Thursday, 17 May 2018

Tips on oil paints and mistakes not to make.


 Expensive, they are expensive, yes, but they last so much longer than Acrylics.  Oils are also not born equal.  I have the cheap ones (mont marte), the middle of the range (derivan) and a little bit higher on the scale is Artist Spectrum and Winsor and Newton.  They are definitely more expensive per ml compared to Acrylics (some of them lol), but a little goes a long way with oils.  If its kept right you can keep using the same little speck of oil over and over again for a while.  How long?  I do not know lol.  It took me ten days to paint my Peter Stormare (Czernobog) portrait, and I used the same squirts of paint from the beginning.  Except with the cheaper oils, they were not always usable.

I bought all the good quality oil paints I have recently from a shop here in Hervey Bay that I absolutely love.  It is called Art and Soul Studio and it has absolutely every kind of paint, including Golden paints (YAY OH YAY).  Here is the link for the shop if you want to check it out,  Art and Soul Studio oil range
I highly recommend it.  I could get lost there for days lol.  

I tried a long time ago when I was very sick to do an oil painting, didn't bother with YouTube or any instructions on how to use oil paints.  Mistake, bad bad mistake.  I didn't even realise this until recently though.  I am kind of embarrassed about the mistakes I made 😳.

 I, of course decided to use one of the biggest canvas available to me, and the cheapest oils I could buy (mont marte).  I also completely disregarded copyright rules 😰.  This was supposed to represent my anorexia, because at this stage I was lost in it, devoured by the darkness.  I still wish to paint my very own version of this painting.  It is supposed to be me on the top of a bed reaching out to touch the monster under the bed who starts turning me to bone.

Mistake number one:

  • Canvas tooooooo big for a very beginner, no, just no.
  • Copyright, ok I was only doing this for myself so no harm no foul, but in reality it's just plain wrong to copy others work.
  • I (So embarrassed to say this), used oils like acrylics.  I had no medium like Galkyd or Linseed oil or liquin.😞
  • I didn't clean my brushes (I know, I know).
  • I didn't take advantage of the best aspect of oils, blending!!  I just dumped it on like acrylic and didn't blend.  I look at this cringe, I am so sorry for burning your eyeballs with my blasphemy lol.
  • In theory I think this is a good idea, and definitely when I have more paintings under my belt I will take this on, just like I took anorexia on.  I may not win, I may just put it in the cupboard, but I am going to redo this idea. 
  • There is nothing wrong with cheap oils for beginners, it is definitely money friendly.  I will say this about mont marte oils, they do not have the range the more expensive brands do, but in a beginner this isn't a problem.  They work quite well, unless they are old and then they are drier than my skin on a summers day in the Adelaide dessert.
  • OMG I just remembered I didn't even (so sorry) gesso the canvas.  😨
  • I apologise for my errors against oils and painting lol.  I threw this one away in a fit of temper because I couldn't do my face.  Then I decided I was worthless.
Don't ever let a painting or a creative activity decide your worth in this world. 
 Now I am still learning the potential of oils, they definitely have their benefits over acrylics.  They have more CADMIUM colours.  They have cadmium green, I have not seen that in acrylics yet.  It is pretty.  Oh so pretty. Still to this day Oil paintings are considered more valuable than acrylic or watercolour.  I think that is based on the Masters and their expertise with oils.  If I did the exact same painting in oils and acrylics the oil will sell for more.  I don't believe there is any reason for this except an ingrown belief that we all have that oils are more worthy.
I won't lie, I still haven't decided which paint I prefer, but from recent activity I'm leaning towards an acrylic base with oil on top.  Acrylics are forgiving, they can be blended like oils if you use retarder or Golden Glazing Liquid.  They are cheaper in the beginning, they are easier to fix mistakes, they do not smell anywhere near as bad as oils and their mediums and cleaners. It is so much easier to clean the acrylic paintbrushes.  I still have not found a an oil paintbrush I love.  I've figured out I prefer the soft smooth paintbrushes for oil but I do not have many of them.
Going from acrylics to oils is like going from scrapbooking to cardmaking.  They are in the same category but they are nothing alike.   
Oils just have this smooth buttery feel about them.  Thinning them with a medium or odour free solvent is amazing.  Painting oils on wood, yes, just yes.  It's like they were meant to be together.
This is my very first fantasy painting, done all in oils except for the base coat.  Oils can go on top of acrylics but acrylics can not go on top of oils.  Why I hear you ask, well here is the very technical answer, because everyone says so.  Maybe one day I will try it and maybe my canvas will explode, or crack, or come to life, but right now I follow the rules.  
 You decide for yourself what is best for you, I thought acrylics were the bees knees until i actually used oils how they are supposed to be used.  For a quick painting I will chose acrylic, I still love acrylic.  But oils, they just have sooooo much potential.  This is my oil portrait.....
 This is my acrylic portrait.....
 I love them both, but oil has so much more potential don't you think?  I would love to hear your opinions and even see your oil vs acrylic paintings.


Kristina O

Monday, 14 May 2018

Trying to start a business while being a stay at home Mum

Painting with kids at home is not easy.......

While I am typing this I have my four year old sitting on my lap, playing Minecraft on his iPad.  Constant chattering while my morning brain is struggling to think of coherent words.  My days are orientated around my children, their needs come first, and when I get the chance I go into the garage studio and paint.  This is usually how it looks after I have started painting........  Yes I have a skeleton, his name is Henry and he likes hanging around :)

For some weird reason when the boys are all home they feel the urge to come into the garage with me.  To fight, and get me to play a part in their imaginary games.  I have called Fireman Sam while painting, letting him know that my garage is on fire, I've called Police to get their help with a bad guy, and I have even called the Octonauts.  My life is very exciting lol.

I even have the pleasure of my 15 year old son hovering around me while I am trying to paint.  That is never a good sign, he wants something he's just too scared to ask, or just for the fun of it he brings in his remote control car and chases his brothers, who then get on their bikes and try to run over him.

I have to be honest I cannot imagine anyone in an office or on a construction site putting up with all this noise and chaos and unpredictability and still be able to work.  I am sure that I get a lot less done than what a person working in a professional situation does, but this is my life, they are my boys, and most days I wouldn't have it any other way.  I mean I know a lot about Minecraft, a lot, sigh.  That should come in handy one day, hopefully, please........

I still have days where I get so frustrated at having to stop and start painting to wipe bottoms, and watch cartoons, and cook lunches and dinners, but it is getting easier to handle it mentally if I don't fight it.  Just accept that this is what it is like for a while, this is my working situation.  I have to answer weird questions while I am trying hard to think about what I am typing, like is water healthy?  Do you want a pink roof on your minecraft house?

I will not lie, it is hard, very hard, but when I look at what I can do with all the chaos of children and dogs and cleaning, I am pleasantly surprised.  I chuckle at the thought of my husband being able to work like this, especially with the made up noises that get repeated over and over so much that it invades your brain and makes you think "am I crazy???"

Some days I get a lot done, some days I am lucky if I get into the garage studio.  I have to admit if I want to paint and there's just so much to do that I can't, I do get angry, and frustrated.  I wonder why I have to put up with the kids, why can't they just be quiet etc etc.  I am learning that it is all about my mentality, it's my attitude that gets me angry, it's my expectations on myself and my kids that causes tension.

I discovered time lapse videos recently, yes I know, a little late to the party, but that's me.  So while I was trying to do my first ever time lapse, the kids just kept coming in and in and in, there were so many problems that I thought the house was going to explode.  My 4 year old decided to set up his stroller and push it around.  I'm sure the dog came in and had a sniff around too.  Now I could've got upset about this, and I could've got annoyed, but I actually didn't.  When I sat back and watched the time lapse I didn't see the kids in it, they were there, oh yes they were there, but I just loved watching what I was doing, the fact that time lapse makes me look like I know what I am doing!!!

 My tips for working, or painting, or blogging or anything from home when there are kids and chores to be done.

  • Don't put crazy expectations on yourself, you may get it done, you may not, kids are unpredictable.  Let's be honest, they are a full time job, so give yourself a little slack.  
  • Be kind to yourself, don't get angry that you messed up, or didn't finish, you are only one person.
  •  Do something with the kids, they get bored, they get annoying, so take them somewhere, play a game, go to the park.  Entertain them first, and then get some work done.
  • Enjoy a cuddle, I love laying down with my 4 year old and just having him lie on me and watch tv, or play his iPad.  They are precious, enjoy them.
  • Let the kids know that you have to do some work.  This mainly works for older kids, my 4 year old still has issues with this.  I feel guilty taking time for myself, but we need to.
  • Get your husband, wife, partner, older kids, Nanna etc to help out.  You deserve a break, you deserve to try and improve your life, make life worth it.  Get their help, obviously don't overdo it, but don't be afraid to ask for help.
  • Have some activities set up for the kids to do near you when you are trying to work.  Since I am in the garage, I have scooters and bikes in there.  I also have a shelf of toys for him to play with, and his own paints.  My 9 year old loves to paint to so I have taught him how to set it up for himself.
  • Enjoy it, stop stressing and obsessing.  Yes this one I still have not mastered, but it will be good if I do!
  • Don't put off the essential chores, trust me, they sit in your brain and nag and nag and remind you that you haven't done them.
  • Accept that some days you will get no work done.  This is important, as much as I want to be in the studio painting away listening to music every day, I can't.  It's impossible for me at the moment.  Kids need our time.  Some days will be spent with the kids.
  • Love what you do, the kids and the work.  Praise yourself for keeping everyone alive.  Some days it's hard.
  • Have cartoons on in the background.  This is my trick that I use to distract them when I really want to paint.  They will be on their way to me and they hear Paw Patrol or whatever on tv and BAM distracted for ten minutes!!!!
  • Figure out the best time to work.  Kids usually have a settled happy peaceful time, run, run fast to get some work done.  Around 1pm my son is not in a happy place so I usually won't even try to paint then.  After 4pm he's usually amused for an hour or so.  Take advantage of this.
  • Be proud.  I can do the work of a lot of people, and still paint.  Be damn proud. 

I am currently painting this in oils, it's a big canvas, and landscapes etc are not my forte, but I am doing this, with constant doubts, and interruptions and mistakes.  I am doing this!

I am keeping this creature and his brothers alive, I helped two gorgeous young girls become smart wonderful young ladies.  I deserve to take this time for myself and do what I love.  I deserve this.

And I painted this!!! (Peter Stormare painting, actor in Prison Break, Fargo, American Gods, Blacklist, always a bad guy.  I absolutely love him ) My first oil portrait, my first large portrait, my first of a lot of things, but i did it, while feeding kids, going to the beach and the park, walking the dog and cleaning the house.  I DID THIS.  I have only been learning to paint for just over a year, not even full time learning, and no classes, just YouTube.

Keep going, don't stop.  You will have great days and hard days, extra productive days and lazy days.  You are only one person, you can't do it all.  Just take your time, enjoy your kids, relax and give yourself some well deserved time.

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