1/5/12

Trusting myself with oil

"Unwavering Stream", 24x36" o/c  ©Brenda Boylan

Over the past year, I have had many discussions and thoughts about rediscovering painting with oils as a means of discovery and possibly expanding my work.  When I was a very young artist, I had impromptu lessons in oil painting from my neighbor Robert Guise, who at the time was 76 years old and grumpy as grit.  He believed in me and showed me the artist's life.  I  continued to play and practiced with the medium up until I was in college and into my young adulthood.  But when I found pastel, back in 1994, I was so hooked that I packed the oily stuff away and never looked back.  A big part of this decision to switch was because I had started a family and the thought of oil medium and turpentine spilling or getting into young hands was not a picture I wanted in my family album.  Pastel is spontaneous, forgiving, and if you have to stop quickly for some reason, (like a baby waking from a nap) you can just wash your hands and go!  No turps and solvents, oils drying, ruining brushes before I can find time to clean them, to stop me from my family duties.  So pastel it was!

A lot of time has passed and I'm ready to explore oil again as a complement to my pastel work, but I admit, I am doing this with a ton of apprehension.  I'm trusting myself that failure and growth are part of the journey, willing to explore and learn as I enter back into the world of oils.  So, please, join me in my journey as I grow into the medium.  And to all you lovers of pastel, I'm not abandoning my joy of the dusty medium, just complimenting it.  Happy new year!

Above:  A large piece I did in waaaay back in 1988.  Woah!

7 comments:

Celeste Bergin said...

good move and I like your earlier painting--it shows you've got what it takes :)

Donna T said...

You could switch to crayons and your art would still be amazing, Brenda. I look forward to seeing what you can do with oils!

B Boylan said...

Thanks Donna, now that would be a challenge...but I think I'll leave that one for the kids. :) I

Debbie said...

How exciting to look forward to seeing what you create as you revisit oil painting! Love the 1988 painting....thanks for posting for us to see and enjoy.

B Boylan said...

Thanks Celeste for the boost of confidence!

Hi Debbie, it is exciting to change things up a bit. Hopefully it will support my pastel habit! :)

Kimberly Vanlandingham said...

I'm so excited for you to use oils again! Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Maggie Latham said...

Hi Brenda, I’ve dabbled off an on with oil painting…. but usually get fed up with it due to many of the reasons you have stated in your post. The few things I have learnt though...that you might like as a dusty fingers person are:

• Mix up your own ground with gesso and a touch of powdered Spackle and a touch of water. You can tint this with acrylic if you want (if you are using acrylic gesso)…. or mix up some Colourfix pastel primer with gesso instead.
• Use this mixture on a sold ground like masonite boards, ply etc…or any number of gessoed panels. Working on a sold support gives me the ability of really smooshing the paint in o the surface, which intensifies the colour more like pastels.
• Don’t ruin the intensity of the pigment by mixing lots of white to create value…try other colours to knock back the value
• Try the method that Deborah Paris teaches using an underpainting in just one or two colours creating value and the bear bones of composition (no white)…. then when dry lay in colour with glazes. This way you should be able to achieve broken colour like you would with your pastels. Oil glazes to me are like thin veils of pastel.
• Use Liquin as a glazing medium and in all layers of paint to speed up the drying process.
• Gesso some small matt boards with the mixes above (or just shellac)…and make loads at one time so that you have them to just play on and go out painting heaps of plein air colour notes. You could also use pre primed unstretched canvas taped to a drawing board.

Phew! I have a zillion more things (not really advice as I’m too new to oil painting for that)…. but just things that have occurred and worked for me.

Oh ….don’t use good brushes if you are using pastel primer as it eats up your brushes. To create intense colour like your pastels use almost pure pigment, sticking to the transparent or translucent ones over the opaques.... and rub on with a rag instead of using a brush. More expensive oil paint such as Gamblin or Harding has more pigment intensity than the regular brands.

Hope you don’t mind such a long reply…