I don’t know what I was expecting from my first ever oil painting class, but it wasn’t this!
As I drove up the hill to the venue, past beautiful views and curious horses, I was expecting a messy day of oil paints, linseed oil and solvents. Instead, I discovered a way of working with oil paint that I had never imagined and produced an effect that looks more like a subtle graphite. Dry brushing with oils is as far removed from my current method of working with acrylic as you can get.
I usually use tons of paint, mediums, tissues, lots of different colours and at least 3 pots of water – in other words an organised mess! This method used the tiniest amount of paint, a couple of brushes and just one colour – lamp black. I spent the first half of the class convinced that the minuscule amount of paint scraped thinly across the palette would be dry in minutes, and constantly reaching for an imaginary pot of water to rest my brush in whenever switching brush size.
The technique of dry brushing is a delicate and controlled method that very gradually builds layers of tones. It was a completely alien way of working for me, but a very absorbing and satisfying way to paint. I didn’t know you could have so much fun with just one colour! Overall it was a wonderful class with an enthusiastic and knowledgable tutor – Richard is quietly inspiring and supportive to his students and the result I achieved has left me completely hooked.
If you’re in the South Wales area and would like to try one of these classes, I’d highly recommend them and the tutor Richard Bowdidge. Check out his Facebook page or website for more details, and watch this space for future oil paintings!