OK, so I deal with a lot of art/artists for work – the masters, the semi-greats and the amateurs. Back in August, I decided I should see if I have any artistic talent as far as painting goes. First, the kids and I played around with paint, getting our inner Jackson Pollock’s on, splattering and flinging paint on canvases. They turned out surprising good, but because we were just flinging paint, I couldn’t say it took any talent.
Next, I found an oil painting class at a local hobby store. Once a week for six weeks, I spent three hours trying to figure out what each brush did, how to make sharp lines and blend colors, and eventually, my first attempt, a seascape, was done. I thought it was pretty good for a first attempt, although my sailboat looked like it’s sinking. The lighthouse, though, rocks, even if I do say so myself. When it was done, I thought it looked like something Edward Hopper would paint. So I Googled Hopper’s works and found out it was his painting – “The Long Leg.” I had copied a copy of his original. The smudge over the house that looks kinda like a cloud is there because I didn’t realize it sometimes takes several days for oil paints to dry, and tried to wipe away a speck of dust. OK, lesson learned.
I did a still life next, and it turned out pretty darned good – so good that that I decided to give it to my mom for Christmas. It took six weeks to finish, but I was very happy with the results, and the nine grandmothers in my class all said I shouldn’t have been able to do that well on just my second attempt.
Feeling a little cocky, I decided to try to paint two identical painting at the same time to give to my sister-in-laws for Christmas gifts as well. There wasn’t enough time to do them one at a time, so I set up two easels and did them at the same time. They aren’t exactly the same, but ended up pretty good. I cut it close, though, and had to put them in the oven to dry so I could pack them for the trip to California.
The gifts were well received, but I can’t tell if they were saying they liked it to protect my feelings. I guess I’ll know the next time to go to their houses and see if my work is hanging in a place of honor or hiding in a closet or under a bed.
For my latest painting, I did a beach scene at sunset. It definitely is vibrant. This time, it took just three class sessions, so maybe I’m learning something.
Admittedly, I have a lot to learn about color schemes and mixing paints to get the right results, as well as how to accurately figure out where the light is coming from and how it affects the subject, and I’m sure it will take quite while. But hey, I’ve got nothing but time, right?
So here’s a question: For any of you out there who has some oil painting experience, please tell me what you really think. I know that my instructor and the ladies in my class are all complementary, but you, fair reader, don’t know me from Adam, so you have no reason to soft-pedal your criticism. Let me have it. I can take it.