Sidewalk Photos


Back to painting again today for a new media study, this time in oils.

I haven't done a lot of work with oil paints in the past, principally because they are such a stinky mess.  Last semester I was able to take a painting class in a large (mostly) ventilated studio and I still found the fumes from paint and turpentine to be thoroughly unpleasant.  Here at home I have a much smaller (pronounced "cozy") studio with no windows at all, so working with the fumes is mostly out of the question.  I've experimented a few times with water-based oils, but the paint itself can be overwhelming in such a small space.

Luckily today the weather was very nice, so I set myself up a little table on the back patio and tried another composition with the water-based oils.  The painting here is on unprimed bristol.  I've been warned in the past that anything you paint on should be primed with gesso to prevent the oil from rotting the substrate away.  However I don't really like the surface you get with gesso, I wanted to work on paper in case I decided to come back in with some other media.  Frankly our local museum has a number of works on both unprimed paper and canvas that seem to have survived quite well, so I'm not really worried.

It took some time to build up a few good layers of paint---which of course obliterated my sketch---but I'm pretty happy with the textures I ended up with.  Usually oil painting is a multi-stage process, but I was trying to get things done in one day's work, which lead the colors to get a little muddy as new paint layers mixed with underlying ones.  In some places it works, but in others not so much.  My biggest issue was trying to get the paint thin enough to do detailed photos with faces.  By that time the surface paint was so thick that adding small details over top was a no-go.  A good test run though.