Last Friday was the second time I offered a 1-day workshop called “Essential Oil Techniques“. Hosted by Art Media and Gamblin Oil Colors, at the Oregon Society of Artists, this workshop will be offered on a quarterly basis. (You may register for it by contacting Art Media directly.) This time I had eleven participants to work with and we spent the day going over many of the basic things every oil painter should know. I am always a bit surprised at how much of this stuff is not covered in a college class, or gets forgotten over the years. I should know. I once spent ten years teaching in an accredited BFA program.
We began the workshop with folks introducing themselves, before I dove into a lecture on color – meaning, what color is, and how it can be use to push things forward or backward in a painting, or generate the form and atmosphere of a subject. More importantly, we devoted time to learning about Hue, Value, and Chroma, (a.k.a., the Color Solid) and how a confident knowledge of H/V/C assists painter with identifying, analyzing, and rapidly mixing any color needed with ease. Once everyone in the class had developed a firm grasp on what H/V/C was, we moved on to other basic oil painting information, such how to mix the paint, what mediums do to tube colors, and how to construct a painting in a logical manner. Basic house-keeping for oil painters in general.
Then, of course, I threw down a quick demo, using one of the still-life stations set up before class. In my mind, a good demo presents what was introduced in a lecture, and the instructor should be able to ‘splain everything as he or she is pushes the paint around, and take questions from the audience. An excellent demo should demystify the process and make things comprehensible – and apparently that is what I do well. Since I went a little long with my lecture I made a decision to cut my demo to less than sixty minutes. I didn’t want to short the painting time I promised to the class. That explains the unfinished looking blue bottle and some overly harsh edge-work. (Usually, I attend to such issues as the image develops. With this, I worked in short-hand; polishing a sample edge here, fine-tuning a patch of color there, presenting how a twist and pull of a brushstroke affects the gesture left by the mark, and so forth . . . I was jumping around a bit. In any case, while not a complete thought, the demo successfully conveyed the substance of my lecture, and I could feel the class chomping at the bit to begin painting themselves. So I knocked off and turned them loose.)
Here is the same demo with some annotations:
At the end of the day I was please to see what everyone accomplished in less than three hours. (We actually ran the workshop one hour over by vote of the class. They wanted to keep painting!) Their first oil bodes well for the future. Most had never touched the medium before. I had a number of watercolorists – and one acrylic painter – but nobody showed up in the workshop feeling confident with oil. However, everyone felt pretty good about oil painting afterwards and I think I will see many of them again in other workshops. All the work was strong. All of it has a brave, painterly surface. These are paintings, not colored drawings.
Here are the paintings for your viewing pleasure, posted with permission of course. My apologies for the quick snaps, as that is all I had time for: