Monday, April 13, 2009

Oil Painting 101



A few years ago I took an oil painting class at the local community college. The woman who taught the class was a watercolor painter who was assigned the oil painting class a few weeks before the term began. She was a very nice person, but didn’t really know what she was doing. I loved the lusciousness of oil paints, but found the class frustrating and didn’t learn much. Recently I decided to try again. I’ll be driving to Eugene once a week for the next two months for an oil painting class at the local art center. The first class was last week and I’m pleased with the teacher. She obviously knows a lot and has an encouraging and helpful manner in interactions with students.

For the next few classes we will focus on painting still lifes with objects of only one primary color. Last week we painted yellow objects, using a limited palette of alizarin crimson, cad yellow light, French ultramarine, and white.

Next week we will add cad red light to our palette when we paint red objects. By the end of the class our palette will consist of six primary colors - warm/cool versions of each.

This is my painting of a yellow flowerpot and crayon. In the oil painting world I think it’s considered important to cover the canvas completely. But I was still in partial watercolor mode and felt compelled to leave a bit of white canvas showing. I can see that leaving some white doesn't really enhance an oil painting the way it does a watercolor.

6 comments:

sue said...

Oh, it should be fun to see you trying a new medium, Sharon! Great job! You seem to be taking to it readily.

Sherry said...

Good for you! I bought some oils last year, and have barely tried using them. I could use a class, but most of them around here seem to concentrate on watercolors. I look forward to seeing what you are learning.

laura said...

Wow! Sounds like a great class; I always say I would like the challenge of a limited palette (note the word "say").
Your painting is lovely, and makes the most of that creaminess you admire in oils. I'm impressed--I could never do anything with oil paint; they always turned out like watercolors!

Jala Pfaff said...

Many of us oil painters first put an imprimatura on the white canvas, and then paint on top of that once it's dry or mostly dry. Then we allow bits of that to show through and it's wonderful. Your imprimatura can be any color that will be harmonious with the final result.

janabouc said...

Oh yes, I remember doing the exact same thing with leaving white. I was used to leaving the paper white for backgrounds and you sure can't do that with oils! Your class sounds good and this painting looks really well done! I had a teacher come to me once for private watercolor lessons. She was a high school art teacher being assigned to teach a new watercolor class and she'd never done it before.

Joanne said...

I've always wanted to try painting, preferring watercolor. But seeing your oil, it looks intriguing!