Oiling The Hinges

Oils, Painting and Process

My art-making muscles are so rusty! I’ve been focusing more on writing, veggie gardening, and fixing up the house during the lockdown, but I broke out these Chroma Archival oils again yesterday for the first time in months, and decided to try painting a J.C. Leyendecker. I considered doing a master study of one of his works, but because they’re simply too beautiful and I still have no idea what I’m doing with this new medium, I chose to copy a photo of the artist himself instead.

I bought these tubes of paint earlier this year, tested them once before, and almost gassed myself out because I didn’t know it’s best to keep the lid on your solvent whenever you’re not dipping a brush into it! Even when it’s ‘odorless’ Especially when it’s odorless. Because you can’t detect the fumes as easily and yeah, just lid the dang jar, Caper, you idiot.

But anyway, I’ve really enjoyed painting with them. Oils have always seemed so intimidating to work with. They’re a little more expensive than other mediums, and yes you do need a fairly airy space to paint in, but it turns out they’re ridiculously forgiving. I didn’t do a pencil sketch, just worked straight with the paints, and I was able to go around the piece with my fingertips at the end of the session, and smudge a lot of bits closer to where they should have been. It’s just a sketch so far, when this first layer dries I’m going to see if I can refine it a little. And try to correct the likeness…. I think I inadvertently gave Leyendecker a taste of his own medicine, and ended up making him a touch more handsomely masculine! Oh well.

I’m working with Titanium White, Arylamide Yellow Deep, and Burnt Umber on Canson XL Oil and Acrylic paper. The texture is pretty neat, I really need to fix his left eye though.

These are the first oil paints I’ve ever tried, so I don’t know how they compare to other brands, but they came from Australia like me so they can’t be all that bad 😉 From the marketing material, they’re meant to resist cracking, so much so that you don’t always have to stick to the ‘fat over lean’ rule when using them. They also apparently dry a tiny bit faster between layers too. I’m just pretending like I know what I’m talking about here, I’m a complete oil newbie. But in any case I like them so far!

Have you ever tried painting with oils? Do you prefer any particular brands? Let me know in the comments!

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