A Work in Patience: Oil Portraiture

In 2012 I started using oil paints. I quickly fell in love with this medium. Those feelings started to wane once I began oil portraiture.

In this age of instant gratification, water colours and acrylics have enabled me to finish a portrait within a week or two. However, oils have taken three months, six months, even a year to complete depending on size and the number of people in the portrait. The adjustment to this pace was quite frustrating but I’ve learnt a few things as I’ve gotten into the groove.

I’ve learnt to take the time to really see the subject and find my style. I’ve learnt to explore different solutions to a problem I may encounter without worrying about the paint drying too quickly. I’ve discovered how long I can focus on a painting before my mind wanders to what I can paint on that blank canvas that I just bought. I’ve learnt that, with the right lighting, I’m better at oil portraiture at night, when life is quiet and the music is loud. I also love my sleep so I’ve learnt to manage my time more efficiently.

Sometimes it all falls into place but sometimes I have to make it work. Being an artist and balancing family life is,  in itself, a “Work in Progress” and oil portraiture is a lesson in patience.

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Self Portrait- My first oil portrait

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A more recent oil portrait

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