Saturday, October 9, 2010


I have always told students that when they introduce a new medium into their work, it feels like going back to kindergarten. I am now back in kindergarten. I have worked with most media but have never gotten seriously involved with oil paint. The solvents don't like me and the feeling is mutual, difficulty breathing, rash, etc., not pretty. I have decided to paint with oils and not use any of those nasty solvents. At one point a few years ago, I tried the water-miscible oil paints and was less than thrilled. These paints are not exactly water soluble but can be used with a small amount of water and cleaned up with water before they are dry. After painting for years in acrylic, the water-miscible oils were, in my opinion the worst of both worlds.

But I have always loved and I mean LOVED the way that oil paints blend like nothing else on earth. Well, now I am using blending mediums to mix and using vegetable oil for clean up. It works beautifully and I am a happy artist. I am reading everything I can get my hands on about oil paint as I have nothing in my extensive art library on this medium. I have downloaded info from sites such as Gamblin (a very good site by the way) and Carlynne has loaned me several of her books on oil painting. There is nothing like having a new media to get you really excited about your artwork.

One line in the Complete Oil Painter by Brian Gorst, really stopped me in my tracks:

"Good painting is an art, not a science, and cannot be fully learned from any book: it is a combination of skilled craftsmanship, creative bravery, and determined trial and error."

Don't you love that-- CREATIVE BRAVERY?! I love that phrase and nothing was ever more necessary than this for quality artwork. And how true is it that good painting is a combination of skilled craftsmanship, creative bravery and determined trial and error! We were just talking in class about the role of "talent" in art. The jury is still out as far as I am concerned. I feel the same way about talent as I do about UFO's. There might be life on other planets, I am very interested in finding out, but I have not seen any proof yet. Ditto talent.

For me, quality work comes about in any field in two ways, having a profound interest in the work you are doing and practising. I always tell students that if there was a shortcut, I would have found it by now. Talent is just a word.

I wish you Peace and Creative Courage,

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