Sunday, August 3, 2008

My Sad History with Learning Oil Painting

Near the end of 2006 I learned about water-soluble oil paints and decided to give them a try. I quickly discovered how little I knew about paints and mixing the colors. Numerous times I had to find my notes on mixing browns and greys. How hard can that be?!!

Above is my first try with oils. It's unfinished because after all my work with the browns and greys, I realized I didn't have a clue about doing the kittens' fur properly and mixing good whites and creams. I gave up.

Near the end of my attempt with the kittens, I cleverly decided to try a portrait.

This is as far as I went. My first realization was that I had forgotten how to draw eyes and that painting them would be even worse.

So, off I went to work on drawing. Watercolors were also part of my education only because I had tried them once before and I had a stash of old watercolors, brushes, and paper.

With the watercolors I became familiar with the color names, attributes, and mixing. Huge learning curve! There's so much more to learn, and my watercolor skills need a lot of work.

Although I'm still working on drawing and watercolors, I decided to pull out the water-soluble oils again.

I know this is bad, but the paint is on the canvas (canvas paper! *lol* the others are on stretched canvases), and it has a bunch of mixed colors that I could not have done before. No pre-planning for this one -- I drew an apple and everything else just happened. Now I'm comfortable enough with colors to pull out the oils occasionally for a bit of practice.

The photo of the apple is not sharp, but after 15 shots I gave up. The auto-focus did not like the fresh oil, and my eyes are not good enough for manually focusing a digital camera.


E-J said...

Your apple painting is charming, Jenny! I have a similarly patchy history with oils ... taking them out periodically but throwing in the brush when I realise just how incompetent I am with the medium.

One thing I have found from dabbling with traditional oils rather than the water-solubles is that the latter have a thicker, stickier consistency which makes them harder to work with.

Claudia said...

Jenny, I like your apple painting, too!-I totally agree with e-j: the watersoluble oils are sooo sticky sometimes, I just don't know how to bring them on the canvas; it seems that they accumulate around the brush. And - as a watercolourist - I hate that!- The best (classic) oil paints are (in my opinion) the "Old-Holland".They are so smooth and well to use, but sooo expensive, too (I have only two of them)...
Thank you again for your thoughts on my sketchbooks filing system. I really appreciated it.
Kind regards from

Mindy said...

great work! I've nominated you for a blog award, so feel free to stop by my blog to receive it :-)

Rita said...

I have basically been dabbling with watercolors and made attempts to work with both acrylics and oils. I found them so completely different that I was totally lost. I don't know that much about watercolors to begin with, but enough to know that oils and acrylics are completely different techniques.

It looks like you had really great starts on the kittens and the portrait, but I couldn't give you a lick of advice--hehehe! Please keep trying and don't give up! You look like you have amazing potential in oils! :)

PMBC said...

Your trials with brushes and paints are much stronger then mines. I am so frustrated I am always giving up for several weeks.

Sherry said...

Baaaa, baaa. Me too. I invested in several tubes of water soluable paint, and have not brought myself to work with enough to learn how to use them. That said, I like your efforts. I think it's hard getting used to the way the paints mix and are applied, but for me waiting for them to dry is an issue too. Where do I put them while they dry? Anyway, I enjoy your blog.

platitudinal said...

The apple painting is beautiful. I like it that you keep your color choices minimum, but the different shades make them very expressive. I really like the background.

platitudinal said...

PS: I hope you will finish the portrait. It has a good base, Jenny.