It’s been over eight years since I last used oil paints. Yesterday, after a year in my new studio, I finally got brave enough to get them back out.
I like to paint on panel, rather than canvas, and I usually make my own. It’s cheap, but it adds a significant delay to starting any new painting. Awhile back I ordered a few pre-prepped Da Vinci Pro artist’s panels to try, so I did the sketch on that, using a 4H pencil to minimize graphite smear when the wet paint hit it.
I toned the whole panel in acrylic because I hate working up from white. Ideally it would have been a nice even coat of color, but I did a particularly bad job this time — didn’t mix enough paint the first time, didn’t add any retarder to help blend the acrylic — so it came out patchy and hideous. Doesn’t really matter! It’ll all get covered, anyway, and I could see the sketch through it, which was the important bit. As my painting teacher told us:
“Of course your painting is ugly right now. It’s trying to get born. You were real ugly when you were trying to get born.”
It’s been so long since I painted regularly that I’m not 100% confident in the method to my madness, but the main idea here is that I want a fairly refined under-painting of the violin in golds and ‘raw wood’ hues so I can use transparent glazes for the final color. It should give it a nice glow. I’ll use more opaque paints for the hand and arm (my dear friend Nancy’s hand and arm, in this case), but the under-painting still establishes form.
Before I got the oils out I toned three little square panels for later acrylic paintings. The texture of the panel was too extreme on the first one, so I sanded the next two lightly before painting them. The texture is Da Vinci’s ‘medium’, and it seems to vary from panel to panel. The 11×14 panel was great, but the small squares looked like someone had been at them with a drywall mud gun. It only took two passes with a sanding block to knock them down to something less obvious.
I toned these with brown, thinking it would be a nice neutral base for some flower studies, then read an article on landscape painting where the artist recommended bright red under mostly-green paintings. That sounds really interesting. I might repaint these fire-engine red.
Some regrets, but all in all a successful first foray back into oil paints.
- On 2017-01-16
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