Apple, Lemon, and Lime

Right after the Fun­da­men­tals of  Sci­en­tific Illus­tra­tion I class ended, my begin­ner oil paint­ing class began. We weren’t required to get the same level of detail with the paints as with the graphite in this class. That will be later with more advanced courses. The pur­pose of this class was just to learn the basics. As this is the first time I’ve ever painted with oils, this class was just my speed!

The first two weeks of the class we painted value scales. The next week we did a fun color mix­ing exer­cise, where we had to glue rows of paint chips onto a can­vas board, then paint match­ing swatches of color. At that point we were ready to paint. Jan kept it sim­ple, but we got a lot out of each paint­ing in terms of learn­ing how to com­pose, draw, and paint our sub­jects to make them feel real, even though we weren’t putting in every sin­gle detail.

Our first paint­ing was of a red apple, a lime, and a lemon. Every­one chose dif­fer­ent sub­jects for their sec­ond paint­ing. I got a lot of strange looks at the gro­cery store while I was pick­ing out my pep­pers and onion. I was hold­ing them up, con­tem­plat­ing the shape and color, try­ing to imag­ine how they would look in a still life set-up. After I had dug down to the bot­tom of the bas­ket to get a red onion with part of the stem still on it, which I thought would be more inter­est­ing to paint, I noticed the woman who had been watch­ing me go to get her onions. She dug down to the bot­tom too, as if I had given away a secret of the qual­ity of the onions under the top layer in the basket.

Onion and Peppers

I man­aged to fin­ish two paint­ings by the end of the six week course. Because my pre­vi­ous train­ing was in water­col­ors, I’m still get­ting used to the dif­fer­ence between them and oils. Jan’s mantra through­out the class became, “This isn’t water­col­ors! You can wipe off what you don’t like. You can paint over it. Don’t be afraid to put it on thicker. You can’t do that with water­col­ors!” I still need to work at it, but I’ll get there eventually.

I am plan­ning my final project, which needs to be com­pleted by the end of the sum­mer. Jan has already told us she will be teach­ing an out­door land­scape paint­ing class in the fall. I can’t wait!