I’m still plodding along, trying to figure out oil painting while also learning lots of stuff about color mixing, and the nuances of foresaking my pen and ink style. I’d like to think I’m getting a bit better at it but there is more failure in my results than successes. Reminds me of 2012 and my beginnings as a sketcher. We learn from our failures so I must be learning a lot (grin). Here’s my latest, a pot of oranges.
It’s 2022 and our province is mostly locked down as Omicron ravages our population. We’re lucky in that Quebecers have largely embraced vaccination but still, COVID hangs over us like a wet blanket. If the biology is sound, however, it looks like we may actually have a decent summer of sketching. I sure hope so. Cheers, everyone.
If you listen closely, good watercolorists will talk about beginners never using enough paint. Insufficient paint is the cause of the pale images produced by beginning watercolorists. This is true and I’ve been guilty of this sin. Why do we do it? Because we’re timid. Pale washes are easier to control because they have a lesser impact on our sketch/painting.
A similar phenomenon exists in oil painting, but for different reasons. If you were a 16th Century painter, it’s likely that you’ll be applying very thin coats of paint, generating very detailed paintings. You might even be adding many layers of very thin glazes over the base paintwork.
At some point, however, some artists started using more paint. The impressionists started working with “broken color” and the placement of thick spots of color became the order of the day and the notion of “brushwork” became a more prominent portion of the artist’s “signature.”
Fast-forward to today and we have both of those forms of painting, or maybe its best portrayed it as a continuum of thin and thick ways of applying oil paint. For someone like me, who is trying to figure out how to use oil paints, I have found this confusing as I watch some artists use large brushes and apply thick layers of paint with a flourish while others use thin layers of paint and, typically, smaller brushes.
So, with this sort of variability, it leaves a “let’s try it” kind of guy like myself with a need to try both approaches to see what approach bests suits the kind of painting I want to do. This last thing is important as I’m not interested in heavy impasto painting where identifying the subject is obfuscated by the brushwork. Instead, I am trying different paint thicknesses within a narrow range in an attempt to paint fruit (or flowers). I’m still a detail-oriented kind of guy, much to the chagrin of the painterly types who tell me to “loosen up” (grin).
Here’s an attempt at using thicker paint. I find this approach fun but it’s so easy to muddy up the shadows while trying to turn the form. This is a good example of this problem. But it is a pumpkin; it’s just a slightly out of focus pumpkin. I’m having fun with oils and learning a lot. I feel it will improve my watercolors in the long term.