I tried oil paint for the first time ever!
The scary bit was: I tried oils for the first time on an acrylic painting I'd already invested over 50 hours on 😱🙃
I’ve been telling myself for years that I need to try oil paints, and I finally relented for the final layers of my painting “Sundown In The 6ix”. And I have to say, I’m totally hooked.
Though it didn’t start out that way. It started in fear.
And in thoroughly freaking out my boyfriend. He walked into my studio and saw me preparing to apply (again, for the first time ever) layers of water-mixable oil paints onto an acrylic painting he’d watched me work on for days and days.
“Whoa!! Hannah, what are you doing? Should you really be testing this out on a nearly complete painting?”
I grinned, feeling a little insane as I tamped down the anxiety, “Yeah it’ll be fine!”
Sheldon watched on in trepidation and I laughed like a maniac.
I don’t mean to portray my boyfriend as a negative Nelly, or as if he doesn’t have faith in my abilities. He’s incredibly supportive, my biggest supporter not just due to his admiration of my work, but also due to our proximity. Living together means that he’s the first to witness my lowest moments and my highest highs, often times being the one to pick me up when I’m doubtful, or dance with me in the kitchen when I’m overjoyed.
But he had a point, maybe I should be testing out oil paints on a crappy canvas board or scrap piece of paper.
However, my methods are often to just throw caution to the wind and see what sticks, so I applied my first brush strokes.
And literally squealed in glee.
Acrylic paints have been my jam for most of my time as an artist. I find that they’re generally easier to contend with, you definitely use different techniques, and they pose a challenge when it comes to blending, but as for intimidation factor when it comes to application, mediums, ventilation or cleanup, acrylic paint has been the easiest for me to accommodate, until...
I found water-mixable oils.
I’m still playing around with materials, as I don’t love the odour of linseed oil, despite finding a water-mixable version.
So, for any fellow artists that may be reading this, please feel free to send along any helpful tips you have! I'm currently using Winsor & Newton's water mixable oils, Liquin Impasto, and water-mixable linseed oil. I'm super open to suggestions, just trying to stay as non-toxic as possible.
Learning this new medium has been a delight.
I swear, the wonder I felt when I was able to apply curves of paint, move on to a different section, and then RETURN way later to those first strokes and STILL BE ABLE TO BLEND THEM... I was astounded.
It made me realize just how much time I was spending on returning again and again to blend out a section of acrylic paint. It felt almost stressful, like a race against time, despite nearly drowning my acrylics in a slow-drying medium. I was constantly fighting to keep a wet edge to my paints, and it took a lot of the peace and joy out of painting.
So despite being able to take my time with oils, I’m actually able to paint a bit faster because I’m saved from constantly re-applying strokes of paint to blend wet on wet with acrylics. Oils stay workable on a canvas for hours, days even if I’m not adding in any fast-drying mediums.
I admit too, it’s so neat to learn a new skillset.
I’ve been really comfortable with acrylics for years, always pondering oils, but never taking the leap. I can’t say that I regret not starting on oils sooner, because I love what I’ve been able to create with acrylics. But I will say that I’m really excited to see what comes of my work moving forward.
If you' like to see the TikTok time lapse video of this painting, click here!
For this project, I referenced a gorgeous photograph by Berkay Gümüştekin!