I’ve been promising myself to get back into painting for some years now. Specifically oil painting. My Dad, who was and still is a brilliant artist and fairly adept at using oils bought me my first easel and oil paint set when I was still in single digits – age 7 maybe. He taught me the basics and off I went, though I never really pursued the medium in earnest. My thing was mixed media – mostly because it was cheaper than oils and much quicker to produce a finished piece. However, as a medium oil is probably my absolute favourite, at least to look at and so, I always wanted to become adept at using it myself.
The last time I produced a finished oil painting was back in 2005 when my daughter was still just a little person (and not my height – like she is now – it’s weird). It was an abstract and I had huge amounts of fun painting it.Bill, my husband thinks it reminiscent of a Himalayan Snub Nosed Monkey face. He might have a point, though I can’t unsee it now…
Anyway, keeping to my promise, though somewhat late, I shall now be dedicating my time to learning how to draft and oil paint as I would like to. Not one to decline a challenge I have begun work on my very first landscape in oil based on a photo of Bill’s taken on the island of Torcello, Venice, Italy back in the autumn of 2017. Bill of course has been incredibly supportive of my efforts and bought me a beautiful new easel – replacing the now almost antique that my Dad bought me all those years ago.
Click on the gallery below to see the progression of my work so far.
I have been learning the value of creating preliminary sketches. I never much liked doing preliminary work, but it certainly does have its merits especially prior to translating one’s artistic vision onto canvas – by that point you should be fairly clear in your mind how you would like your painting to look, at least in structure. Preliminary work also trains muscle memory and accustoms the brain to the forms of the composition when working on the final painting. The final rendition should give an indication of tonal areas and overall composition. I had originally intended doing this on a much smaller canvas but I happened to like the scale of the version I am working with now, and so went out and bought a bigger canvas. Much happier now.
The painting is currently at the ugly underpainting stage. Mostly blocking in colour and getting a feel for using oil paints again. I have much to learn yet. I shall however, be posting updates as the painting progresses. It’s going to take a while, as is the nature of this medium – very slow drying compared to what I’m used to.
*Thanks to the Smithsonian Institute for letting me borrow their image of the Snub Nosed Monkey.