Recently, I was thinking of my first oil painting lessons. Sometimes I find it worthwhile to reflect on my journey. I was just a teen at the time. I had a friend whose mom was an artist. I remember asking my friend if her mom would teach me how to oil paint. When she told me that she would love to give me lessons I was so excited!
I didn't have any brushes, I had no paints and I had no canvas. I arrived for my first painting lesson early one evening. There was the kitchen table where all the supplies had been set up for me. I was shivering with anticipation. I'll never forget my first still life... a brown beer bottle on a white tea towel. You know, now that I think about it, I'm not sure how appropriate it was for a young person to be painting an alcoholic beverage bottle but there it was.
My first lesson was to simply observe the tea towel and describe the colors I saw. Surely this had to be a trick question. "I see a white tea towel." And this is where the fun began. From that moment on, I never looked at anything the same way ever again.
My teacher pointed out the colors in the folds of the fabric as well as the colors that were reflected onto other parts of the fabric by the bottle. I remember feeling completely illuminated by the experience. It was like a veil had been removed from my eyes.
As I recall, I took 3 or 4 oil painting lessons and I remember completing my painting in stages. I remember the smells of the oils and the feeling that came with executing my very first painting. For me it was pure magic. I wish I had kept my first oil painting. I really don't know where the little canvas went.
What was my most important lesson? For me, my biggest take away from that experience was the power of opening up my mind's eye. No longer was white just white. It was filled with subtle colors!!
To this day I marvel at all of the greys and blues and violets tucked in the white snowdrifts on a sunny winter day.
As an adult I moved away from oil painting to acrylics. Today that's my strength and my preferred medium. That’s where I have built my expertise. But on occasion, when the mood hits, I get to add mediums to my acrylics to make them behave like oils if I want to.
I don't teach in oils. I have not developed mastery of how to paint with oils. So I prefer to leave that to someone who has mastered the art.
It may come as no surprise that I get lots of inquiries about developing painting courses here on our site. After all, that’s what I do. But since I don't paint in oils, how could I help those of you who want oil painting lessons? What's the next best thing? Why not find something that is already available… something that you may not be aware of? So I did some research and I have yet to find a course that I think meet my expectations.
If you find a course or you have a recommendation please use my contact form to let me know. I'd appreciate it.