Monday, September 12, 2011

Are Oils my new friend?

I certainly like them, the colors are rich, they cover and blend well, but....ever since I took a plein air class with John Budicin and experimented with Acrylic, Watercolor and Oil, all in one week, I've been confused.

I didn't think I would like working in oil and at first I didn't.  I was afraid of the odor,  I didn't think I would have control.  After all, I can whip out a watercolor sketch of my subject matter in just 1/2 hour for reference.  Why would I want to labor over little dabs of color, constantly mixing to get the right value and color?   The limited palette was simpler, but I use a limited palette already.  I'm thinking perhaps the ability to get distant perspective by mixing a lighter pigmented value is attractive; better than guessing your watercolor wash would be correct.

Evaluating the acrylics in comparison:  the colors seem too harsh, even hard or brittle, not soft and romantic like the oil.  A couple of the acrylic paintings are okay, but TMI, too much information, like "Folk Art".  God forbid it should look like Folk Art!  I want it to look like a painting!  It was the small brush.  The minute you start detailing a landscape with a small brush (distant perspective), you should run out of the room screaming.  "I didn't squint"!  Aargh!  Get rid of the small brushes, except for signing the painting!

Here are a couple of paintings I am still evaluating and would really like some critique.  Help me out please!
Holmes Harbor East, tide returning Oil

Langley Harbor Acrylic

Sandy Point Acrylic 

Useless Bay oil


  1. I love your Useless Bay image. Holmes Harbor too. I agree with your thoughts on acrylic's color characteristics. Oil is such a sensuous medium to work with. And it's transparency refracts light so beautifully, paintings glow. Colors seem more natural. It's always been my personal preference to work with. It sounds like it's yours too.

  2. Here are a few comments I have received by personal e-mail.

    I really like the acrylics....and would like to see the oils up close and personal....I don't think email usually does them justice.  Your idea of bigger brushes certain deserves merit...any oil class I have taken the instructor has large brushes on the supply little ones.
    Carol Bement

    The reason I like acrylics is the fact that you can get ALL the affects of any medium by using acrylics.  The best compliment, I feel, is when someone asks me how I managed to get a certain effect and they name the wrong medium.  It is not weather you do to much detail because it is acrylic, it would be to much detail because of the artists limited knowledge of their medium. I always felt that watercolor was a great sketching tool but it never felt finished to me.  Oil takes way to long to dry and by using acrylic medium I can get that "butter feel" and longer drying time (when wanted) with acrylic. Yes, I am sold on acrylics and they keep putting out new styles all the time.
    You did put in softer details with your oils, and sharper details with your acrylics....but that was you and not the medium.
    In the first painting you left off my house.  It is the top dark spot at the right.  If you want a different angle of the beach come on over. I love to watch you and your carrier grow. Missing you...........Alice B.

    I love your oils, Pat!   Welcome to the crowd!  Did you take Budicin's class from Cary?  Anyhow, you have a beautiful style which definitely comes through on the oils.   C.


I'm baack!

My brain has been on idle for the past six months.  I'm still out there creating art, but the business of posting got lost in the shuff...