Part 5: Lockdown hobbies – painting with oil paints on small canvas’

Hi friends,

I had to joy of painting this weekend. This is my second attempt with oil paints. I found some close ups from Vincent Van Gogh’s painting and attempted to recreate the images to learn the techniques that he used in his vibrant art works.

Best part of this painting:

  • I love how the paintings turned out – they have a lot of character.
  • My favourite painting is the one of the flowers – I enjoy the value range and the placement of the white flowers.

My process:

  1. Look at images on Pinterest and choose a few to recreate – as a study!
  2. Think about how much paint you need for the painting.
  3. Prepare your palette, I stuck an A4 piece of paper onto my wooden board.
  4. Squeeze out the paint on to the palette based on how much of that colour appears in the painting.
  5. Get your paint brushes ready, look at the strokes on the painting and pick paint brushes you think might do the job. (It’s a good idea to do test swatches to get an idea of the brush strokes at an earlier stage so you’re not fussing about at this point)
  6. Stick tiny canvas’ on cardboard or an old magazine to keep it stable as you paint.
  7. Have tissues next to you.
  8. Set up the work space, with the palette on the right and canvas in front of you.
  9. Paint!

Things I learnt:

  • I would use waterproof surface as a palette. I thought printer paper might work…. WRONG! it just absorbed the oil and made it difficult to mix the paint.
  • The canvas’ were small 7cm x 10xcm so in order to create those lovely brush strokes I could have used a thinner brush.
  • It was hard to apply paint to create those stiff lines by using paint brushes with softer paint bristles. The one you might use for acrylic paint blends the paint and makes the strokes flat, you can see this on the yellow trees.
  • Stiff paint brush with oil paint is better for impressionist Van Gogh type paintings.
  • Working from dark to light works well.

Some tips:

  • Prior preparation: I found photos of art that I loved and made me happy. I pinned these on my Pinterest board.
  • I have a rolling to do list on my Iphone note and wrote this “Tiny Canvas oil paintings” down as one of the fun projects I could do in my spare time in the month of August. This got me excited and geared me up each day to paint.
  • When inspiration stikes me and I have a spare few hours, I take out my paints and act quickly.
  • Painting for about an hour to an hour and a half on small canvas’ is a good amount of time before you’ll become fatigued.
  • The more you paint and mix colours the better you will get at visually identifying the warmth and coolness of a colour and adjust accordingly.
  • Find inspiration before you sit down to paint, the creating process is much quicker. Save pictures and photos through out the week in preparation for the moment you sit down to create.
  • Post editing tricks: 1. Use channel mixer to get the WB levels right, meaning getting the whites as white as possible. You will need to adjust the reds, greens and blues to make the image cooler or warmer. 2. Use Curve layer to adjust the value range which will determine the level of contrast of the photo.

What I used and other resources:

Hoping that you are all safe and well, esp, those in Sydney.

Let me know how you go, you can contact me via my instagram @365daysofscribbles.

Teresa xx

Part 3: Lockdown hobbies – painting with oil paints

Hello again,

…..the lockdown continues in Sydney, NSW. I attempt oil painting on a small canvas. My favourite part of this painting is the texture and strokes.

Scanned on an Epson Scanner

This is my first attempt at using oil in this impressionist way. This was really fun and intuitive, I found the medium much more forgiving then watercolours because you can layer over and over again to achieve the colour you are looking for so mistakes are rectifiable. I only used a bit of paint of each colour, mostly white, red and yellow to achieve these peachy colours.

My process:

  • prep surface by painting one layer of gesso on canvas (10 x 7 cm),
  • once dry, tape the corners of the tiny canvas to a piece of board to stabilise it,
  • set up on an easel,
  • work off a photo on my phone,
  • use two paint brushes, one for warm colours and one for cool colours,
  • work from light to dark colours,
  • block out shapes large to small.

Some things I learnt about using oil paints as a beginner:

  • Adding white gesso helps the paint dry faster and gives your painting texture,
  • Have a rough idea of how much paint you need before you squeeze paint onto your canvas – you don’t need the same amount of each colour,
  • After a while all the colours start looking the same so be intentional with the values you are trying to achieve before you start painting,
  • As tempting as it is …. don’t touch the painting for 24 hours at least.

Hang in there, when this is all over we can embrace the freedom together!

Hoping you are safe and sound!

Teresa xx