The more I paint and draw, the more I realize the limitation of the media. This is sometimes discouraging when the natural world produces lights that are far brighter than the white on my palette. But having knowledge of what painting can and can't do is what makes a great painting. The limit itself of paint can be bent by knowing techniques that allow for it to bend. And that is what excites me about painting: using color, value and composition to create an image that is more than any photograph could ever be. The rest of it all doesn't really matter which is why I included some pictures of my palette and paint box. I use very rough bristle brushes, a basic turp and copal medium and a standard academic palette ranging (all of it constantly changing and evolving). Another thing that really gets me going is the fact that these pixels on your screen right now can never accurately produce the pigments of a painting. The airy, sometimes smoky quality of paint is really impossible to produce, which is why galleries and museums are a necessity.
To be a supreme manipulator of paint just as a pro skateboarder can manipulate a piece of wood with wheels is the goal. And as a skateboarder knows the limits of gravity, concrete, they also know that practice is the crucial element. Preferences may exist and slightly affect a level of comfort, but a good painter can paint with horrible materials, just as a skateboarder can kickflip with a terrible board. Practice to look beyond the medium. I remember a story about the great artist Frank Frazetta that an amateur admirer loved his watercolors and wanted to know his secret technique. So Frazetta pulled out a Mickey Mouse watercolor set and showed him how he did it. It was Frazetta's skill level that bent the limits, not the watercolor set.
When I look back on my own pieces, after a few years time, and I see something that I like, I sometimes try and re-create the way I did it. And what I find time and time again is not some kind of secret element, but rather, a standard academic approach that I keep refining and expanding by learning. Find what works for you and you'll reach success.
amateurs go for subtle extremes, pros go for extreme subtlety -keep practicing