My Oil Painting Journey: The Beginning

Covid was quite disruptive for our everyday lives. A lot changed at that point. We had to cope, to overcome, to adapt.

I won’t delve into all the emotions and challenges I had to deal with, except one: the extra free time I had to fill in. I did not have to go to the office and as it turned out commuting took up a significant part of my life. Working from home, I suddenly got all that time back. I did not want to spend all that time wallowing in misery about all the plans that were ruined by covid. So, I needed to find something to occupy myself with.

Let me step back a bit. Actually, let me step back a lot. When I was a kid one of the dreams I had was to paint. I don’t know how it happened, but I convinced myself that I don’t have an aptitude for painting. I did not even try. Instead, I turned to photography as my outlet for visual creativity. It was quite limited at that. I was always frustrated that image would not come out the way I saw the scene. The photograph was more exciting and captivating in my memory than in camera’s memory. Yet, I persevered and, hopefully, produced some interesting images, while dreaming about painting all that time.

Now let’s step forward again to the time when covid started. I had a lot of extra free time and a lot of uncertainty about the future. The uncertainty was causing a lot of anxiety and I wanted to anchor myself in some activity I would be passionate about.

That’s when I remembered about my childhood dream. I contacted an art teacher (and amazing artist) and started taking oil painting lessons. I had to buy a lot of supplies (funny enough at the beginning I told the teacher that at least painting was not as expensive as photography, and now I can say I was wrong).

I was deeply committed to learning the craft. I painted every day. I would do still-lives at home: I would pick some fruit I had in the kitchen or put some random stuff on the table and start painting it. Weather permitting, I would take out my easel somewhere close to home (since all parks were closed) and try to paint landscapes.

Learning was not easy. There was a lot of frustration at inability to layout on canvas what I had in my mind. In the worst fits of it I broke canvases and brushes. There was a lot of despair at the lack of progress with me sitting and crying. But I persevered through being tired, confused, exhausted.

At this point I am more comfortable with color; I can play and experiment with it without making my paintings look garish; a couple of my paintings are in a gallery. But as with anything else, the more I learn the more I know how little I know.

Looking back at the three years that passed I can see interesting patterns in my learning, and I’d like to share some tricks or key concepts I learned. (I won’t pretend that I have any authority or qualifications to teach, I simply have a few things to say.)

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