Thursday, June 10, 2010

Something I thought I'd Never Do!

Have you ever totally disliked something, I mean REALLY disliked something and for some inexplicable reason suddenly decided you might just like it after all? Well, I have just taken a turn down that road.

I have never, ever liked oil paints at all .... nada, nein, nunca and every other form of negative you can come up with. I have always been thankful that I am a pencil artist because oil paints, canvases, brushes, and oil mediums are so expensive! I don't know if it's out of boredom, pent-up creativity, or experimentalism, but I have a sudden urge to give oils a try.

*sigh* I have a feeling I am really stepping in it this time. Mind you I will never, NEVER give up pencils, but I think we all need a little experimenting now and then in order to grow as artists.

I started working with pastels a while ago, but have been indecisive about how far I wanted to go with them considering they are an incredibly fragile medium, and they pain they are to mat, frame, and ship. I love how pastels look, their simplicity, ease of use, and portability.

However, Oils can just be popped into a frame just like my colored pencil paintings, and I like that very much! There are a lot of other issues with oils that I will have to work out, such as the amount of time to dry and the fact that my house is full of cat hair. Artists Cathy Sheeter and Leslie Harrison have the same problem. I'm not sure what to do about that, especially since I cannot shut off one room since we have no AC and need all of our doors and windows open for cross-ventilation. At least I don't have to worry about having good ventilation when I paint!

I am planning on buying some good quality oil paints and archival panels and renting a few oil painting videos to get me started some time in the next few weeks. I don't have to worry about my busy schedule until next month, at which point I may not have enough time. I am very excited to get started, but apprehensive as well. I don't like wasting money and I'm still not entirely sure I should spend the money to do this.

What do all of you think? Should I take the leap and give oils a try or just stay with what I know best????


  1. I did just this earlier in the year, purchased some fast drying oils, new brushes, canvases, booked some tuition over a 9 week period. As soon as the course finished I was back with my trusty pencils and have not touched oils again since. This was not helped by friends and family saying 'this isn't you', and 'not as good as your pencils'. Ah well, an expensive mistake for me but at least it got me over a 'I hate pencils' feeling. Good luck, hope you do better than me.

  2. I think you should go for it! I'm sure you'll do great. If you get bored of oils, you'll find good use to the remaining stuff too... go for it!
    But please, don't forget your cps!

  3. Do what appeals to you! I, too, will not give up the pencils. How can you give up "instant" art media. Pencils are ready to go when you are - no solvent, no brushes and portable. But I paint with acrylics, oils, and even break out the pastels sometimes. I like to think of if as cross-pollination of methods and ideas.
    Stop by and visit my blog at or my website at

  4. Thanks guys! If I were to do oils, my main reason would be to paint landscapes. I don't do landscapes in pencils and would like to paint some. Next I might try a foray into animals.

    Have any of you seen Bob Ross and tried to use his videos??

    If I do try oils, I'm going to use the cheapest archival oils I can find and use some cheap but archival canvas panels. I already have most of the brushes, but will have to buy some more.

    Any of you who have tried oils and quit want to sell any of your supplies??

    Pauline, that's what I'm afraid of happening, and I can't afford an expensive mistake. I know it will take some time and dedication to get good at using oils, but still can't give up my trusty pencils. I don't know. *sigh* Still thinking about it, but I probably will give it a bit of a go, just for the heck of it.

    Jan, love your Native American Indian!

  5. It's always good to try new things... Especially if you know that you can come back "home" to the medium you love best!!! Maybe you'll become equally facile in both... or more!!

  6. That would be nice Marian, wouldn't it?! To be fluent in two mediums would be great!!


  7. I was always sure I'd never give up oil pastels for the same reasons you've stated not giving up CPs. I've also been painting in oils for quite some time, but never had the control with them that I did with OPs. A little pressure from a gallery, and the fact that framing and shipping are much simpler convinced me to spend more time developing my work in oil. Now I paint almost exclusively in oil - I think I've done one OP in the last two or three years. I do miss them, but I can do an oil in a fraction of the time and sell it for significantly more.

    If you are going to have a go, it can be done relatively inexpensively. A limited palette of about six colours (works especially well for landscapes) and prepping your own panels with gesso...some brushes and off you go!

  8. I think it's always wonderful to try new media...And I've always gone back to acrylics, but every time, I bring a new little tweak to my technique that I learned when experimenting. Can't wait to see how fun with oils improves your pencil art!

  9. I never thought I would like oils either because of their thick consistency since I am a watercolorist (mainly). I do enjoy them and there are certain looks that can only be achieved with oils. I have recently become addicted to palette knife painting with oils. What Fun! However, with that being said, I would never use oils as my first choice medium. Give it a try. You can probably find some oils for sale on Craigslist or ebay.