I spent half the day trying to figure out how to use oil painting brushes.

I usually draw and paint with watercolor brushes, so I know how to deal with how certain strokes produce a certain effect on the artwork. Depending on how much pressure is applied, a watercolor brush could work a shadow, a highlight, or a base color. I can control how a certain layer could look and how it could affect all the other layers of color.

But oil painting is different. The paint itself blends and flows according to certain strokes and not necessarily in the way I’d want them to look. Unlike watercolors, blending using oil painting brushes are much heavier and require more attention to detail. It requires A LOT more patience.

It’s a constant struggle, because I’m not a very patient person, but I can’t stand seeing a work that doesn’t go the way it’s supposed to. It’s frustrating because I know I could get it to a certain form, but oil painting brushes just make it that much more difficult to execute. It challenges my abilities. Every time I use them, I can feel the brushes taunting me, “you think you can paint? Think again?”.

Coloring has always been an issue for me. Making a lineart is easy for me. It takes time but it comes out naturally. I could use a pencil, a pen, a tablet, a PC or a phone, I could draw lines with no problem.

But coloring is a challenge because coloring the wrong way would mean the lines would look terrible or that the work won’t go the way I’d want it to. I usually just try to figure out how to color a photo according to how I think the colors would feel good at that time. I don’t really plan how a drawing is supposed to look with color. Sometimes, I’d opt to not color at all.

But it’s convenient with watercolor brushes because I’m used to them. I could control how it will turn out and I could easily resolve any problem. But controlling oil paint? It’s like trying to tame a wild dog. You could stroke it a certain way, but it will still go wild. It will not turn out the way I want  to be, so I am challenged and frustrated at the same time.

I now have a deeper sense of respect for oil painters. I have always respected them and their works, because I know painting is so hard but they still manage to come up with beautiful masterpieces. But now that I’ve tried – and it’s a digital simulation (not the real oil painting thing) – my patience has been challenged…oh, so terribly challenged. Did I mention how I’m not a very patient person? So now that I’ve tried…I can see and understand why so many people revere oil painters. It takes a lot of skill, mastery, and patience to come up with beautiful works and they have these and more. They control the brushes – each and every wild and difficult stroke – and command them to portray an image they want to convey. That is true mastery.

I look forward to learning more about painting and illustration. There’s so much to learn every day. I feel humbled and blessed to have the time and opportunity to learn these things, even if the results are far from perfect.

Here’s the result of my attempts at oil painting:



Hyacinth by effinfabulous on deviantART

My friend wants me to paint for her apartment’s ceiling this weekend. Of course, I’m nervous. No one has asked me to paint their ceilings before. There’s the pressure to do good and to not disappoint. At the same time, I don’t want to fail in the project…but I haven’t done it before. So it’s all so exciting. I hope the work turns out great. But for the most part, I hope it’s gonna be fun!


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