Reawakening the Oil Painter

The desire to be an artist all through my school years was such a passion for me.  Unfortunately, my parents didn’t allow me to pursue that passion as a career.  I was always directed to the path they felt worthy, useful and lucrative – art just didn’t fall into those criteria.

Well, now that I am retired from a long career in the corporate world, I can devote as much time as I desire to my passions.  I am accomplished in the art of stained glass as well as Opus mosaic.  Recently I decided to sign up for oil painting classes at a local studio.  One thing I can say positively about Tucson is that it is “an incubator for aspiring artists”.  Every type of art class is readily available around town, all you have to do is sign up and pay your tuition and you can be on your way.

When I was in high school and up until the time I had my first son, I painted in oil and acrylics often.  I had never had any formal training on the techniques or principles of painting.  In fact the only art I studied in school was literature (which was not considered a waste of time by my family).  So I signed up for oil painting class, telling the instructor that I was a beginner.  A beginner was truthfully what I considered myself.

This instructor’s way of teaching was for you to pick out a picture from the vast collection of pictures she had and to replicate that painting.  She felt the average painting takes about four weeks to complete.  I picked a picture of a Tuscan Farmhouse with a Vineyard and immediately was corrected because I said I chose that picture because it went with the decor of my home.  Oh, she seemed like she might be a force to reckon with!  I began to paint following her tutelage and quickly became engrossed in the process of creation, I was painting a bit faster than she liked her students to paint.  I had to temper my speed down …….. remember I had told her I was a beginner.  The painting took the four weeks she required.  And it is now hanging in my family room. 

Okay, so since we have to replicate other artist’s work, I want to paint Van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhone.  Unfortunately, this picture is not in her cache of paintings to be copied.  Her initial reaction was that his work was and is very schizophrenic but she relented and let me paint it.  This, too, took an arduous four weeks to complete.

This past weekend, I painted this sunset.  I had taken this photo a few months ago with the intent of painting it in oils.  I enjoy painting very much and at home I can paint at my own pace – this 16 x 20 oil took me a couple of hours to complete.  I absolutely love painting wet on wet!

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