On my easel… Venturing into Oils.

On my easel

After many years working with acrylics (and loving all the possibilities that they allow) I am currently trying to put my fear aside about working with oil paints. Yep, I said fear. It has gone on for far too long. It is bordering on ridiculous. Acrylics I know, almost inside out. I know that used correctly they are one of the most stable painting materials around. They won’t flake, crack, fall off the substrate or discolour unless you do something really silly. Over the years, all the reading I have been doing about oils has put the idea into my head that they are the opposite unless you really know what you are doing. Because I have never known what I was doing with them, (fat over lean anyone? I know what it means but how much and when?) I have let them be. The odd tube I have purchased has taunted me into starting but never enough for me to open that lid. I know that as silly as it sounds, I will never really feel like a ‘painter’ until I can paint in oils. (yep…silly)

I have read and read and read and am currently reading The oil painting book by Bill Greevy and I have eventually decided that all the reading in the world is never going to make me an oil painter – only actually getting the brushes and paints out will give me even half a chance at that. So today I began. Confused, perplexed, trying to let go of doing it ‘right’ and just ‘doing it’. But I made a start and that’s what counts! Here’s to a new journey.

12 thoughts on “On my easel… Venturing into Oils.

  1. i wish you well with your oil painting endeavors, gillian! honestly, oils seem so much easier than acrylics to me. i’ve been using acrylics for maybe 6 weeks now, and i’m still having regular temper tantrums with them. ; )


    • Hi Lynne – yes we so get used to what we work with – each medium has it’s own character and difficulties and I think we just get so used to the nuances of whatever we work with – but you will get there! I think the way the paint is applied is just so different from acrylics to oils that your hand and brain get used to one way and take a while to adapt to the other – we will get there! x

  2. hey gills…. i’m currently battling through my fear of oils too… i’m in the thick of it now. took and oil painting course which has demystified a lot of it for me… in addition to all the you tubing and reading… i’ve got some great links… contact me if you’re interested. xox

  3. Hi Carmen – it’s funny isn’t it how we see oils as being the ultimate material to paint with and therefore frightening! Good luck with the acrylics and oil pastels – I haven’t worked with oil pastels for a long while but have just ordered some so looking forward to trying them x

  4. The challenge of oils is very attractive, but have to admit I have learned to also enjoy water colors. For years I dismissed them as too fluffy-looking – but they really offer great expressive potential too. The prep and cleanup is much more simple. When I really just need to paint, it’s a quick way to get my art on.

    Love your blog – keep posting.

  5. Love your blog, Gillian. As for oils….i love the messy, smelly, smooshy, gooshiness of them. And those brushstrokes AH! (I paint rather thickly.) But I get oil paint everywhere, on my face, all over my clothes, phone, camera….that’s the challenge for me. I never could get the hang of acrylics, as you certainly have. My other medium is gouache….and I use it richly, thickly, like I do with oils. And yeah, I even make a mess with them, but much easier to clean up. I love watching your progress…..thanks for the postings. : )

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