Oil Painting…un-ness


untitled and unfinished 5 x 7 inches – oil

I went and bought a very inexpensive set of water soluble oil paints – okay – really cheap set!  I just wanted to see how I liked them, and I’ve got to say, I really don’t.  I don’t like the forever drying time, I don’t like how if you aren’t very  (read extremely) careful the paint all smooshes around and gets muddy.  I can’t find my way around a canvas with oil paints.  I see a spot I want to work on, right then and there, but I can’t without losing the good part of that spot when I change the not so good part.  So I am probably not going to experiment further with oil painting, I guess.  I still like the idea of it, but it takes so long to dry – I am trying to change my way of approaching painting.  But is it worth it?  This is an example of a small canvas I was working on with the oils.  I do notice the luminosity of the skin tones, but I think I can duplicate that with acrylics.  You will probably notice I tried not to use my usual blues in this little oil painting, that part I liked.

I’ve been stuck in this sort of in-between state all summer.  I’ve tried to nudge myself along – and I’m blaming it partly on the Portland summer, or lack thereof.   Summer comes late to Portland.  Usually after the 4th of July, we have a few record breaking dry days, like maybe nine in a row.  This usually prompts some panicky weather predictions; like measurements of last winter’s snow melt, lots of finger pointing at dry curb sides, predictions of coming water shortages, maybe drought, probably pestilence… and what the heck, throw some starvation in there too – it might raise the ratings!  Anyway- I’m just sayin’ – I have to find some reason for my lack of painting interest.  I thought it was good that I tried the oil paints – but I’m still un.


4 responses »

  1. The painting itself is lovely, and captures the same feel of your other work – you have a unique style that I think I would recognize anywhere. Oils are not for everyone. I’ve heard that anything you can do in oils you can do in acrylics, but faster. Of course, I have no hands on experience, but was once married to an artist who switched from oils to acrylics and loved the freedom it gave him. Freedom from waiting for it to dry, as he put it.

    I think it’s good to try new mediums, and you have a lovely painting for your efforts. It’s never a waste of time, even if you decide it’s not for you. That very decision couldn’t have come without trying. And who knows, you may one day have a project that needs the slower contemplation of oils, and at least then you will know how to use them.

    Never stop experimenting, it’s good for the soul – and the art!

  2. hi olivia,

    i’m just now seeing this!

    so wow, the painting is absolutely lovely… your *first* oil painting! oh my gosh. i think it will take me years before i’m able to reach that degree of ‘smoothness’ with them. i sure hear you about the long drying time… but i appreciate that you gave them a whirl and found they weren’t for you! i so love what you do, whatever the medium…



  3. Thank you, Lynne. I bought a book on how to use water soluble oils — but it only arrived today — now I’m sort of getting inspired about them again!

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