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Friday, January 01, 2016

Day One of a January Challenge....Oil Painting!

'Prairie Magic'        5x7  oil on panel        ©Karen Margulis
available here    $75
I could read about it. I could watch videos. I could buy all the supplies and stare at them. But I won't ever become fluent if I don't jump in and do it. I am talking about becoming fluent with oil painting. Like learning a language, the best way to learn is to jump in and communicate in the language. I have been wanting to get better at oils but just have not spent time really working at it. 

I want to feel as comfortable painting with oils as I do pastels. I'll discuss why in another post but to become fluent I know I need to practice. I decided that joining Leslie Saeta's 30 in 30 challenge will give me the push I need to paint in oils every day. Daily painting worked for me with pastels so I know I can do it if I am committed to making it a habit. There are almost 1000 artists around the world joining the challenge. See the challenge paintings here.

I have set up my studio for success. I want to make it easy to do a quick daily painting. Let's take a tour:

This is my oil painting corner.  I have invested in a new set up for oils. I purchased a Strada Micro easel. It is a very compact box that works nicely with my Oben tripod. My intention is to do more plein air and be able to paint with either pastel or oils. I am going to the Plein Air Convention in April with Marsha Savage and plan to bring my new Strada. It is an investment for sure but I have learned the hard way with pastels....spend the money for the best you can afford rather than trying to make due and struggle with lesser equipment. (all the cheap equipment will eventually add up anyway!)

A closer look at the Strada. I purchased  the two side trays that come off and store inside the box for travel. I love how easy it is to attach a panel.  No knobs or screws to turn and tighten and lose!

I set up a little side table to hold my brushes, paper towels and water. I am using Cobra water soluble oils for this project. I have regular oils but I want to make clean up quick and easy. I really don't know the difference between the two since I have used either so little. It is all a learning experience!

I am planning to begin with a limited palette of Ultramarine Blue, Red,  Cad Yellow Medium, white and black. I have other colors available but I am learning how to mix paint so I want to keep it limited so I can learn slowly. Today's painting was done with this palette.

I began the painting by toning my panel with transparent oxide red. I did a quick drawing with pencil and started with a thin wash of dark purple. Throughout the painting I kept asking myself...."What would I do if I were painting with pastels?"  It helped me decide how to build the painting.

After I finished the oil painting I decided to add another element to the challenge.....I will do a small 5x7 pastel of each daily painting.  This way I can compare and learn from each medium.
 I really liked my oil set up. It truly was easy to get going and clean up. I am going to enjoy this challenge!

Oil on the left and 5x7 pastel version on the right both available $75 each


Amy Bryce said...

Saw your oil on instagram and then saw it pop up on pinterest--all w/in, say an h, which I think is sort of a heady electronic rush. Good luck w/ the challenge--day 1 is beautiful. Amy

Meredith Adler said...

I'm excited that you are joining the challenge, Karen, and looking forward to seeing what you create. Enjoy...!

Catherine M said...

Good challenge! I started down the same pastels-to-oils road a couple of years ago, for a couple of reasons. I now find myself more inclined to head for the oils, despite the added cleanup time, solvent dilemmas, etc. I can't commit to a timed challenge due to my work schedule right now, but the determination and will are still there and I find myself in the studio every day, learning, learning, learning. Good luck!

Sue Grilli said...

Karen- good luck on the challenge- I am participating as well. Thanks for the info on the new Stada palette you purchased. I am going to look into that. I am taking an oil painting workshop in Feb and need a good travel palette. Looking forward to see what you are creating in oils!

robertsloan2art said...

Oh that's interesting! Thanks for posting the combination, oil and pastel of the same subject. Looks like you're taking to oils naturally! I don't think there's much difference in the water soluble ones from traditional ones, but the solvent's a lot easier to live with.

Marcela Strasdas said...

So I am curious to know which one did you prefer? Both doing it as well as the final result? They are both lovely!

Karen said...

I liked doing both. The pastel felt more natural and effortless but I enjoyed the texture of the paint. I like how both turned out. I am always trying to get more texture with pastels so I do enjoy the thickness of paint!

Lisa Cohen said...

Good luck with the painting & pastel challenge. I absolutely adore your oil painting! I love the colors you've achieved. I'd say you're already very good with color mixing! ;D I haven't painted with oils but just purchased some and plan to jump in at the end of the month... so I'll be doing my 30 in 30 with acrylics. I guess I'll have to do another daily painting project to get comfortable with the oils. :D - Lisa,

Unknown said...

Hello Karen,
Thanks so much for your review. I've been trying to decide between the strada mini and the micro, and after reading your review and other reviews, I believe I am going to purchase the micro. Love your artwork, the pastels and the oils. I paint in oils and if you ever have a workshop with oils in the Atlanta area, please let us know. Thanks again, Dan Wetzel