A while ago, my ant-farming* uncle gave up on oil paints to take up watercolour instead. At the time, I was about a month or two away from starting my Master of Art degree, so he gave me ALL HIS STUFF, which included multiple tubes of the exact same colours (sometimes even the same brand of the same colours) and a couple of books about how to do oil painting. I was pretty deep into my depression at the time, but I found I was at least able to paint, so after studying up, I decided to give the whole oil painting thing a go! I got myself some linseed oil and odourless turps stuff and got to work.
Initial sketch 24/5/16:
Yup, this is how this painting started. Following the instructions in one of the books, I used red to sketch out the gist of the thing. Red, because they reckoned you should choose something different to what it's gonna be, I guess to see stuff better? I don't remember. And in paint, because using a pencil makes dents in the canvas, and trying to get rid of charcoal or whatever is a pain in the butt and mixes with the paint. But was it a good approach to take? Maybe... but the thing about oil is IT TAKES FOREVER TO DRY!! And it was probably worse because my uncle gave me some good quality stuff, and good quality = slower drying, even when I'd diluted the crap outta it! Learning to be patient was the hardest part of painting with oil. Coz if you ain't patient, this happens:
THE GODDAMN RED MIXED IN WITH ALL MY WHITE!!
Well, so after that I had to get patient and just wait between layers. My dad wasn't too happy with me leaving my painting stuff out all the time but eh! what can you do? He should blame his brother hahaha!
Two days later, I got Hope's opinion on my progress:
Yeah I agree, Hopey. It's still got a pink tinge. Argh!
So I had to wait even longer -_- in the meantime, I took some photos of my setup, so you can see just how annoying it was for my family, having all my painting stuff out in the main room. Can't have oil painting in my own room though, coz ventilation! Once again, blame my uncle!!
The joys of working with a minimal colour scheme!
Two months later:
At this point it was most of the way done! But then I was getting busy at uni, and I needed to clear my easel so I could work on stuff for assignments, IN ACRYLIC, because there's absolutely NO WAY I could've done oil painting in one month and have it dry enough to drag it to and from campus every class! x_x
Besides, as I added layers, the thing needed longer and longer to dry. The instructions in the books said to work from thin (diluted with solvent) to thick (more oil) to stop it from cracking over time. It's amazing how long it can take to dry as you add more and more oil. Ugh! So eh, since I had classes anyway, I just left it for ages.
Maybe the only good thing about the slow drying time is that you can make really minor adjustments a few days later if you see something off, and just move a bit of paint over or whatever. But most of the time it's a pain.
Anyway, I finally got around to finishing it on 24/2/17!
No more dead eyes! XD
So that gives you an idea of how my first attempt at oil painting went. It started off really awful, which is pretty much what every one of my paintings looks like at first, but after a while obsessing about it, I've started to find that I can eventually make my shitty sketches look like something. But no, using oil didn't seem to make much difference for me, it just made the whole process waaaayy longer! Safe to say, I haven't used it since. I mean, it does kinda have it's own look IRL, but I think if I wanted to do a lot of this, I'd need an actual studio, and multiple easels, so that I could hop from one thing to another in between waiting for stuff to dry. Since I'm unlikely to ever have that.............. looks like I'll be sticking to acrylic.
Tbh though, I dunno how much painting I really want to do in the future... I tend to get really stressed about not being able to make it look quite right. I can't paint things from memory, so I need some kind of reference, but of course there's no way I'll ever have the patience to become a photorealistic painter, so I just constantly notice all the differences between my painting and the original image. Here's a better look at the photo I used for this painting, from when Hope was a puppy:
Compared to my version:
I mean okay, there are some things I changed because I wanted to, but there are also some things that still niggle me as being "incorrect", because I can't help myself! Also, you'll notice that THANKS TO THE SLOW DRYING TIME OF OIL, the lower left corner got bumped and smudged...! >_< *sigh* I guess I'll go put my signature there or something then, make it look like I meant it haha ;-)
On the other hand, my obsessiveness over small details being "wrong" is why I did my Mood Cards project, to try to loosen me up and experiment some more. Get a bit abstract and all that. So far I haven't actually tried taking what I learned from that and translating it into a bigger work, so I guess I shouldn't chuck out the whole painting thing just yet. But I do need to think of a reason to try it. What should I create, using my chaotic mixed media? I need some kind of goal, or else it just becomes an uninspired mess.
Anyway, that's all for now! Later this month, paying patrons will get access to my whole Mood Cards blog! You can see all the explanations about how I approached them, and what I was feeling, along with some other stuff related to the exhibition we put on. Better get comfy though, it's 150 pages long!!
Chow for now ^_^
*ant-farming is a Gray family term... someday I'll try to get someone to explain it for you... coz I wasn't there when it originated, so I can't tell the story quite right!