From water to oilPosted: December 7, 2013
I am not really sure where to begin with this post. There’s so much to say about trying oil painting for the first time and I’m not sure I have completely processed what I did today. My friend Marc Holmes offered to give me a lesson and share his paints and brushes with me for this first foray into the medium. How could I refuse such generosity?
It goes without saying that painting in oil is so vastly different from what I am used to in watercolour. You can paint from dark to light, add white, correct your mistakes… the list is long and seems so obvious it needs no explanation.
For now I will simply make some observations:
1. We both worked with pretty thick paint, in a very loose style. Working that way seems easy, and in fact it is, in the beginning, as you plot in the big shapes (and I have to mention that both of us worked with no preliminary drawing). But as you get down to the smaller details the paint on the board is already quite thick, so as you apply more, you are in fact picking up what is already there instead of putting down what is on your brush. I’m really not used to that.
2. It’s great not to be worried about the colour of the paint changing as it dries. And great to know that you can take a little break from the work and when you get back it is exactly as you left it. I’m really not used to that.
3. I am a slob and Marc is really neat. At one point I looked down at my hands which were suddenly covered in paint and then over to Marc whose hands were spotless. I had a pile of crumpled up paper towels and his were neatly folded in piles. My palette was covered in a big grey smear and he had neat little areas of colour, each very distinct. This is going to take some getting used to.
One thing I am sure of is that I want to try this again. I have a lot to think about in terms of how to apply the paint and how to mix the colour (hopefully more neatly than today) but I really enjoyed this. Below are both of our paintings. Mine is the street scene and Marc’s is the bikes in snow. Excuse the blurry iPhone photos. The paintings weren’t dry enough to scan or even bring home.