Thursday, January 15, 2009


Believe it or not, until a few weeks ago, I'd never seriously used oil paint. Way back in Art School you'd think would be the obvious opportunity, but no. For me, any painting or drawing was done in acrylics or gouache, pastels, chalks, pencil, ballpoint pen, but no oils.
I've travelled the varied road of a creative career and produced a huge range of images and for some reason I never got round to experiencing oil paints.
Maybe two years ago, I decided I should give them a try, because, lets face it, oils have been the medium of choice for some magnificent art. So, I researched - possibly a little too much. I bought a range of what I thought I'd need, but that was when the confusion set in.

So far, the only liquid/medium I'd added to my paint of the moment was water. Suddenly, here was such a bewildering array of oils, turpenoids, dryers, retarders and accelerators that it made my head spin. Alchemy! That's what it is. I was confused and confounded. Which is the right combination for me to use? I studied books on the subject and not one book agreed with another and each went into greater depths of how to triple filter this and distill that. I just wanted to make some coloured marks on a canvas or board to see what it was like!
That was the crux. In any other endeavor, I'd pretty much waded in to see what happened. I should just do the same with oils. I spoke to my good friend James Ryman, a seasoned user of oils and also took the advise of Rose Allinson, my local art materials 'pusher' and educator, and using a combination of linseed oil and turpentine or Liquin as a choice of mediums, I got down to it.
I decided to dedicate my Christmas break 2008 to sampling the process and, even though the results will never grace anyone's wall, I really enjoyed the process.
I had three images on the go using a different approach to each.
Interestingly, the one I found most enjoyable was the more loose, slightly impasto style furthest removed from what I'd consciously produce.
I'll definitely be doing more with oils, once the deadlines and pressure of paying bills backs off a little.

The Minnie Mouse image is from a photograph on Deviantart, the face of the politician is from a newspaper image and the worried guy is from one of my sketches.
I make no excuses for quality or style - here are the results.
Minnie - 6.5"x7.5"
Politician - 10"x8"
The Worrier - 6"x6"