, a failed machine. For in that instant, I had done something that I dreamt of. Then I looked at my painting and saw its flaws - the romance was over. I was again only me.


On the night of the opening, I arrived at the gallery at the exact hour. To be fashionably late was never something I cared about. I like to think that I was stylishly punctual. As I entered the space, the first face that I recognized was James Urbaniak's. I love James. He is so bright and so real that I can't believe that he is an actor by profession. Not that actors are fake and that kind of thing, but they are usually fake and that kinda thing. You may think that I hang out with him and crap like that, but I don't. I would love to, but I just don't hang out with anybody. And I have always feared that he may not truly understand my expertly hidden goodness. He knows me professionally, and I suck at being professional. Not only am I about the angriest person I have ever known, I am strangely aggressive. In humor, love, everything... I am aggressive. And in truth, if you are not immediately intimidated by me, you are immediately annoyed at me. It's a curse, and don't think for a second that I don't try like hell to be a better man. I am just that bad. But inside, I am gentle, kind and made of a jelly that has pansy petals throughout, kinda like a marmalade that would taste like aspic tea. I used to fear that my exterior would make him weary of me. But he is a smart man, and I believe that he has forgiven my lack of social graces and may have even learned to enjoy them. So I was glad to see him and his beautiful wife first.

People asked me this and that. I was the maid of honor and it was hard to have a conversation with anybody. As one would begin, I would see someone else cue up to speak to me. It was an effort . How the fuck do people do that kinda shit? I was fully aware that if I didn't say or do the "right" thing, I would be branded an asshole. Not an awkward painter, but an asshole. It's happened before. Nobody stops to think that the kind of person who would have high profile music, painting and writing careers might be socially bizarre, they just think "asshole". And these people that brand me as such are not mean people. They simply lack the sympathy required to meet one of those shut-ins that have become an "art martyr". I understand why they do it, and even try to please them to the best of my ability. But I know it happens even when I try to avoid it. Even when I think that I survived the freak show and everybody got their quarters worth of viewing my deformity, I know that there will will be talk of what a dick I was. But that night seemed better than usual. I met a lot of people that seemed to "get" me. I felt okay about my life. Sadly, I'm sure there is some blog or message board out there that paints me as a blabber mouth or some kind of an asshole. All because somebody lacked the courage to walk up to me and go "I love the Venture Brothers. I'll give you a dollar if you talk like Dr. Girlfriend." If they only knew that I would let them keep their dollar and give them a new outgoing message on their cell phone as Dr. Girlfriend or Henchman 21. It has been said that "ya can't please everybody". But that was said before the invention of the blog.

Jackson showed up late. I was not mad. I didn't keep tabs on who showed up so that I could hate them when they didn't. I didn't send out formal invites or emails. I just posted it here and told people that I ran into. Who ever came, fine. Whoever didn't, fine. It was not a proving ground for loyalty, it was a bunch of my paintings for sale, and little more. But I did want Jackson there. I wanted to share this with him. And although only like four people brought up the Brothers Venture, I knew that people wanted to look at him. I had the feeling that some people tried their politest best not to bring up my other career with me. Ya know, to give my paintings respect or something. But it's always fine with me when people bring up VB. It's another art of mine they appreciate, and it doesn't diminish my painting accomplishments. I mean, it's not like I want some tool to tell me that they don't like my paintings but love the Venture Brothers at an opening of my work. But I don't think that there are that many insensitive monsters watching the Venture Brothers. I like to think that our fans are smarter than that. And for the most part, I am proved correct in this assumption. So I really needed my Venture brother at my side. I was glad to have Jackson there. And that beautiful bastard wore a suit. Bet he didn't need to get it altered...

Got to meet a couple people from the DA community. Artistguy76 talked with me for like ten minutes before I was able to make the connection with this place. Ya know, he was a real guy with a real name and I was just not getting it. When I finally did, I felt like a total fool. I wished that he was wearing a name-tag with his avatar on it so that I didn't have to rely on my feeble brain to realize that we were inter-web-friends. Man, I must have come off as a this guy that has no room for the "little people", when in fact, I was his true pen-pall. Whatever. I was not myself that night. I was enduring a situation that I have never experienced. It was the beginning of my carer as a painter. One more path that I must travel. And I have patiently waited a lifetime to walk that path.

Ultimately, I encountered no real problems. Everybody I met was pretty cool. And were I in a more normal frame of mind, I would have exchanged numbers with many of them. That reminds me: I need a personal assistant. I need somebody that can do the things that I can't. Hell, I'll pay ya. You just have to like answer my mail, pay my bills, call my friends and apologize for my behavior... shit like that.

At the end of the night, after Arcadia threw us out at exactly 8:00, I sat on the steps with my close friends. It was over... Thank fucking god. Oh yeah, some guy came up to Jackson and I as we sat on those steps and asked us for advice in how to "make it" in animation. We gave that poor guy like a half an hour of seemingly insane advice. The core of it being a very sound "Don't suck and don't give up", but I clearly remember throwing in inapplicable Bruce Lee quotes as if they were gems of my wisdom. But come on, what do you expect from guys that write a comedy cartoon, actual advice? Anyway, I wish the guy well. I should have just told him to rip-off the Simpsons.

A few stragglers came to see the show later in the weeks following. Some of them got a more leisurely personal tour of my work. That was much nicer. One girl was able to get my Williams Street hoodie off me. I warned her that if I saw it on ebay, there would be severe reprocussions. And if it failed to fetch a premium price, one of the repercussions would be me complaining how unappreciated I am. It pays to to just write me and tell me that you would like see the show and ask if I would be around. I would most likely jump at the chance to babble endlessly about my work. As I think about it, am sure that I came off as an aggressive asshole to all of them too. Ya know. I may well be an asshole. I should look into accepting that. It may be my new schtick. And those guys do super great with the ladies.

  • Listening to: Paper Tigers (Chameleons)
50 Questions:

(This stupid thing was sent to me on MySpace. I'm gonna do it. Try and stop me!)

1. What is your name?
Doc Hammer. I was Eric Hammer for a while. In fact, that is my real name. Ya know, the one that is on my birth certificate. I used "Eric" for all my other crap that I did... Like the bands I have been in (or been), or for when I used to carve frames, or art direct a magazine... Shit like that. But In the grand spirit of drastic change, I am trying "Doc" on for size. I like the way it fits. I have a theory that you are only as cool as your list of nicknamed friends. So, you need a "Doc", or at least a "Smitty" in your life to really be cool. Let me be your "Doc".

2. What color underwear are you wearing now?
Black. They are Calvin Klein Trunks. I used to be all into boxer-briefs for their much appreciated support of my pendulous reproductive organs. But after discovering the "Trunk", I made the switch (change people... embrace it). The super-great thing about 'em is that they look like swim-trunks from 1935. They make me look like an emaciated Lloyd Bridges. And yes, I find that event desirable.

3. What are you listening to right now?
Placebo... Some song from "Sleeping With Ghosts" I think, not quite sure. It's an i-pod on shuffle.

4. What are the last 2 digits of your phone number?

5. What was the last thing you ate?
I had some Tai curry with fake (Tofu) duck last night. It was pretty good, but it was served on this huge plate. I was concerned that the open distribution of the food on the plate would make it get cold too fast. Why I have to make every experience in my life a new arena for anxiety and potential failure is unknown.

6. If you were a crayon what color would you be?
I'm a fucking chunk of wax... Consciousness would be unavailable to me. And let's say (for arguments sake) that I was given the "spark of life", I believe my only thought would be "Stop rubbing my head on that paper! It shaves my very scalp from me!"

7. How is the weather right now?
Yeah... fine.

8. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
Steph. A sitter who is booked to pose for me.

9. The first thing you notice about the opposite/same(if your gay) sex?
Carriage. Their overall appearance and the outline the create. How they hold themselves, their posture... shit like that. Then I guess I notice what the "thing" is. You know, the hairstyle choice, what kind of clothes the decided to wear that day. Then I end up on the head... And see if it is "paintable". It takes me a while to get to the secondary sexual characteristics when I first notice a person. Unless they have a remarkable and properly displayed set  of mammary glands. What? Like you never figured out what my "thing" is... Man, cut me some slack.

10. Favorite Food?
30 year old Gouda cheese. Cave aged. (This is not a joke. I would never hit "cheese" as a punch-line. That little "go-to" joke is as tired Rip Van Winkle.)

11. Favorite Drink?
Coffee... There is no contest on this one. And as for "soft drink"? I go Moxie. Yes, it tastes like medicine, I am well aware of that. But I'm telling you, it's so bad... it is good. You gotta try it. Just remember what coffee or wine tasted like to your adolescent palate. You can mature into Moxie. You just got to want it.

12. Favorite Alcoholic Drink?
Not a drinker... So I'm gonna take a chunk out of question 11 and go with Kalua. Or I could hit you with the drink I just made up... The Moxie Madman: A jigger of Moxie, one ounce of vodka, and a half packet of red Jello. Shake and serve over ice. garnish with a novelty pencil eraser of a monster's head.

13. Favorite place to shop?
Art stores... Come on.

14. Hair color:
Black and white. Or more like blond and Black. Nobody is gonna believe me here, but I still feel I have to explain why my hair is how it is. My hair grows in two colors. I believe it's a pigmentation problem or a birthmark or something. But my hair is naturally like this... Kinda. Because my eyebrows are black, I used to dye my whole head that color. Also, I used to enjoy looking like Dracula for some asinine reason. So, when my hair started to grow out, the blond started coming in. It made me look like I was balding or like my hair was floating on my head. The upkeep was an insane task I could no longer take. After an awkward period I call my "hat days", my blond grew out enough to no longer look ridiculous. And with the old black dye on the ends, and a natural streak in the font, I kinda liked it. So my hair now is me just creating a more "clean" version of a grow-out accident. As for the cut: I just go to Tiffany (Yes, I have a "Tiffany" cut my hair... She is way cooler than the name implies) and tell her "Sexy... Let's make it sexy."

15. Eye Color:
Brown. Not a big deal.

16. Do you wear contacts?
No. My vision is fine.

17. Top or Bottom?
Is this a sex question? Wow, it got all racy on me. And right after a question about my vision. Not very well paced, is it? Okay... Um, whatever is comfortable for both parties involved and works with the "moment" is fine with me. Honestly... What kind of person has preferences in such instances? They should be happy that somebody wants to share their body with them, and not get all picky.

18. favorite month?
I have no preference. I like the word "August" though. I always felt that it should be in the fall... It has an Autumnal ring to it.

19. Favorite Fast Food?
I will not eat fast food. The shit is disgusting. I don't even like thinking about it.

20. Last Movie you Watched?
The Life Aquatic, on DVD. And yes, I watched all the special features.

21. Favorite Day of the Year?
Stop it. It's questions like this that make me lose my steam.

22. Are you too shy to ask someone out?
Completely... I am too shy to notice when I am being hit-on.

23. Summer or Winter?
Fall... It is the season of change.

24. Hugs or Kisses?
It's dependent on the situation. You know how some of your friends insist on getting all continental on you when the say "bye", and give you a kiss? Yeah, that one is kinda too intimate for me. So in the casual "exit-dance", I go with the hug.

25. Chocolate or Vanilla?
Vanilla is kind of a gyp. It may be because it is usually presented as white, and it makes me think that whatever food it is flavoring is gonna be all bland. It lacks the "brown-gusto" that chocolate has. So I go with chocolate most of the time. But sometimes I get stuck with vanilla ice-cream at some party, and ya know... It's not bad. I might say "Hey, I should buy this someday, it has a refreshing cleanliness to it." Do I? No... I get chocolate again.

26. Do you want your friends to respond back?
To this? I don't think this has any questions that beg a response.

27. Who is most likely to respond?
People who have something they would like me to read.

28. Who is least likely to respond?
The lazy, the extra-busy, those without computers, the illiterate, arthritic people, lion tamers, the shamefull, the not-so-giving, ya know... that kind of thing.

29. What books are you reading?
I am trying to write Venture Brothers episodes. When I write, I don't like to read. I find that the language of a novel is almost infectious. I start seeing it creep into my writing. In an effort to be more me-centric and not get a head full of somebody's words... I try not to read novels when I am writing. I satiate the reading craving by either writing something that has no use (and that is where this very questionnaire comes in) or read dry-as-dirt books about painting/painters.

30. favorite TV Show?
Degrassi Jr. High (the Next Generation).

31. What's on your mouse pad?
Man, this must be an old questionnaire. Yet, I do use a mouse pad. I have a Mac laser mouse that doesn't track too well on some surfaces, so a mouse pad helps. My mouse pad is easily the ugliest, dirtiest, piece of shit that ever had the good fortune to be mass produced as a mouse pad. Black rubber with a sheet of vomit-green spandex glued to the top, and has cigarette ashes and oil paint ground into it. It came with a Radio Shack lap-top my dad got in like 1997. I love it.

32. Favorite board game?
All I do is paint and write... I try to fill the cracks with socializing. No real time for board games. But I will answer with "Pit". It came with an orange "front desk" bell.

33. What did you do last night?
I painted till like 2:00am then went back to my apartment. After a rousing episode of Degrassi Jr. High (the one where we find out Ellie is a "cutter". A classic!) I tried to sleep. The sleep thing became a futile waste of time when I got a good (this is relative) idea for a VB script. So, I got out of bed and wrote till like 5:00am.

34. Favorite Author?
I have no fucking clue... I love Balzac, Poe, Twain, Baudelaire (I know, more of a poet), Zola, J K Huysmans, Proust, the Goncourt brothers... You know the drill, 19th century stuff mainly. But I have also read every Raymond Chandler novel... So, I'm not a dogmatist.

35. Who inspires you?
People better than me at things I care deeply about. Nothing better than going to a museum and seeing a red-hot Rembrandt or Titian and feeling like a piece of shit. You just stand in the shadow of greatness and feel your knees buckle and your heart climbing up your trachea. I arrogantly feel that I alone understand what kind of oily miracle I stand before, and humbly give my choked-back tears as a sacrificial offering. I really should wear kneepads to museums. Ya know.. That's one of my biggest problems with a lot of contemporary art. When I stand before them I don't get feeling of looking into the eye's of god.

36. Butter, Plain or Salted popcorn?
Salted. I am thinking about that motor oil that they try to pass off as butter when you go to the movies when I say "Salted only".

37. Dogs or cats?
Whatever... I have a cat, Robespierre. Although that is a male name, it is a female cat. Almost everybody that has stepped foot into my apartment has had blood spill from the horrific blow of my cat's misguided protective impulses. She is not a bad cat. Far from it, really. She is the most beautiful calico I have ever seen, and sleeps in the bed with me, all cuddled up against my boney chest. She isn't one of those retched dismissive cats that live alongside of you. She lives "with" you. Sadly, she hates everybody but me. I guess it's not hate really, it's most probably fear.

38. Favorite Flower?
Tulip, primrose, lilly, and the oft maligned pansy. I have tattoos of all of them. I know what you are thinking: "Wow, tattoos of flowers... What a he-man!"

39. What do you say when you wake up in the A.M.?
"Why do we book voice recordings at 10:00? Everybody in the cast is a night person."

40. Do you still talk to your best friends from middle school?
Middle school was an awkward mess that my memory treats as a blurry vision of Colin McGratten punching the glasses off of Allen Snow's huge head. That's all I can remember. I think I blocked most of it out as if I were a victim of avuncular rape.

41. What's on your desk?
A G5 with a stack of external hard-drives (holding VB season one), two monitors (and for some strange reason, both of them have a dirty painting palette on top of them), the VB skull (a real human skull that I used for the VB title sequence and all of that crap), two spent packs of Winstons, a book of matches with a phone number written on it in sharpie (no name, and it looks my my handwriting... useless), an off-white pastel pencil, the worlds most gruesome mouse pad, and a black bakelite telephone from the 40s.

42. Rock Concert or symphony?
I don't go to "concerts"... I go to "shows", and if a friend of mine (or me) is playing, I go to "gigs".

43. Play or Opera?
Play. Nothing against operas. I simply can't afford them.

44. Have you ever fired a gun?
I have. No real story in that. I don't like guns... I don't like what they symbolize, I don't like the false sense of power they give people, and I am weary of those that like them.

45. Do you like to travel by plane?
No... I have Meniere's Disease. Go ahead and Google it if you give a shit. It's an inner ear problem, and it makes plane travel an extra-nightmare.

46. Right-handed or Left-handed?
Right handed.

47. Smooth or Chunky Peanut Butter?
I like that natural shit. You know, the kind that you have to stir because all of the oil has floated to the top.

48. How many pillows do you sleep with?
Two... I wake up with one.

49. City and State you were born?
Ledyard Connecticut.

50. Ever hitchhiked?
That is a strange ending question for this. It's kinda like "Okay, bye... hey, you ever hitchhiked?" Seems like a question that should have started this mundane MySpace missive (intentional alliteration, could you tell?). Oh, wait... No, I never hitchhiked.
In the big-picture, I don't know that much about painting. But all that I do know comes from experience. I am completely self-taught, and have learned through a brutal system of trial and error. I'm not remorseful over any of that, learning the hard way  has made me understand the chemical process of painting better than a list of do's and don'ts... I know why I do and why I don't. But I have to tell you that if somebody just told me some of the things listed below, I would be a shitload better at all this crap by now.

For those of you that know everything: you may find this an hilarious companion to my stupid-ass paintings of sainted women wearing bras.
For those of you that enjoy learning: you may find some of these "tips" at least something to consider.

Because I make a lame attempt at creating an illusion of humanity, you may find that some of these suggestions are inapplicable to those of you that have a more progressive style. In that case, steal what you can from me and leave me a note about something I might learn from you. But honestly, I get enough insults from regular people, so don't bother doing that to me if you are a painter... We have to stick together.

If you want to be famous and loved by your peers... Quit now.
If you paint anything even close to a human figure, you my friend, will be considered a hack by the entire art scene. Look around, painting has been taken over by the extra-smart dilettantes. You and your stupid pictures of humanity have no purpose. If you paint because you have Rembrandt chasing you in your dreams and an inability to come to your senses and just "join the crowd"... Keep going, things will change.</i>

Don't wait for inspiration, it's a myth.
Painters paint, dancers dance, singers sing, and athletes... Okay, athletes don't "athlete"... But you get the point.

Wash your brushes.
Those fucking things are more expensive than people know, and they are your tools. You have to wash them every time you finish painting. Don't leave them sitting in turpentine till the next time you paint. That will splay the hairs and breakdown the glue that keeps the ferrule on the shaft. You just have take your ass to the sink and wash them with whatever bar of soap is there. Yes, I know, it takes forever and all that crap... Just do it.

Stop thinking in tone, think in volume.
It's funny that these words both have a musical/sound use... tone and volume... Okay, funny, but not my point. What I am saying it that I find most oil-painters use their paint as a color that coincides with another color on a 2-D reference, instead of thinking of it as light itself being wrapped around a physical mass. I'm not saying that you should not use photos as reference material (I would not recommend it though). But I am saying that if you do use them, you must consider the volume of the subject. Oil paint has the ability to create the illusion of mass better than a photograph, take advantage of that.

Just try it for yourself.
If you get advice from a painter (Like right now) to try this or that thing... try it once. It could change they way you paint. And change is all we strive for. But if the advice does not work for you -- you should knock it off. For instance: I was given a recipe for a medium by a pretty decent painter, and this stuff was all but taking the paint off my canvas. It was a nightmare. But he also turned me on to a nice brush I had never used... So you never know, you just gotta try it and sometimes abandon it because it isn't for you. Learning is what you must do. [If you care, the medium I now use is "black oil". It's stable and very workable... For me that is]

If you suck at it, keep trying.
If you think you suck at painting a figure, you have won half the battle, for your eyes are better than your hands. You can train your hands to cooperate, but if you can't see that there is a problem... You are up shit's creek.
Figure painting has rules. Everybody knows what a person looks like. If you paint a landscape and move a tree thirty feet, nobody is gonna care. But with a figure, if you move a nose a quarter of an inch... You have a freak on your hands. It's hard, it should be hard. How much fun would it be if were easy?

Get a mirror.
The one good thing about figure painting is that you are a figure -- free model who likes the same music you do. Now I don't mean to give the world a steady flow of self portraits, I am simply saying that with a mirror available you can check the way light wraps around the flesh. Then it is just a question of changing the volume in your mind, to have it coincide with the shape of your sitter. I have grown so used to this process that I always paint topless, as that I might have a model available if my sketch or under-painting becomes a question. And to answer your question: "No, I don't wear a bra when I paint."
A mirror is also helpful for seeing your painting in reverse. Eyes become tired and accustomed to something viewed for a long period of time. When you see your painting as a reflection, all the hidden problems with composition and anatomy reveal themselves. It's a necessary tool for me. (I have also found a webcam useful in reducing the painting to it's blurry, primary form... Kinda like squinting at your painting extra-hard.)

Cadmium... watch out.
I'm not going to even suggest that you should not use them, but you should know why you do. They are strong and brilliant reds and yellows, but they are sinister my friends...Be weary! I'm sure you know that they are a poison, but who cares... I use lead white all the time, I just don't eat it. So I don't care if cadmiums are poisonous, just make sure you realize that they are. I find that these colors are a natural "go to" for a beginning painter of figures; they have a candy like appeal in the store "Now that's red! I'll take this." But they are not so good for figure painting. One reason is their inability to play nice-nice with other paints, their opacity is insane and they will obliterate anything they touch. This can be useful in extreme circumstances, but overall I find it a pain in the ass. Another reason for my mistrust in the cadmium-devil is that these colors are not part of the human palette. That one is not an issue for some painters who experiment with skin tone, and to these people I say with aplomb "There is no color that you can get with a cadmium that I could not achieve with another color combination, and in this 'combination' of colors you would have more depth and light reflection." So use cadmiums, don't use them... whatever... Just know why you do.

No more excuses.
"I can't paint in my apartment, it's too small." Then paint smaller pictures. "I have this new job waiting tables now, and I have no time to paint" Then learn to manage your schedule or stop calling yourself a painter (you might be a waiter/waitress). Painters are not born so, they are made so. "I hate the smell of turpentine." I don't use turpentine, so that is a lame excuse. And watercolors have no smell at all, try those. "I have no talent, but I love to paint" Talent? I went to school with "talented" people, and none of them still paint. It's all us fools who would not give up the fight to get better at painting that still do it. The "talented" can't deal with failure. And us fools live to fail, and learn from our failures. Every painting I have made is considered (by me) to be a huge fucking failure. And I can't wait to redeem myself.
If you are telling yourself "I can't", you might want to try saying "I must".

Liquin is crap
Next to my "wash your brushes" rant, this is the best piece of advice I could give a fellow oil-painter. Windsor & Newton's Liquin is the worst medium made. It is an over priced, alkyd glazing medium. You can buy a gallon of an industrial equivalent at Home Depot for like 1/10 the price. But why would you? You are not doing a faux finish on a wall, you are painting a figure on a canvas. Okay, what does Liquin claim to do? 1. It says will improve the flow of your paint. Big fucking deal, so will any other medium. 2. It claims to dry quickly. Now that should scare you. Anytime you fuck with the drying times of oil paint, you have a chance of paint instability. And they sell this shit as a glazing medium, which means that a thin, fast drying film goes over your canvas in the later stages of the painting process. Just trust me here, you don't want to do that. And here is something they don't tell you: oil paint adheres begrudgingly to Liquin. By this I mean that if you put straight paint over this crap, it is in no hurry to stay there. It can be as drastic as rain water beading up on your newly sealed patio flooring. The only way to get your paint to bond with itself is to use more Liquin... Ya see, it's like fuck'n heroin, you can't get off the stuff once you try it. Say NO to Liquin!

Turpentine is not "all that".
I get more shit about this from students of mine than any other thing. For some unknown reason, painters are addicted to turpentine. I hate the stuff, It is a solvent and gives off fumes that kill more brain cells than I can spare. Yet people insist that it is good a thinner of paints. Let's say you are painting in the alla prima method and you brush on a little a turp-thinned paint over your under-work -- "ooops" you just pulled up more paint than you left. (by the way, stop doing that... fat over lean people, "fat over lean".) So what do you use turpentine for? Brush cleaning during the painting process? In that case I would use linseed oil. Dip your brush in some of that crap and rag it off. Clean as a whistle and now it wont fuck up your palette. It feels like you just took a clean brush from the jar. (I know that Bob Ross tells you otherwise... But come on, his afro is the only thing about him that deserves respect.) Do you use turpentine to thin your paints? Now unless you like the effect of removing paint as you put it down, you should try experimenting with mediums (linseed oil being only one of them). Do I use turpentine at all? Why thank you for asking, yes I do. I use it to remove paint from my canvas in a reductive-painting capacity. So I believe it has its place in oil painting, I just think people go ape-shit with this stuff.

Your old work sucks.
That painting you did in school that you love so much... it's crap. Move on! You are much better than that now. You have all the skill that you had then plus the experience you have gained since then. "Glory-day" thinking is for jocks that got fat after graduation. Painters can't romanticize their early creations, for it pulls away their drive to produce truer works from the self of "now".  Do you know what your best painting is? It's the one you are working on. And you can bet your ass that you will hate it right after you start your next best painting. This part is sad but true: There is no success. Your posthumous body of work is nothing but a wake of failures being adored by history. Do you really want to paint your ideal painting? Come on, why would you bother to paint again? Did you not just touch the impossible "truth"? And if you never paint again... Ummmm, YOU NEVER PAINT AGAIN! (That is a nightmare in my estimation.)

I hope these were helpful to you.
And if not... You can't blame a guy for trying.

I'll update this crap every once in a while... So check back later if you want.