...which translates to painting as well.
I stumbled across a painting blog tonight. Not miniatures, but watercolors, which is another interest/hobby/pursuit of mine. And on this blog there were questions from people, several of whom claimed to be novices, asking very specific questions about which brushes, brands of paint, etc.
And I don't think that's necessarily a good idea. And that goes for miniatures painting as well. Reading that made me think of painting miniatures, as I thought those sorts of questions were unique to this hobby. I always see a lot of beginners asking about "recipes" for painting certain colors, etc. But in a Riddle of Steel sort of way, I think that the hand, eyes and mind pushing the brush and paint around are infinitely more valuable. The technical specifics? That's something that should be left for later. Fine tuning, I think.
I guess the two things on my mind are... One, that while I could probably fine tune my technique and improve by spending a fortune on the best brushes, paints, etc., I can get by pretty well with something cheap. And, Two, that knowledge, and the skills built up to support the previous statement, come from just trying different things out for myself.
If I tried reading some of the painting forums, CMoN, etc. as a totally new painter, I would be under the impression that I would need to invest hundreds of dollars just to get started in painting if I wanted to "do it right." But I would argue that this is far from the truth. While quality materials are important, I think you can learn a huge bulk of your early lessons (and skill development) on a far smaller budget. I also think that you will learn far more along the way and that the best way to achieve a solid footing in any skill (painting or anything else) is to have a broad understanding of it from the ground up.
Mind you, I'm not the best painter around. But that's my point. I see a lot of painting instruction that's more suited for the top fraction of painters. But new painters shouldn't necessarily start out there. They should build decent foundation down here, with those of us in the common dregs of the painting pool. ;)