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.
There was once a large, stretched canvas that I was almost sure was cursed as nothing I painted on it seemed to work. I painted a semi abstract nude in blue. That didn’t work. Covered it with white paint.
A few months later, I decided to do a knife painting of an old familiar favorite, Boissiere House, otherwise known in Trinidad as The Gingerbread House. That didn’t work either. Covered it with white paint.
A few months after that, I decided to “try ah ting” and do a knife painting of Bob Marley. It worked 🙂
Here’s some work in progress pictures of Bob.
Bob Marley, Acrylic knife painting on stretched canvas.