The First Time I Painted In Oil
I remember the first time I ever painted in oil as if it were yesterday. I was initially hesitant to use the medium for 2 reasons: Firstly, I put it on a pedestal, as if one needed a right or permission. Secondly, I knew it involved materials that were somehow dangerous.
I did it anyway. I knew then that I would be using this medium for the rest of my life. And I was right.
But ten years in, I started to feel funny from the solvents. There was a distinct moment I knew something was wrong. I was working on a painting based on the palette of this Fra Angelico. I was looking for the cool rose madder glaze, the cadmium reds and indigo blues.
At the end of every painting session, I would have a weird taste on my tongue. I moved to “Odorless Mineral Spirits”, but barely felt better. If only I knew then what I’ve since learned during the illuminating journey of writing a book about the subject of everything I wish I knew at the start, the wonder of the history of pigments and particularly how to paint without solvents.
The dearth of knowledge about materials and craft among painters is an unnecessary epidemic. Either instructors assume the students learned it in a previous foundational class that no longer exists or were never taught themselves.
I created something I wished for my younger artist self: a little black book just for oil painting of all the materials I would need and why. Oil Painting Safe Practices, Materials, & Supplies: The Essential Guide is a culmination of knowledge I’ve gathered over twenty-five years of painting with the last decade focused on how to paint in the safest way possible. Thanks to Chronicle Books, it will be widely available to painters worldwide soon. For now, I’m making it available and use it as a text book for my students