Now the evenings are drawing in why not try your hand at a new skill and capture some fading summer memories on canvas? Because this week the artists of Folksy explain all about oil painting. This medium has been used to create many of the great masters of the Western art tradition and who knows you might be the next Constable!
Where do I start? I hear you cry, lets find out! So, what do we need to get started and how do we go about it?
Oil paints are slow drying linseed based paints which are mixed with a wide variety of pigments and are prized for their warm glowing colours. You can paint on a range of surfaces, stretched canvas and wooden panels are the most popular choices. Its a very versatile medium and very fine detail or very thick texture can be achieved depending on the effect you want. You can create very layered pieces or very flat, smooth finishes as our artists show, experimentation is the way to find your style.
Damian J Kelly explains: “I use mainly oil paints on either canvas or board canvas. I also use varnish to add depth, and sometimes use mixed medium to build up the oil to create different textures in my work. You can use all sorts of different products and techniques in painting, if I was starting out I would recommend acrylic paints and they are much cheaper and go further although they lack the richness of colour of oils.”
Townsleygallery has some great advice for useful equipment: “I use a table-based easel which is easy to transport and can store all my paints, pencils and other art paraphernalia I have collected over time.”
Fancy a go? Lets find out where our talented artists get their inspiration from
Our Folksy artists use the traditional genre of the landscape, but give it a modern twist. Damian J Kelly is inspired, “..by the beautiful Scottish landscape and especially the changing colours, textures and light that we have in Scotland at different times of days/years.”
The world around Townsleygallery has led her to take her hobby further and explains, “My inspiration has come from holidays in recent years to Cornwall….. Last September my husband and I married there so it has a deep meaning personally and I find the scenery and colours absolutely amazing which persuaded me to begin to paint again.
I also spend time at art galleries having a look at other artists’ styles…even if it is a technique I wouldn’t necessarily use myself. “
So, tell us about the challenges and rewards of oil painting, what can we expect?
Damian J Kelly finds, “The most rewarding aspects is when someone buys a painting as it means they like it as much as I enjoyed making it. The most challenging aspect is probably knowing when to stop with a painting! Sometimes I can do too much and nearly spoil a painting, it is hard to walk away.”
Townsleygallery has a different perspective, “I absolutely love spending time creating a new painting as it represents my view of either a landscape or idea and the fact that this can then hang as an artwork feels as though I have created something tangible and truly unique. I also find painting relaxing so can spend hours whiling away time painting. I still work full time, whilst trying to establish myself and I guess that will always be the most challenging aspect; I would love to be able to paint and expand my skills further so hopefully I will be able to establish myself as an artist and eventually move to Cornwall”
Think you can cope with the highs and lows of the oil painters lot? Lets find out where our painters learned their craft and where you can learn.
Townsleygallery told us, “I have always loved drawing and painting since I was young but haven’t had the confidence to really explore this beyond practicing at home; recent holidays in Cornwall inspired me to paint some of the scenery to hang on my walls at home…this had led to commissions and I am slowly taking this forward. But I have had no formal art training beyond school; I would love to have chosen an art degree but I felt at the time I needed to get a “real job”
Damian J Kelly does have a formal art background and explains, “I attended Edinburgh Collage of Art to do Ceramics and Sculpture in the late 1990’s, but oil painting has mainly been self taught, through experimentation. I also attend Life Drawing Classes locally to keep my drawing skills up to scratch.” He goes on to encourage you to, “…have a go anyway and that is the beauty of painting as a craft. If you need a bit of a start often locally run adult education courses have great starters in Life Drawing, Painting etc and they are often inexpensive. I would recommend just buying some paint and going for it though, you never know!”
Basic techniques in oil painting are widely available on the internet as tutorials (You Tube is great for these), you can buy DVD’s and your local art society would be a rich source of advice and support. Adult education courses are always a great place to start (funding to this area has already been severely reduced this year so there is much less provision) or you could even go on a painting holiday!
Townsleygallery has some words of wisdom, “The best piece of advice I have ever heard was that there is no such thing as a “wrong” line or drawing; every stroke can be incorporated into the piece…once the basics are understood, it is a question of practice in order to develop further..”
Thanks to the artists for taking the time to give us an insight into their techniques and I hope some of you are tempted to have a go!