My first oil painting class was last Saturday. A one day workshop with a painter whose work I’ve always admired. Still chewing on the process.
Having no formal art training, I missed the experience of trying different mediums in school. Oil has always been the holy grail of the art world, deemed more permanent and, therefore, much more valuable than watercolor. I get that part.
Most of the others in the class had some experience. I was the only beginner and the class moved along smoothly – for most. The right-side of my brain became somewhat confused by the fact that I could actually “fix” my mistakes.
Fixing mistakes in a painting was downright weird for me. Reminded me of going to the diner where the choices are so endless you can’t even decide if you want breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Don’t like the color of that flower – just change it, or better yet – cover it over. I felt giddy with power, but my confidence in choices began to diminish. And I didn’t need to “save the whites” as you do in watercolor. If you wanted white in this crazy class, you just painted it on. Not an option in watercolor, you have to plan to paint around your whites to leave the white of the paper. You can’t get that white back if you mistakenly paint over it.
On the other hand, I liked the left side of my painting, but hated the right side. If it were a watercolor, I’d have chopped it in half, slapped it in a frame and enjoyed it. Can’t do that with a panel. I would have had to completely redo the right side and by now I realized I’d wind up repainting the left side also. My patience had run it’s course and I couldn’t decide what to do. So the right side stayed.
And it was messy, or I was messy. Clean up was a bear and during the class the paint was all over my brushes, my palette knife, my gloved, sweaty hands, and even the notepad I’d brought to take notes. And (I hadn’t even thought about this), the paint stayed WET. Very wet. My left sleeve now has a lovely viridian splotch on it.
I’m munching on my future with oil painting, as I contemplate this less than satisfactory painting and experience. There are many choices. Try another painting in the comfort of my studio? Take another class? Watch some oil painting videos? Give the oils paints to someone who knows how to use them? My gut’s telling me I’ll try it again, and probably paint over this painting.
But I’ll wait until my stomach settles to decide.