Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Learning to paint with oils

OK, quick blog post (I say this then I end up rattling on forever). I did my art class.
I'm pretty sure this makes me an Artist
And do you know what? It was so much fun. I had a great time. We were doing landscapes in the style of David Hockney (the cynic in me says that is because beginners would have a better chance at doing a David Hockney landscape than, say, hyperrealism, but then again, what’s wrong with being realistic and practical about things? Excellent choice of subject, Tom the oil class teacher) and because I am always late, underprepared, slipping on ice and generally crap, I had not bought a picture of a landscape to work from. But I dug out my camera which is always on hand in case a big hairy cat walks past and vogues, and I used this one:
It is a bit dark, yes. I like a challenge
First I did a couple of sketches with oil pastels. I will say to you honestly that when an oil pastel was put into my hand and an A4 sheet of paper was placed in front of me, I felt inadequacy and fear. I think my fear is of producing something that is recognisably a drawing, but is crap, and then not knowing why it is crap so not being able to improve: just being overwhelmed by crapness and despair. I swear bad art actually hurts me physically, I am too delicate for this world. (I have identified Partner’s biggest fear, too. I have shown him these photographs I am going to show you and he said immediately: ‘promise me we will never have to do Cambridge Open Studios. People will all come and look at me.’ I don’t know if Partner has dreams where he is resitting his A-levels naked*, but obviously he fears exposure which you would not think since he is never wearing any clothes.)
And now we will draw a veil over this whole misbegotten episode
So this was my first sketch and it was indeed crap and I did not know why, and I felt sad and inadequate, especially as the woman sitting near me appeared to be producing a Constable. But I looked at it again and I thought: too much going on, composition doesn’t flow, I shall try again. So I did a simple line sketch and I felt a bit happier.
This was the Purple Ronnie of oil pastels. Oils pastels are not my metier
Then I started with my oils and a canvas and that felt much better. For those of you who may wish to have a crack, this is what I have learned so far: you only need to buy (no, I know, thrifty oil painting, I am so predictable), titanium white and some primary colours (blue, red, green, yellow) as you can mix colours from that (I used for my painting blue, white, purple, yellow, green and brown and various mixes thereof). You can apparently get cheap canvases from The Works although also check your local friendly art store (I don’t just say this because I work in one) as they will have a range (and will cater to students so they won’t all be expensive. The words to use are ‘student quality oils’). Oil paints are not cheap, though, so, I don’t know, start off by painting a ladybird? Or a zebra? Anyway, this is where I ended up at the end of today (this is just the background and some tree trunks, I will put the detail in next lesson).
No cross-eyed labradors. I'm going to put branches on the trees and everything
I wouldn’t say it was good, exactly, but I don’t think it is unspeakable and I am not ashamed. Also I can face finishing it. For the next lesson I am going to get some of my own paints, and I may also get a small canvas and have a bit of a go on my own beforehand, I shall see how I go. Could this be a new way to disguise the woodchip? We will see.

* Partner has just walked past and told me that he has got A-levels in Latin, Greek, Ancient History, and Latin Verse Composition. You see at my school they encouraged you to be well-rounded, but at Partner’s clearly they didn’t.


lollyknits said...

It's beautiful! Congratulations on letting your inner artist out and being brave enough to share her with your readers. Well done you!

Grateful4Crochet said...

Hey there Artist!!
Looking forward to seeing more of your artistic journey

Ness said...

Lovely! Let me tell you another fun fact about oil painting: if you do something you don't like, you can keep painting over it until you do like it! But, clearly you are a secret landscape genius with the oils, so you won't have to worry about that! Go you!

GirlAnachronismE said...

I have to say I was surprised when I got to the oil painting, it looks really good!

Anonymous said...

There is no 'wrong' or bad in art! Honestly. It is highly or entirely (not sure which) subjective. Seriously, art is about enjoying it and expressing yourself. Everyone can make art one way or another.

I really love your colours and how they blend together. And yes it is brave to share. It's weird how, considering it is supposed to be a useless and unimportant subject and how much more necessary physics is (supposed to be) for example, that we all have a view and it brings out the critic in us.

I share your fears over the blank canvas. I hope you keep on and enjoy it.

AC said...

You have such an eye for color I don't think you can go wrong with oil paints! I love the purple background.

Anonymous said...

It's beautiful! I love the colours, especially in the foreground.

And also, you've really got to stop saying "woodchip". Do you know how long it takes to get Pulp songs out of one's head?