Goosefare Brook Marsh 6"x12" oil on canvas panel
Have you ever wondered when visiting an art museum why there are so many oil paintings? It’s probably because they're the most likely paintings to have survived through the years. As you know, I’m partial to oil paintings. I started working in oils about 20 years ago, and I still love them. But I didn’t start collecting oil paintings until I started painting them. I’m a huge fan of how the internet has opened up the art market to all of us, and I've bought paintings having only seen them online. But I do enjoy seeing paintings in person, with my own eyes, and love that we can do more of that now.
The appeal of oil paintings to me is both the bold colors and the textures. I often want to touch them because of these characteristics! Oil paintings are also easier to frame than watercolors or pastels, which require glass. That allows me to collect unframed oils that I see online and at open air art shows, and frame them myself. Here’s a blogpost on how to do that.
Mini Landscape #16 3.5"x3.5" oil on treated paper
Oil painting has a reputation of being more difficult to master than other mediums. I doubt that’s true. Mastery of any medium takes time and dedication. But most of us would be happy to be competent, and I think it’s easier to do that with oil paints than with watercolors or acrylics. There are a few reasons. Mostly it’s because oil paints dry relatively slowly, and because of that, you can scrape off your mistakes before they become permanent. There are two approaches to painting with oils; called direct and indirect. In the direct approach, or wet-in-wet, the painting is completed before any of the paint is dry. In the indirect approach, the painting is created with thin layers of paint, and the layers can be somewhat transparent. It's a time consuming process, waiting for the paint to dry between each layer. The indirect approach is also used for watercolor, where transparency is key.
Nature's Grace 5"x7" oil on panel, painted with a knife
I prefer the direct approach, maybe because I’m pretty impatient. I can finish a small painting in a few hours, and a larger one in a few days. The paint stays wet enough to make that possible. And, when I do make mistakes, I can remove them quickly and easily and try again. Also, that approach is perfectly suited to painting out of doors, where the direction of the sun and the level of the tide are not constant. Watercolors and acrylics are more challenging to paint out of doors, because they dry so fast.
Some contemporary oil painters whose work I admire and collect are Colin Page, Carol L. Douglas, Mary Gilkerson, and Peggy Kroll-Roberts. You will probably find that they have influenced my work, since I’ve studied with all of them!
9/22/2021 04:22:47 pm
These are great paintings and a fascinating blog post, Bobbi! I work in watercolor and do both direct and indirect painting methods.
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Bobbi - Painter. Sketcher. Teacher. Boat and Dog Lover.