Returning to oil

New term, new adult ed class run by the council. I decided to try oil painting again. The first term of oil painting resulted in this painting, that I got framed and is now hanging in our sitting room.

For this course I’m with a new tutor, Priscilla Brightman. I’ve attended 2 classes so far. I’m pleased with how it is going. Priscilla has been very good explaining and demonstrating materials and techniques, and giving individual attention to how each of us are doing. She’s also given us handouts of what she intends to cover over the course. Of the 5 other tutors I’ve had so far over the past 3 years, she’s been the first to do this.

In the first class, we started by doing some quick tonal pencil drawings of the subject matter that was laid out (some vegetables), so that we would become familiar with it before starting to paint. Here’s one of my 5 minute sketches:

130923 vegetables sketch 1

Priscilla then discussed and demonstrated various materials, tools and techniques, including the concept of fat-on-lean which describes the recommended way to apply layers of paint. “Fat” is paint applied with thicker solutions, compared to the thinner “lean” solutions. The hierarchy of this from the leanest upwards is artisan paint (which is water-mixable oil colour, that I’d never heard of), oil paint applied with turps, oil paint applied with turps plus thickener such as linseed oil. Fat-on-lean just describes the process of applying fat layers on top of lean ones. If lean is applied on top of fat, then the paint might crack over time (which might be the desired effect).

In the same way that the tonal drawing was made, we then did a tonal paining using artisan paint – but only using one of the primary colours. We would work over this the next week.

130923 vegetables 1 - artisanSo far so good for week 1. We were told which materials we would need for the rest of the course, so I picked up some oil paints, orange scented turps (something else I didn’t know about), cheap brushes and a pad of canvas surfaced paper.

In week 2, I used oil to paint over the previous artisan painting (fat-on-lean remember), using the other primary colours:

130930 vegetables 2 - oil

With colours, the vegetables are now a little more distinguishable, although perhaps not much more identifiable. No prizes for guessing what they’re meant to be.

Because paint takes a while to dry, we begun work on another piece. We had a choice of subject matter. This seascape / landscape was from a calendar photo:

130930 landscape

It was very roughly produced. Most of the water and sky was applied using oil on a rag. We’ll be working on this more. It’ll be interesting to see how it develops.


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