View Full Version : First oil painting (awf-oil-ly bad)

09-06-2001, 07:22 AM
Well, I finally opened the oils I bought recently. (Never used oil before, took up painting in March but started with acrylics.)

I usually work for photos but I thought, with oils, I ought to work from life, so I painted myself in a mirror...

I started with an acrylic sketch, sitting at a flat table with a mirror propped up in front of me and a light above me. This was working well, until I started with the oils and couldn't see a thing due to the glare on the paint caused by the light above! :rolleyes:

Also, I'm used to drawing and acrylics, so I always lean on my work without noticing. Bad mistake. Ended up with oil paint all up my arm and on my T-shirt. :rolleyes:

Getting very frustrated by now, I put (well, threw) my paintbrush down and went out to buy an easel. Took me about half an hour to work out how to put the thing up. :rolleyes: Then I had to find a place on the wall for the mirror, and the lighting was all different in the only place I could do it. :mad:

ANYWAY! Much cussing later (I'm kidding, but it would have been that way if I was the cussing type. ;) ) This is how far I've got.



To do list:
Detail in the hair.
Make the glasses look like they've got glass in.
Little more arm detail.

I hope someone can be kind enough to give me a little encouragement and/or constructive criticism so that I feel I can get to work on it again today. :(

A few more questions (if anyone's still reading by now):

How do I clean my wooden palette? (I'm using water mixable oils.)

How the heck do I do lines fine enough for eyes, lip line and eyelashes? I used a tiny brush for this, but the paint is so thick that I couldn't get a point small enough...

Thanx all.

Helen (not at all sure if she's ever going to be a fan of oil paints)

09-06-2001, 08:06 AM
LOL This sounds like me the other day when I got out the acrylics I bought. Except my painting didn't get finished and it's going in the trash. But hey, You know what I did make less of a mess *S* HEE HEE But I was a lot more frustrated *S* I couldn't get paint to cover up my mistakes So I had a head floating in the ocean. But I'm sure with the sharks around here That too would be gone soon. LOL I wanted to throw everything in sight away. :D At least you have something to show for your work and not bad either *S*

09-06-2001, 08:12 AM
:D LOL! :D

Sorry about your 'headaches', too, Luvy! Will you ever try acrylics again? I love them! I like that they make me 'commit' quickly. Oils are so 'forgiving' that I seem to go round in circles somehow, never knowing when it's done. :(

But I won't give up! (Not just yet anyway! :D )


09-06-2001, 08:33 AM
I think this is a wonderful first oil painting.

Oil paints are different in that they stay active for some time. I think it wise to experiment with different textures or impastos, which can lead to further insight into the medium.

Lose control..I think the more you stick with the lessons acrylics have given you, the oil painting will look like an acrylic painting. Oil are a different beast, needing a different attention and application then it's acrylic counterpart.

The drawing is well rendered, and composition is strong. I would like to see some venetian red or some warmth in the flesh tone.

Work fast, do not 'care' as much. A more emotive product is sure to surface.

Gavin Spielman

09-06-2001, 09:59 AM
Thank you Gavin! I'm glad you think it's OK for my first attempt!

You have given some good advice, which I understand, but putting it into practise is hard. :( I've always been a stickler for detail, and it's very hard for me to move away from it.

Have taken a better pic with more true colour now:


You're right that it looked a little cold and washed out in the first.

Thanx again, Gavin!


09-06-2001, 10:15 AM
this is nice,I like the second one for more color,

09-06-2001, 10:25 AM
Thanx Rosanna! I'm glad you like the second one best as it's much closer to the real thing than the first pictures! :)
Thanx for looking!


09-06-2001, 10:25 AM
hey helen...nice first attempt with oils!

i agree with gavin that this looks a bit like an acrylic painting, the reason is that oils are about layering and building. so take your lovely methodical mind out of the details and spread it into layering your work...this is a good way to access your detail brain in oil paint.

i remember on your acrylic painting you were working on UNDERPAINTING...apply it here, it'll give you more depth.

also, you have to remember too, water soluable oils aren't oil paints...sure they have a gleam to them, they are oily, but oil paints are really about the mediums you use, too. this is how you change the effects of the oils.

your question about the thin lines and the paint too thick could easily be remedied with a medium...so because you use water soluable...thin the paint with some water...use a good brush that holds a reserve of paint in the body of the brush and and comes to a nice point than...steady goes it...

your doing a great job...keep going.

also remember you are painting NOT drawing! this makes a big difference to help you loosen up!!!

paint you oil painter!

09-06-2001, 10:42 AM
Originally posted by lori
so take your lovely methodical mind out of the details and spread it into layering your work...
paint you oil painter!


OK, Lori, I'll try next time! :)

There are mediums available for use with water mixable oils, too, but I didn't really know what they're all about so I haven't bought any yet! I will though!

Thanx for looking and making me giggle! :D


09-06-2001, 11:05 AM
this looks great to me helen for your first session (loved the play by play by the way). i myself have never painted with oils so i'm afraid i can't offer you much advice but what gavin said rings true. i have the same problem and if i don't constantly remind myself i get bogged down in one spot on my paintings. then again, it really depends on what you are trying to accomplish. whether you're going for the loose emotionally charged look or the restrained emotion of realism. if you're going for the more photo realist look i think i would talk to allanom for advice because he's got it down pat. at any rate, great job and keep it going.

09-06-2001, 11:08 AM
this really has a good feel to it, and great likeness too.
being your first I don't think you should massage it to death.
I would start another right away, while your juices are flowing, and return to this intermittently as the spirit guides.
more varied color will be fun.

marilyn h
09-06-2001, 11:58 AM
This is a very good likeness of you and I think that you did an exceptional job, especially with your first attempts. Oil has never been my favorite to paint with. TOO MESSY!

My suggestion is that your strokes on your face is circular. Maybe if you made them in the direction of the facial features that they would'nt be too obvious. My two cents, and maybe three.

09-06-2001, 12:42 PM
excellent advice so far ... I would only add that red and blue can be used smartly and still look realistic, especially if you are using layers. I mention this because the only thing that is wanting to me is contrast in the face- and knowing your story, I understand! :D

Whenever I paint realistically, i do my underpainting in blue or green, and it really livens the flesh tones, BION.

good luck! great work so far!