View Full Version : Second oil attempt

09-20-2001, 04:36 PM
Second try at getting to grips with oils. Finding it hard, but am determined to keep at it! Not quite finished, shirts need buttons for a start.

Any suggestions for improvement most welcome!

(You can see step by step pictures of this here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=19049) , if you're interested.)





09-20-2001, 04:49 PM
it seems well done,
and it brings up a smile.
I couldn't say a thing unless
some part of it is bothering you?
I had a peak at the photo you started with.
one follows the other.

09-20-2001, 04:59 PM
Thanx Jerry. :) Is the background OK? I feel I should be doing something 'artier' with it....


09-20-2001, 07:03 PM
Hey Im impressed for your second oil painting. It wont take long to come to love oils. If you want the paint to dry faster use varsol or paint thinner it will dry overnight allowing you to work fresh next day.

09-20-2001, 08:41 PM
Hey Helen:

Great for a second effort! Couple of points: the shape of the boy's face: the round cheeks and the triangular jaw seem a bit unnatural. Can that be softened a little? As for the background, I'd paint it in the simple manner you have, but I might consider changing to a cooler -- maybe complimentary colour (bluey, greeny, cool grey, etc.) I find the whole work a little overly warm and monochromatic -- unless that's what you intended to achieve?

09-21-2001, 05:59 AM
Fmoore, thank you so much for the encouragement, and the tip! Yes, I think I might come to love oils some day.. but for now, I'm still swearing at them too much... ;)

Allan, hiya! My little lad has a very unusually shaped face, which gives me hell every time I try to draw or paint him. :) But I think you're right that I may have accentuated it too much, (probably because it's one of the facial features that make him so unique, and I didn't even realise I was doing it.) I can see now where it could be softened - thanx for the pointer! It's touch dry there now, so I hope I can mix the right colours again...

The background is light blue going down into lighter blue - last night's picture was taken under a peach lampshade. Today, in daylight, I've taken one with colours more true to the original. (You might need to refresh the page to see the new version.) What do you think now?

Thanx a lot!!!


09-21-2001, 06:18 AM
if this is a commission, and you have got here by respecting teh things that you believe matter, I would not change it, but if this is something you want to take further, I would live with it a while and then simplify. find the gestures that you feel are most salient and enhance those, simplifying others. a lot is going on in this painting which is OK for a commission I think. the background would pick up from that process on it's own. It does not need special separate attention.

09-21-2001, 06:33 AM
Hi Jerry. Good advice! This is just for me, just a painting of two people I love.

I'm just trying to get the feel for oils right now, and seeing what I can do with them. Trouble is, having held a pencil since the age of 12 and having only just recently taken up painting, I still feel like I'm drawing instead of painting. :rolleyes:

I don't want a particularly 'loose' style, but I do want them to look a little more like paintings than coloured drawings.

Lately, I start out with painterly intentions to let the brush strokes show a bit, and be brave and bold with colour, but before I can catch myself, I'm smoothing everything out and 'drawing' again! :rolleyes:

Maybe I shouldn't be fighting it, maybe this is the way I'm meant to paint... It's at times like this when I wish I'd had some teaching or guidance. Maybe there's only so much you can teach yourself...

And what you said about backgrounds developing with the painting, I just can't get that going, either. I get wrapped up in the figures, and it's only when they're almost done that I think, "Now what do I put behind them?!"

Thanx, Jerry. You are a credit to Wet Canvas, so helpful and caring. Bless you.


09-21-2001, 08:02 AM
though the figures are smiling,

looking at this makes me melancholic.

do not know why, though

09-21-2001, 08:07 AM
That's interesting, Gollator...
I painted Jim (the man) with some sadness as we lost him a year ago and I miss him very much - I wonder if that came thru somehow?
If it's something else, and you manage to grasp what it is, please come back and let me know!

Thanx for looking,

09-21-2001, 08:17 AM
maybe it is exactly this.

this has the mood of an old photography

of those lost in time

standing on a dusted shelf.

09-21-2001, 08:25 AM
I realize I am not very tactful.
I do not mean to discredit your picture or destroy positive feelings.

Just writing my own thoughts,
maybe to fast,
maybe without too much thinking.

But I still think you captured your own emotions and put it - hidden - into the canvas.

09-21-2001, 08:31 AM
No, you weren't tactless at all.

As I worked, I came to realise that he was no longer here, no longer holding my son this way, not there to see him grow into a man, not there to be proud of us both anymore... Perhaps, therefore, I did exactly as you said, put the past on the shelf a little, came one step closer to accepting that this moment is past, and can never be repeated. :crying: Even though it's been a year, I've never really come this close to fully realising he's gone before.

How that showed, to you, in the painting though, I can not imagine. I think you must be psychic. :)



09-21-2001, 08:39 AM
working in a refugee camp for over a year gives you a knack on human empathy, I guess.

hope this image helped you.


09-21-2001, 10:26 AM
I was wondering what would happen if the neck tie gesture and the background shape (negative space) had the same kind of color, might the painting not come forward more as a whole then?
you could try a few combinations and wreck nothing.

09-21-2001, 01:35 PM
There's a lot of emotion and humanity in what you do.
Remember a photograph is flat, 2 dimensional. Try and think of it more as information than something to be trusted. Decide on a source of light and make the shadows shadows- I'm thinking of the folds in their shirts.
One of the advantages of starting in acrylic is that you can experiment over and over quite rapidly- it helps you decide on the values and colours that you will later mount up in oil.
For example you can play with a dozen different backgounds, keeping the line of the sofa or not etc..
But I see you're already getting a lot of good and deserved advice.
Let it dry and keep going:)

09-21-2001, 05:39 PM
Daniel - it did help. Thanx. :)

Jerry - funny you should say that, because it was when I put the necktie in that I thought that maybe the background should be darker... Something else to think about when I've left it for a while!

Anthony wow, thanx! Yes, some of the shadows in the shirts should be darker, but to be honest, I didn't know what colour to make them in their darkest form. :( (Still having trouble both seeing and mixing some colours.)
A technical question - if I develop the next painting further in acrylics, will the oil still sit safely on top of it? I only did a sketch under this one, because I was a bit afraid that if I completely covered the canvas board surface in acrylic, the oils wouldn't adhere well enough on top...
Thank you for your great advice and encouragement! :)


09-21-2001, 05:44 PM
very nicely painted
great expressions
your own emotions show here

i quite like it
very impressive second
when do we see the third

09-21-2001, 05:57 PM
Impulse - thank you! :)
I'm really chuffed (pleased) to hear people saying they see emotion in this, because I often feel like I just 'copy' when I work from photographs. I'm pleased to know that some of the feelings I feel while painting somehow come thru to the viewer! :)


09-22-2001, 01:15 PM
Helen, never mix oil and acrylics and never put acrylic over oil.
If you use acrylic as an undercoat you are doing very much what the flemish primitives used to do: Tempera first and oil after.
Try it. Your acrylic colours can be quite basic- the primaries, burnt sienna, burnt umber, english red, chrome oxide green.

09-23-2001, 09:19 AM
Great, Anthony, thanx! :)


Nathan Reed
09-23-2001, 10:34 AM
Looks wonderful. I think your talent will work with any medium.:)

09-23-2001, 12:02 PM
What a lovely thing to say - thanx, Nathan!