I paint with oils in our business but in my own artwork have used acrylics or gouache. Painting in our business is very different; I am working precisely toward an image that is not mine, shown right, in a restorative or reproduction piece.
When I am creating artwork, I am moving to where ever my inner vision takes me, free form.
I am used to acrylic paint. I am used to paint that dries fast and allows me to build washes quickly, creating depth. Thin coats, glazes, many applied in a day. Layering for effects. While still in that painting frenzy, I can use soft charcoal pencils right after painting!
As I try my hand at oils it feels like I am moving through mud. What my eye wants and what the oils do seem to be two different things. I like that I can blend — which is not easy with acrylics, which dry too fast to blend. I know, there are retarders, but frankly, I have had failures with acrylic retarders and so, zen fashion, I work with what-is-so, and acrylics dry fast. I work with their nature.
Oils dry relatively slow, even Gamblin’s Fastmatte oils. Sigh. I must work with oil paint’s nature also if I want to work with oils.
Patience is not my strength. Oils appear to take patience. Waiting, waiting, while this dries so that this can be added. What am I not getting? I feel a bit like a beginner again, seeing what I want to do in my mind’s eye, and falling short when I put brush to paper. With acrylics I can add and paint over right away, change what I don’t like. I began with two crow sketches, experiments with the oils, above.
I learned more as I tried to work pencil into the painting after the oils dried. I am not happy with my pencil addition because I had to work it too much; the pencil wasn’t attaching to the oil paint and so I “worked” it, and that usually results in less spontaneity. Oils don’t seem to have much tooth, and I don’t know how to change that yet, as I do with acrylics.
I like adding soft charcoal or graphite pencil to my paintings and often do; sometimes I like to work colored pencils as well.
Above is my first finished attempt at an oil painting. Mitchell likes it, which is nice. I do not, yet. Not finished, drying drying. Patience!
My second crow is also so-so, and again, Mitchell likes him. I think we are going to need a bigger refrigerator for my crow oils! I will want to come back and add pencil to this one as well, possibly.
That’s all for now — back to the “real” work conserving a tapestry. . . .
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A version of this was originally published in my blog zenkatwrites.