I’ve always wanted to know what oil painting was like. A few months ago I was determined to try it out on at least a limited basis.
The universe encouraged this experiment by making oil painting supplies discounted all at once in a store I visited about a week later. So of course, I bought them up. That was November. Since then I’ve painted about ten small canvasses.
No lessons. Not research. Just going for it with abandon. Lots of learning as I go. Lots of experimentation. And lots of mess. (Despite the use of mineral spirits for thinning and clean up, my bathtub looks like a used palette. I’m still working on an efficient cleaning process.)
I like the feel of the brush on the canvass. (Or in some cases the wood/particle board I had lying around.) I like the consistency of the paint, the thick, creaminess under the brush. The blending of colors both on the palette, and on the canvass itself. I like seeing obvious brush strokes on the finished product, knowing that I’m looking at a painting , and that the strokes of paint are my own.
Due to most of the canvasses being tiny 5′ by 7′, I tend to finish in one sitting, not knowing until I’m in the middle of the project what sort of look I’m going for. Not being trained, I have to work with how the paint is presenting itself, because I lack the skill and knowledge to know how it will behave before I begin. I mostly enjoy the not-knowing.
It may not be predictable when I paint, but it is in many ways instant. Not as instant as photography, but nonetheless I am immersed in the creative process, albeit haphazard, as soon as I begin. I can see that this action I take has right away brought about something that seconds before did not exist. That something is art. My art. Not great art, not marketable art, but my own art.
And it’s mostly abstract art, as I lack the skill to sketch or paint actual objects, though the first painting I did was of a roughly sketched cottage, and it sort of looks like one.
The rest of the paintings have several aspects to them that came about because the paint didn’t behave how I thought it was going to. Some of the cooler images have come about in this manner.
I am a writer, and not a painter. I don’t see myself becoming a true painter, as opposed to someone who enjoys painting. (Note the difference.) But when I need a break from the slog that creating a finished work of writing can sometimes be, painting can be one of the antidotes for a while. No description, set up, exposition needed. I draw a brush across the whiteness, and right away, if you were watching me, you’d see something I created in an infant stage without the need to settle in, as reading words requires.
But I’m not thinking of you when I paint. I’m thinking of me. Actually, I’m not thinking at all. I’m just painting.