The woods in oilPosted: February 17, 2020
A few years back I bought a sheet of Arches paper that’s made especially for oil painting. It looks like a full sheet of watercolour paper but it has a semi-absorbent surface and requires no preparation before painting. The sheet sat on my shelf for several years, protected in its plastic bag, but I finally cut it in half and decided to give it a try.
I guess I jumped right in with this, without reading much about how to proceed. I set up my tray with a limited palette of red, yellow, and blue and a blob of white paint. And then instead of painting it like I would an oil (and I’ve only ever done a few of those), I worked it like I would a watercolour. In other words, instead of toning the paper like I have toned canvas in the past, I left the paper white. And then I painted from light/mid tone to dark, in an order that was something like this: sky, foreground trees, background trees, snow shadows and then details. The white you see (for the most part) is the white of the paper, just like in watercolour. The consistency of the paint was very thin for some of this because I mixed lots of mineral spirits into the paint.
This process was much easier for me than painting with thick paint. I mixed the colours more intuitively, like I do with watercolour or gouache. I’m not sure if there’s a right or a wrong way to do this but this felt right for the way I paint. And I will certainly try it again, because I still have the other half of the sheet in its original bag.