Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Perfect Sunday Afternoon for Painting

It's been two weeks since my last post, shame on me.  That has partly been because I've been contemplating and experimenting about a change in medium and slight change in direction, so things might get a bit weird in her for a while, well not really weird just a bit different.

Today the weather was near perfect, a little windy at times but nothing I couldn't handle.  I decided to head out to my favorite convenient painting area, the Jordan River Parkway, there's a twist this time though, I took oil paints.  It's been nearly two years since I last painted outdoors with oils.  I decided it's time to give oils another go.  I want to paint outdoors more often and oils have many advantages to acrylics for painting outdoors so it was time to finally return to them.

art painting plein air tree winter branches bare

Bare trees are a challenging subject even with a medium you are familiar with, this isn't my greatest work but it's not a disaster either.  Right now this is the kind of subject that the parkway is full of and since spring will be here soon covering everything up with leaves and bushes now is the time to take advantage to do these little studies of tree "anatomy".

plein air art painting palette pochade oil

I used the same homemade paint box that I used for painting with acrylics, the only difference being the plastic shopping bag used for disposing used up paper towels, oils are messy!  I forgot my medium cup which is usually clipped to that little piece of metal on the right side, so I had to just drip some onto the right side of the palette.  I used a lot of medium on this one!  I tried to use the palette knife more than I'm used to but with mixed results.  The palette of colors is the same I use in acrylic, titanium white, yellow ochre pale, cadmium yellow pale, burnt sienna, cadmium red and ultramarine blue, all Winsor Newton colors.  The medium I use is M. Graham walnut alkyd and the solvent is Gamsol.

While Gamsol is less noxious than other solvents it's still strong enough I don't like using it indoors, especially during the winter since I can't open a window.  One of the things I've been experimenting with is water soluble oils.

art painting oil autumn landscape oil water soluble

"Autumn Road"

Oil, 5" x 7"

I painted this little landscape painting in the studio using Weber /F.Martin Woils.  They were a bit stiff but other than that and being able to clean up using water they worked just like regular oils. The smell of the oil paint itself is distinctive and something I'll have to get accustomed to.


  1. Great that you went out plein air painting again. I like the bare bones look of the trees right now, but I'm anxious for some spring changes. It will be interesting to see your oils. I haven't painted in oils since I was a kid. Watercolors are so much easier to clean up. lol

    1. Yes, watercolor is very convenient, but if you want the look of oils you gotta use oils!