My most recent art project is an oil painting, but more importantly my first oil painting. I can imagine that qualifies as quite a moment in my artistic career. I’ve never been that great at acrylics: not too great at mixing them, not too great at blending or using them without watering them down (I tend to blame my years of watercolour painting as a child). Oils, however, seem to be a completely different beast altogether, and I just thought they were expensive acrylics…
The drying is much, much slower and that is a blessing for me. With acrylics I was very often finding that the paint on my palette had dried over lunch, or a section of the painting couldn’t be blended because that colour had already dried etc etc etc…but with oils I can block things in, come back to it, keep the paint on the palette and redo sections with paint I mixed yesterday. Definitely more suited to my nature of working!
Another thing is the way the light catches the different brush-strokes. Even though in these paintings the colours have very solid and blocky sections of colour, the photos below show the light catching the way I painted those sections and the direction my brush travelled while I was filling it in. It seems almost iridescent, and unlike anything seen with acrylics or watercolour. I don’t know if that effect will stay once it’s fully dry but I hope so!
It just seems like a much more forgiving and playful medium, and more physical actually. Mixing paint with a palette knife feels less delicate and fiddly than doing it with a brush, and gives a bit of a relief after I’ve been working on a small section on the paper: I can just pick up the knife and start smearing paint around like a bricklayer with mortar.
I’m so glad I’ve started oils, looking forward to seeing what else I can do with it!
keywords: writing and rambling, oil paint, light, milestone