Sunday, February 12, 2012

Painting Lesson

My goal for 2012 is "Make Every Day Unique," although two sub-goals are to focus on being at least a tiny bit creative each day and develop a more relaxed approach to creativity. I have been writing more lately and I'm just beginning to let go and not be so stymied by perfectionism. I would like to further develop that feeling in my writing and to extend it to sewing and other creative projects. 2010 was a great year for sewing and 2011 was a great year for writing and in 2012, I'd like to incorporate this and more into my daily routine!

A friend Kirsten is an artist. I knew this about her, but hadn't seen her work until last October's open studios weekend. I dropped by her studio for the first time and grilled her about her intention and process. Her work totally grabbed me. She is amazingly talented and I absolutely adore her work.

Studio Corner

I was hoping she'd be willing to give me an introduction to oil paints, which on top of learning something new would give me another opportunity to learn about her creative process. Luckily for me, she was totally into it and we set a date.

Today was the day for my trip to Kirsten's studio to learn about oil paints.

Great painting on Bryant at about 20th
Love this! Roll-up door on my walk to the studio.

Kirsten gave me a great introduction to oil painting. She started with a discussion about materials and safety. She gave me a run down of paints and quality and then described how to use and store linseed oil and turpenoid (or mineral turpentine).

Starting Palette

She then introduced a basic starting process of mixing paints and the traditional underpainting technique.


She went on to show me how to use a towel dipped in turpenoid to wipe away strategically. She built up the beginnings of her latest piece. It was great to see the lines and a bit of color start to shape the object.

Underpainting Developing

Kirsten at work

Then she set me loose. While making a few experimental paintings, or the beginnings of them, she showed me how to hold the brush in a more relaxed way and helped me have more fun with working the paint. She explained that applying the paint wasn't about stifling precision.

My first attempt was to identify shape and size with the underpainting and then build color over that. I painted circle/spirals as they are my favorite graphic element.

Experimental Painting 1

For my second attempt I wanted to add some color and dimension. This was on my own canvas, so I'll be able to let it dry and come back to it later to build up more color.

Experimental Painting 2

And we finished our session with how-to on clean up--the materials to use and technique.

Kirsten's intro, our great conversation, and my couple painting experiments has been a solid step toward being more relaxed and less up-tight about putting brush to canvas. Kirsten showed me that a painting builds and every brush stroke doesn't have to be perfection, nor should it.

Painting with oils has always loomed in the back of my mind; I've been curious, but intimidated. Oil paint is great! Yeah, you can't clean up with water and it's a bit toxic, so ventilation is good, but it was totally different than acrylic paint, which I know a bit. I can see how working with oil can become incredibly addicting.

Looking at her website again, I am amazed by her output. She is extremely dedicated and spends many hours working in her studio each week. She is a huge inspiration!

No comments:

Post a Comment