Things I Learned as an Oil Painter: Thing #2

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maccski's avatar
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This is fun and I'm only on thing #2.  So here it is...

There's no such thing as too much paint, but don't be scared to scrape it off!

I paint alla prima (i.e. direct wet-on-wet painting with no layers) and the "not enough paint on the palette" trap is the one I keep getting sucked into. I have to constantly remind myself not be such a cheapskate and squeeze out some more paint. There's a painting of mine hanging in my dining room that would be just awesome if I'd used enough paint. It took a local pro artist that I admire to point this out to me. From then on I started getting freer with the paint and I saw a DRAMATIC improvement in my work. I found that my style had been directed by the amount I'd been using. In effect, I wasn't the boss of the process - the quantity of paint was.

Having said there's no such thing as too much, I have been known to go a little overboard. One of the reasons I enjoy being a oil painter is the freedom to scrape it off and start again.

Here's a link to thing #1 maccski.deviantart.com/journal…

Why am I posting this stuff? maccski.deviantart.com/art/Thi…

Take a look at my Facebook page...if you like it, please "Like" it! www.facebook.com/MontrealArtis…

Watch this space for thing #3....
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glunac's avatar
I too hate squeezing too much paint. Sometimes it dries on the palette & I peel it off (acrylic paint peel off easily when dry) & bag it, someday I hope to find a use for these dried paint peels.

I too like to painting alla prima, as the wet paints dry they cause different color variations & interesting accidentals to appear.
KanatSanat's avatar
Actually that's two things ;)

Still, so many times I've not mixed enough. Life is much better if you risk mixing too much.
maccski's avatar
You're right...consider it a bonus "thing"!
Ristia's avatar
I'm so stingy with my paint. Some of the tubes I've had since I picked it up a few years back (I really don't paint super often). But the more I think about it, the more I would rather have an amazing piece full of growth, that used several paint containers, than have many 'meh' pieces and still have all my paint.
maccski's avatar
What a great way of looking at it! Nobody created a masterpiece by leaving the paint in the tube.
Ristia's avatar
Excuse me while I smear that saying all over my work space.
maccski's avatar
Nice! I must admit I was rather proud of that myself....
citypainter's avatar
This is a great tip, I am a total scrooge when it comes to my paint and it's adversely affected my style as well. I use acrylics which makes it worse because if you squirt out too much of a colour it dries quickly on the palette and goes to waste, so I end up trying to estimate everything down to the drop. I wish I had the room for a proper studio setup to try oils.

This is a great series, keep it up! I'm interested to see how many tips it takes before you run out ;)
maccski's avatar
I started out as an acrylic painter and I think this is one of the reasons I jumped the fence. As for having a proper studio...I paint out of my furnace room!

Thanks for your comments - I have enough "things" to keep me posting into the late spring, maybe summer...lets see how many I pick up in the meantime!
citypainter's avatar
Yup, makes sense. My condo is sub-400 sq ft and both my wife and I work from here full time, so to paint I have to put away my latop and use my desk. At the end of the session need to pack it all away again... having wet oils drying for days would be problematic (and messy!)
maccski's avatar
OK...now I get your point! We're pretty lucky here in Quebec that Montreal is still relatively affordable. I sometimes watch those Toronto house hunting shows and I think you guys have completely different meanings for "roomy", "cheap" and "close to work". What I do envy is the T.O. art scene. One day I'll head over that way...
citypainter's avatar
Haha yup funny I was eyeing Montreal condo prices last year and thought about moving there... for a few seconds. We live right in the downtown of Toronto so it's ridiculously expensive, but we don't mind trading off square footage for convenience of being able to walk everywhere, although obviously there are times (like this) where sacrifices must be made. And yes there are a great number of galleries, we don't get out to as many as we should, though.
maccski's avatar
I would say the trade off sounds fair - especially when you have so much subject matter for your art on your doorstep. My wife and I moved out to the 'burbs a few years ago. I miss town sometimes in the summer, but never in the winter!
abhishek-mitra's avatar
thanks for sharing this .. I think I make this same mistake too .. can you have a look at a few of my paintings [link] and tell me if you think so too? that'll be very kind of you .. and thanks again for sharing your knowledge :)
maccski's avatar
Thanks for asking for my advice! I'm no expert art critic, but I'll have a go... Firstly your paintings are very nice. I like the fact that you depict daily life and it's easy to tell that these scenes mean a lot to you. Your use of colour is also good and bold. If I could give any advice it would be to add depth to your work by using paler colours for more distant objects. Adding a touch of blue and toning down the amount of detail helps to push things back as well. As far as the amount of paint you use...it's tough to tell without seeing the actual painting. Try more and see if that helps!
abhishek-mitra's avatar
Thank you for taking out time to look into my works :aww: I'll definitely work on your suggestions :)
maccski's avatar
You're welcome
21stCenturyDamocles's avatar
wow this is so timely that last painting Tahoe i did was all about getting funky with the layers going for it and letting my inner finger painter out. thanks for the tip i used about 5 tubes of paint on it an all time record for me you are fabulously right on that flat is boring your paintings are of course outstanding in that respect it shows even on my monster>
maccski's avatar
Getting funky paid off!
21stCenturyDamocles's avatar
thanks bad photo all get a better one latter. i like your funky aproch LOL
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