Double Double Oil and Trouble

” Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, “

This recipe seemed to work for Shakespeare since Macbeth is one of the most sought after parts for an actor to portray.

It might have been easier for me to extract the eye of a newt ( just reach up at night behind any picture on the wall and you’ll find one ), or the toe of a frog. We have those too. The wool of a bat? A little trickier but possible. Sorry, I draw the line at tongue of dog since mine sleep next to me in the bed and short of the 8 million buckaroos Leona Helmsley bequeathed hers, are family emeritus.

So any of those things might have been easier than getting reacquainted with oil paints after many many many years.

I’ve been using acrylics for the past several years but have been feeling the pull towards oils for the exact opposite characteristics they possess. I had taken a plein air workshop here a few months ago, was the only acrylic painter among the oil painters and felt this siren of mediums taunting me.

I’m now outfitted in paints, brushes, knives and mediums, learning to embrace the fragrance ( fumes ) of the turps again and the very smells are taking me back many decades to classes at Parsons School of Design where I took my first courses in art.

I’ve tried to keep it loose and gestural to get the feel of the softness of the paint and the different application that’s required. I wasn’t going for replication.

The switch from acrylic to oils is like this:

You’ve been a shepard your entire life and now, you’re going to herd cats……. Have mercy on me and offer up some gentle yet helpful advice/suggestions/quotes/something!!!!

I’m laying myself open here, I realize but hey, when you live here, this is the rule you get to live by and I’m sticking with it:

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30 Responses to “Double Double Oil and Trouble”

  1. justwilliams Says:

    Very nice results here. Consider yourself encouraged – and welcome back to the (far superior) ranks of oil painters!

  2. judylobo Says:

    “Just do it” is a fine expression. Keep it up.

  3. bonnieluria Says:

    Thanks justwilliams- do I take it that in addition to your wonderful bicycling blog, you are/were/would like to be, a painter too?

  4. w1kkp Says:

    Alright. Now, I’ve got go and buy oil paints? What else do I need? Cuz you know we’re on this road together. Except you can paint and I can’t. A small difference about the size of a newt or more likely FREAKIN’ SIBERIA! But, that painting of the seated older man? Makes me pause and wish I’d been able to have you paint my father. Sigh.

    Then, I think I’ll pass along this website that Mt. Brooks suggested on natcrack’s site. I’m a thinkin’ you really, really need to look at it, if you haven’t already. I thinking these images if painted, would be painted with oil paints. But, then what do I know about oil painting or any other kind for that matter. I’m off to the store to get a beginner’s kit. Really, really small, size of a frog’s toe.

  5. bonnieluria Says:

    Pat-so many good connections have been made with your blog as the conduit. One of your talents, is that you attract all of this ( rightfully so ) and make us all feel smarter, wittier, deeper, more creative, inspired, tweaked, by association.

    OK, I’m speaking for myself but who would argue!

    The days with my father website was so very touching. It reminded me of a hybrid progeny of your poignancy and natcracks photo perspective. ( Perfect example- see here- of the good stuff that gets drawn to you and your site.
    Thanks for passing it on to me.

    Watch out- you start with a beginners’ kit and then you realize it’s not enough. You know that same thing is true with technology.

  6. nathaliewithanh Says:

    Bonnie, the site Pat mentioned will ruin your day! Do not under any pretext check it out unless you are ready to weep.
    As for your paintings, I know nothing about the finer points of acrylic or oil, the herding of sheep or feral cats, and I really have no appreciation for Shakespeare (language barrier problem), I just know I love your pieces just because. Call it emotional response if you will.
    Your tee-shirt is awesome. I get the feeling coconut radio must be well and alive on St. Croix.

    Go HERD some more!!!!

  7. Nancy Moskovitz Says:

    Your paintings look great. You’ll be fine.

    Since this is a return for you, new products may be your challenge. Mediums in particular. Probably you have notes on this from the plein air workshop though. Another thought…turps. I don’t use the real stuff. Not all odorless solvents are equal. Gamsol is good. Archival Classic Medium or Gamblin neo megilp…comparable products. I’ll paint with medium and not use solvents till clean up time. Followed by Ivory soap and water.

    A Richard Schmid quote because his book is right in front of me….”The last question you must ask before signing a work should be this — does it look like what you want it to look like? If it doesn’t, you must ask yourself if you know what you want it to look like — before you go back to find out what went wrong.”

    Schmid recommends scraping off as opposed to painting over. That’s a big diff between acrylic and oil!

  8. bonnieluria Says:

    Nathalie-It was weeping material, to be sure. Good that I looked in the bright, sunny, very breezy time of the mid morning with enough of the day ahead of me to diminish the heart touching images on that site.

    You know plenty about finer points-firstly, we know you resort to using them to get big bruiser guys to pose for photos with plastic cats.
    Second- evidenced by your mantle photo ( Kramer…ok…) you are clearly a woman of good eye and keen observations.
    Thanks for encouraging me to Herd and not be seen.

  9. bonnieluria Says:

    Nancy- thanks so much for the suggestions above. I’m using Gamsol ( easier to breathe ). I’m going to try using only medium in the next one.
    Do you use the Gamsol to clean brushes to change color while you’re still painting or do you have a lot of brushes and just use a new one for each color?

    I mean, while you’re dispensing info, might as well learn from your experience.

    The quote’s a dead on one. I hadn’t signed these two pieces. I must have felt what he was describing. I’m putting pride and image aside and going for the experience of learning something new.

    Scraping as opposed to wiping off with turp?

  10. justwilliams Says:

    Gosh! Does it show? Yes, I do play with water-mixable oils now and then. Not very good but enjoy trying. Thanks for complimenting my blog.

  11. Carol Says:

    OMG! You’re already proficient with oils and have produced more paintings in a short time than I have done in months and months. You are a genius! A very talented genius.

  12. bonnieluria Says:

    Carol-To the Artist formerly known as King- you are too generous with your praise, but I shall accept it and beg for more.
    I’m tryin’, oh I’m tryin’.

  13. Nancy Moskovitz Says:

    Hi Bonnie

    I’m sure scraping or wiping off with turp is just fine. He just doesn’t want us to keep overlaying the error.
    When in the studio, I prefer a lot of brushes. Most of the time I wipe off the brush and clean and wipe a bit with the medium. If it’s a big change like from sky blue back into darks that cannot be contaminated with white, it’s best to switch brushes.

  14. razzbuffnik Says:

    I don’t paint, but I do prefer oils. When ever I buy paintings (I have five oils and three acrylics) I’m always concerned about the permanence of the colours.

    I just love the way how the colours in oils are so luminous and there is the practical plus that they are so easy to clean. I had wine spilt one one and it just wiped off without any trouble at all.

  15. bonnieluria Says:

    Nancy- thanks for that very helpful tip. It’s so true about overlaying the error that it’s hard to see past the same thing you keep repeating and wanting to stop.
    I’m ready to paint tomorrow- I just laid in a sketch on the canvas today. I’m going to use the new series of brushes I just ordered.

    Razzbuffnik- although I’ve been able to achieve that luminous characteristic you describe in acyrlics, the feel of oils is so rich. They both repel water or wine ( but why waste wine experimenting ).
    Watercolors are not at all forgiving.

  16. Bill Sharp Says:

    Oil paintings! Now you’re talking.
    These are not bad for just getting started again. Are you done with plastic paint now?

    I tend to paint with one of 2 brushes and keep an open container of OMS to clean as I go. I get enough paint on myself with 2 brushes, if I get a hand full of brushes it gets everywhere. Sometimes I just use a little clean OMS as a medium. Lately I’ve been using either walnut oil or walnut oil alkyd. The walnut oil takes a really long time to dry and the alkyd dries very fast, for oil. Sometimes I use the walnut oil to clean my brushes, but it’s a lot more expensive than OMS. I usually don’t clean them much other than dipping in OMS and wiping.

    I’m looking forward to more of these.

  17. bonnieluria Says:

    Thanks Bill- I’m in the serious learning curve mode but I must admit that I like the feel of the paint as it goes on.
    There’s so much to think about while painting and in turn, so many artists have their own method and preferences.
    I’ve been using OMS and now I find I like the 3.3.3 ratio of damaar varnish, turp and linseed.
    It’s like cooking and each dish and recipe lends itself to a different formula.

    The most obvious pitfall is the muddying of colors. I have to re-teach myself to paint one stroke at a time, and make sure the brush is clean in between.
    I’m just going to stay with it.
    I see work that uses minimal palettes and others that use many colors from the tubes. I’m playing with what I have and adding if I feel I’m losing something that I can’t seem to mix.

    Thanks for your encouragement. I hope to be as good as you someday:-)

  18. wrjones Says:

    They sure look good to me. I really like the woman on the beach. The man in the chair also has a nice feel, but the forearm seems a little too curved. I’m looking through my tiny phone screen so maybe it is perfect.

  19. bonnieluria Says:

    WR- of course it’s perfect.

    Your phone, that is.

    The arm is a little curvy, yes, but I can’t help it if he had some rare bone affliction that resulted in just one arm bending at a progressive 27 degree angle.
    I did what I could to not make him feel worse than he must have for having a receding hair line AND a bent arm!

  20. Noel Luria Says:

    Ummmm, excuse me, but if this “paintersblock” than I dont see what any of the fuss is about. The whole thing is just part of the circle. The colors are GREAT ( that comes from me, I know ) just keep opn going Mom, I am so proud….

  21. Nancy Moskovitz Says:

    Hi Bonnie

    I’m feeling compelled to jump back in here. Sharon Crute, who uses none of the mediums I mention above, reminded me about Liquin impasto medium. It dries quickly and encourages bold brush marks. Sounds like you! nancy

  22. bonnieluria Says:

    Thanks Nancy- I’ll have to see if our one paltry art supply store carries it, I tend to doubt it.
    I don’t know if something that may be flammable can be shipped- I usually order from Dick Blick or Utrecht.

    I appreciate the post script- feel free to jump in anytime.
    PS- loved your new color chart on your blog!

  23. wrjones Says:

    First of all, let me point out a receding or disappearing hairline is an attribute to be stupendeously proud of – I’m a glass half full sort.

    Those are cool pieces of pottery – do you have ANY idea if we can dig in your back yard?

  24. JoAnn Says:

    No, No, No, don’t give in! You love acrylics, you love acrylics. They’re the medium of the future. The colors don’t fade, they never crack and craze, and are basically non-toxic. Easy wash, etc.

    On the other hand, your work is beautiful, and each of us must find our own way. I love your work (and your blog) either way!

  25. bonnieluria Says:

    Gaads, JoAnn, if I thought I was conflicted before, I’m really in a quandry now.
    If I could paint like you, ( acrylics ), I would not have felt inclined to try something else.
    I may switch around ( like Nancy Moskovitz who is great at both ) but I’m still getting my sea legs with both mediums.
    The one thing about oils that’s making me like them, is the nostalgic reminder of the smells of the mediums that I recall from my days at Parsons School of Design, when everything was new and exciting and felt possible.
    I miss the classroom learning forum.
    Living in this lovely but restricted place has removed me from that person to person exchange.
    That’s why these blogs are so beneficial for me.

    I look at yours every day ( I’m subscribed..) and I so admire the way you treat the light and colors on your landscapes.
    I’ve yet to paint one.
    I think I have to try.

  26. Paz Says:

    LOL! Love the tee shirt. And the paintings.


  27. david lobenberg Says:

    Listen to JoAnn! Listen to your better self! Ye of little faith who doth strayeth into the garden of oil and fumes and off the righteous path of acrylic! Break forth from the bourgeois chains of oil and venture forth into the the people’s medium…Acrylic! (Golden Open).
    Not that I’m trying to get you schizoid or nothin!

  28. bonnieluria Says:

    David- just cause I’d be getting schizoid, doesn’t mean I wouldn’t change!
    I just received the book you recommended- Capturing Light in Acrylics.
    Great- now I’m really conflicted.

    I’m going to shut up and keep painting. ( or trying )

    Peoples’ medium- you are very funny…….

  29. Marian Fortunati Says:

    WOW….. I love your loose lovely style and the way you make the light play on the figures…… Doesn’t matter… your work is all gorgeous… Keep on doing it!

  30. bonnieluria Says:

    Marian, thanks more than I can say.
    As much as I find oils to be the same kind of difficult but opposite, as acrylics are, I seem possessed with trying to figure them out.

    I’m trying thin layers, washes, piling it on with knives, squinting and going for lights/darks/values and foregoing detail, in the beginning at least.

    Seeing your work is inspirational to me. I appreciated your big WOW!

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