Sunday, January 24, 2016

Cardinals WIP#3

Oil on Canvas

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Draft Horses

16x20 watercolour on 300 lb Arches hot press.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Adventures in Oil

Earlier this year I decided that I was going to try my hand at a new medium, oils. Well, water mixable oils actually, but any oil’s oil to me, having never used traditional oils before.

So after researching what supplies I needed, I set off to the art store with list in hand and reluctantly bought what I needed to get started.  To tell the truth, it was 90% excitement at buying new art stuff and 10% reluctance. Then, I watched about 100 YouTube videos about oil painting techniques before I got the nerve to try it myself.

I must admit I have this innate fear of trying new things because I hate to fail. I see myself as one of those people who is just mediocre at everything, and great at nothing. But eventually, my curiosity for a new medium and my love of painting won over the fear and I picked something easy  to paint and I got started.

My first impression of oils was that it was like painting with butter. That first painting was really an experience in learning how oils move on the canvas, how the brush techniques differ from watercolour techniques, and trying to figure out how to blend and work the paint into something recognizable.

From this experience came my first lesson:  go back to the store and buy good brushes. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I got what I paid for. I should have known this already, but apparently the excitement of a basket full of new art stuff clouded my judgment in making me think I didn’t need more than student quality brushes to begin with. Lesson learned. After I got better brushes, I finished my first painting. 

In the end I was happy with it as a first try and the things I learned in the making. 

Fear subsided, I moved on to painting number two, and I decided that my next subject would be an apple pie. I couldn’t find a good reference photo, I decided to bake a pie and shoot it myself.  After all was said and done, we had a delicious dessert and I had a great photo to work from.

While working on this painting, I discovered I really like working in oils. They are so versatile and forgiving compared to watercolours. However they have a downside, and that brings me to my second lesson learned: oils take an eternity to dry. No wonder oil artists paint more than one at a time… you need to circulate through them to keep working every day!

I was really happy with the final pie painting.  Here it is:

Fresh Apple Pie - Oil on Board. 18" x 14".  For Sale, $260.

 So maybe I can do this after all… on to the next challenge! 

I’ve always wanted to do a painting of a Muskoka chair lakeside.  I ended up Photoshopping together two photos to make a composition exactly as I wanted.  This new painting posed two challenges: One, it was bigger than any painting I’d ever done before, and two, it was a landscape. I loathe painting landscapes because I find them stressful. Stressful in the sense that it’s hard to determine as a realism artist just how much detail to include in a landscape painting without making yourself nuts. The compromise here was painting details in the chair and dock, and not so much in the landscape.   

Here’s the end result:

Dockside - Oil on Board. 20" x 24". For sale,  $625

Which brought me to lesson number three:  work on canvas sizes that fit standard frames, because all the non-standard frames (for lack of a better word) suck.  I found a frame at Michael’s (they had exactly one frame in this size) and I was able to hang it in my booth at the Unionville festival:

June 1, 2012. Unionville Festival Street Fair Booth

 I was really unsatisfied with the frame and eventually I found a great frame at Curry’s that really suited the painting, so I reframed it, which a much more suitable result.

This is what it looks like now hanging in my hallway:

So that brings me to what I’m working on now. 

I’m putting the finishing touches on my Barred Owl painting and I’ve come to a realization: I like painting with oils better than watercolours.  I’ve started two watercolour paintings recently and finished neither because I now prefer the versatility of the oils.

I feel kind of guilty about it, like I’m being unfaithful to the medium I learned with and loved. Perhaps someday I’ll go back, just not yet, maybe after I get a few more oils under my belt. For now, I’m putting my watercolour supplies to the side to be explored another day.

Gone but not forgotten.