Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Oil Painting Class

Groceries are for the body, art is for the soul. I taught a class today in oil painting to a couple who are in their 70's. It is their first attempt at oil painting, so we chose a small 5x7 canvas. My focus for the lesson was self expression while learning to handle the medium. Our photo, generously supplied by my friend, Jan, as the basis for the painting was used as an inspiration only. We tried to focus on what it was about the photo that inspired us to paint it. The old barn was from another era when people made a living off the land. It supplied their food and their money for extra things they couldn't grow on the land. As these buildings slowly decay, so does the way of life they represent. It is a way of life that was good for the people who lived it, but it was a way of life that most of us would not volunteer for. (Our vision of the past, it seems to me, is usually through rose colored glasses. ) The trees that crowd this barn are like the weeds that take over the neglected garden. Without constant vigilance and hard work, the trees and weeds and time will erase all our hard work. Some day, the trees and weeds and time will erase this barn and so many others, our painting will be all that is left. Our first draft or underpaintng, will be done in burnt sienna only as we draw with our brush. The drawing is easy to change at this point, as solvent easily makes the changes of an eraser. Next week we will apply the color. In the mean time, we will have time to look at our work and see if it says what we are trying to express. I love it that each one of us in the class is painitng from the same inspiration and each painting is different....ah art!


  1. The beauty of oils for the long suffering perfectionist is that you CAN keep changing the work to make it better but I take your point that the barns I paint shouldn't look perfect, just perfectly as they are at this time. There is such beauty in their decay as there is in humans. Maybe because I'm getting closer to it all the time, I'm finding greater beauty and interest in "old" things than in new and young. Young is so predictable. But even barns that were identical when new age so differently. They only become unique as they reach old age, and so, it seems, do we!

  2. Very nice first blog Anne. Can't wait for you to post some pics of the artwork, even if in the beginning stages. Maybe you could get a picture of the 70-something couple while they are painting . It's so wonderful to think of them just starting out to learn something new at that age!

  3. I assume the inspiration painting is yours but is the sepia yours or theirs?