Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Adventures in Oil Painting

I think it is always important to be willing to try new things.  If you are of  "a certain age" you may remember a TV commercial with the tag line "Try it, you'll like it!"  While we were in Germany at the CreativeWorld show we saw lots of stands for fine arts - paints, canvases, easels, etc.  While Mandy and Enfys were left unsupervised they went off and signed the three of us up to do an oil painting class.

I have never tried oil painting.  My brother is a talented artist and I leave that sort of thing to him!  I didn't want to be a spoilsport so I went along with the plan to take the class.  It turned out to be a lot of fun and I actually produced the "masterpiece" at the top of this post in less than an hour!

The class was at the stand of the Martin/F.Weber Co. which is located in the Philadelphia area, very close to where I grew up.  This is a very old company (started in 1853) and they produce all sorts of art materials.  We were using the Permelba oil colors with Liquiglaze medium.  We started with a blank canvas that had been prepared with a coat of black gesso.

Our teacher was Alexander Cruz, from Puerto Rico.  He was happy to have some English speaking students who were willing to get a little noisy and enthusiastic as he coached us on making our first paintings.  Alexander was a student of Bob Ross, who is well known for his TV series.  Bob Ross has a signature line of products at the Martin/F. Weber Co.

These little dabs of paint and larger blob of Liquiglaze were all we needed to complete our paintings.

We used four brushes - difference brushes for different techniques.  We learned that a very important part of creating the painting was the choice of brush and the method of loading the paint on the brush.

After painting all over the cavas with a mixture of dark green and dark blue blended with the medium, we took the fan brush, loaded it with green, yellow and a bit of white and rolled it between our hands to create these swirls on the canvas.

Here you can see Mandy and Enfys working on this step - it felt very odd to hold the brush like this but the result was quite effective in creating a moody sky.

This is the canvas of the fourth member of our group - who also happened to be an American living in Germany.  His sky ended up looking like a face in the clouds - maybe a cat?

Here I am nervously holding my fan brush.  I was amazed that I didn't get any paint on my clothes - I usually have glitter and ink all over myself when I do a project at home!

Next, Alex came around with a large dry blending brush and smoothed out the sky on each painting.

The swirls of paint quickly turned into an interesting sky.

This is my painting after the sky was completed.

There was a sample painting we could look at and Alex also painted a new copy along with us.  One of the funniest things was the sound effects that went along with the strokes we were supposed to make.  It actually did help you to remember how to move the brush but we must have sounded crazy to the crowd that had gathered to watch.

We next added the trees by just pouncing the large brush across the canvas, varying the heights of the tress along the way.  The waterfall was tricky - he had us listen to him and watch the steps along with the sound effects and then we each created our own version of the fall.  I had a bit of "water" shooting off to the right side but decided to leave it as it was.  Sometimes going back to "fix" something only makes it worse.

After the trees and waterfall, we added the grassy meadow along the sides.  Once again this was done by loading up the large brush with green and yellow and "pouncing" it along the sides to meet the water.

We were almost finished.  The two large trees were next and they were made by loading the brush with the darker color on one side and the light on the other to create a bit of a dimensional shadow.

Once the main tree trunks and large branches were in place, we added some smaller branches.  At this point we were finished and just needed to sign our art (I had trouble signing with the thin brush and ended up painting over my messy signature - I'll try again sometime).

It was interesting to see that even though we were all following a pretty strict formula and set of instructions the paintings had a lot of variation.  Look at the mess we made of those neat little dabs of paint!

Apparently we were enthusiastic and noisy enough that they sent off for the video crew to come make a short video of the "master painters" in action.  It may even end up on the company website!

We posed for a group shot with our paintings and our teacher and then they boxed up our wet paintings in a protective carrier.  It was very funny that night back at the hotel as we kept sneaking peeks at our paintings - they actually looked so much better than we imagined they would.

Here is what the painting looked like once I got it home and it was thoroughly dry.

We even went out to find a frame to suit it - I am "auditioning" this one and I think I'll keep it and hang my first (and possibly only) oil painting somewhere in my craft area.

Have you ever tried oil painting?  Do you do other types of "fine art" in addition to your crafty projects?

I'll be picking up my new glasses today.  They have rhinestone flowers on the sides - what was I thinking... I hope they look good with my new haircut - about eight inches shorter than it was in the photo above!

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  1. I think your painting turned out really good. I use to paint (oils) many years ago. (I'm sure your glasses will look great!) Have a good day.

  2. Diane, your oil painting turned our beautiful. You are a "natural." Obviously, it runs in your family! It's so funny that you posted this today because just yesterday, I was inspired to begin an "adventure in acrylic" for the very first time in my life. I am taking a Creative Color online class with Christy Tomlinson, and she just is so free with her art, that I decided to give it a go too! I haven't gotten very far, and it may not be all paint, I might do some 3d paper flowers and butterflies because "3D" is my middle name. I hope to share it with you when I finish it!

  3. Hi Diane, Good job on your painting. My first intro to oil was also a Bob Ross technique and I also have painted with watercolor. The art world for me started with quilting.

  4. Hi Diane, your painting is great! I'm glad you went along w/the group! How fun is that?! TFS!

  5. Wow this is amazing and what fun! Thanks for sharing!

  6. you did a great job! as a matter of fact while visiting my daughter in Thailand this month, we took a Batik class and loved it so much i went back and took a second class. never stop learning and trying new things. Zip lined yesterday!! happy crafting

  7. Diane
    Wow talk about trying new things. First, your painting is absolutely beautiful. Good job. I hope you continue to paint. My mom was an artist but, alas, that gene missed me. lol
    Second, new hair cut and new glasses.
    What an adventurous lady you are.

  8. How wonderful that you could play with another medium to express your creativity! It has always amazed me how a simple brush or the way you stroke with it gives the picture a certain effect, I used to watch Bob Ross and a couple other painters on public TV and learnt a thing or two, of course nothing like having an instructor infront of you right? As always, thank you for sharing your adventures...have fun and enjoy the extra minutes you don't have to use drying your hair! ;) *wink*


  9. Love your, painting. Love Bob Ross. Jealous that you had the experience of one of his students. My husband and I were taking painting classes from a church member back home and will continue when we return. We started in acrylic and he prefers that medium but I like oil. I took oil classes probably 30+ years ago, then got busy with other things so it feels good to get back to it. We brought our paint with us and I have started one - sure couldn't do it in an hour like you did but then there are more details in it.

    We happened to watch Bob Ross yesterday, doing a painting similar to yours and I decided I need to get black gesso and different, bigger brushes, and maybe some of that Liguiglaze. I'm so glad you posted all of this information.

    Even though your brother is an artist, don't leave that to him. You are an artist in your own right with your designs, etc but you can add painting, too, if you enjoy it. Two of my children are artists and my granddaughter teaches art. I don't try to compete, just have fun creating my own thing.

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed this post and your painting adventure. Looks like it was impossible to keep you three ladies out of trouble. Your painting is certainly pretty enough to hang in your home. I love it. Now you can add "painter artist" to your many talents. Anxious to see your new haircut and glasses.

  11. Wow, what an amazing "first" painting. I have always wanted to try oil painting, but have been too chicken. Maybe I'll have to find a class. TFS all of the step-by-step photos. The process was very interesting. Oh, and can't wait to see a pic with the new haircut and glasses. Got to love bling!

  12. Wow, wow, Wow you are so very talented....I have done some sponge and rag painting on my walls but nothing like oil painting. You pic is just beautiful.
    Thank you for sharing with us.
    Linda in Stanwood

  13. Clearly, artistry runs in your family! Your painting came out beautifully, especially as it was your first time!

    I don't have an artistic bone in my body, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate other people's art!

  14. Hi Diane,

    Thanks so much for posting more about the Silhoutte machines. Guess I'll have to start saving!!

    What fun for you to have the oil painting lesson. You are already an artist, just in different mediums.

    I have dabbled in watercolor and enjoy it.

    Can't wait to see you in your glasses and new haircut! Hope the session in Nashville is a good one for you. You have travelled alot lately.

    Thanks again for taking us on your adventures.

    Jane in WY

  15. Diane, I'm so impressed with your oil painting! I tried to do "tole" painting once, but it was not a good experience. I was very stressed and disappointed. My instructor took a rag with turpentine and had me start over! lol. I moved on to ceramics after that. I can't wait to see your new hairdo and glasses. It's always fun to change things up a bit.

  16. The painting is beautiful!
    I took a few "one-stroke" classes several years ago.
    I never painted anything to hang on the wall, but I have painted candles, flowerpots, trays, plates and almost anything else that would hold still!!


  17. wow....you go girl it is awesome!!! I wouldn't give up you have a gift for this!!!!

  18. Great Job! It is so fun to paint and just relax a little bit. I took my first Bob Ross class over 10 years ago, and quickly transitioned into acrylics (as I have no patience to wait for paint to dry - lol).

    I have not painted in a few years due to lack of space, but I miss it and have been trying to find a way to make room for it in my scrap room.

    Hope you decide to do it again soon!

  19. You did a fantastic job. You are very talented. You must be so proud of it.

  20. Love that you took blow by blow shots of your painting class, Diane. It was great to see. I've been hesitent to dive in, but would love to try. I think a class with friends is a great way to go ;- ) TFS!

  21. you did a fabulous job....what is so funny...I still watch Bob Ross on our local station...I am amazed how he can paint such a wonderful pictures with poncing paint brushes on a canvas.....I have been wanting to try air brush painting..the only thing stopping me is the price which starts at150.00 and above......and be sure to take a before and after pic of your haircut....with and without your new glasses too...asking to much???? LOL

  22. Wow, you continue to amaze!


  23. Your painting is beautiful. Enjoy it much. Just think of the rinestone flowers a bit of blig. All of us need a bit of that now and again. No snow here but for your trip to Nashville they are saying a chance of rain Thursday.


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