My Updated Oil Painting Philosophy…Or, Actually a New Take on an Old One

artist oil painting Bo the BullTo purchase the “Bo the Bull” painting…please click on the image above

I look at an incredible amount of art…

I am inspired by so much of the work I see every day. Just check out some art websites like FASO (Fine Art Studio Online), NOAPS (National Oil & Acrylic Painters Society), as well as what artists are posting on Facebook & Twitter…and you will see really phenomenal work being created in oils, watercolor, acrylic, and colored pencil.


So…the challenges with my own paintings

have become about how to give whoever is viewing them, the feeling that they are actually there, in that moment, with that subject…or in other words, a way for me to be able to convey a ‘more real than a photograph’ impressionism, which possesses the color and light values, along with enough detail to satisfy my need to express the technical abilities that I have been working so hard and so long to perfect. There is also the challenge of making sure that my paintings do not look as if they appear to be exactly like the photo I’m using as a reference, or worse…like another artist’s work!  Speaking of that,  I do spend a great deal of time either thinking about or looking for ways to create a niche for my own work, in order to set it apart from other artists…both, because of how I want to feel fulfilled as an artist with my own individual style, and also so that I will be able to feel comfortable offering it for sale as something that is a unique piece of art. I am sure that if you asked most artists they would without a doubt say, that this is the least favorite part of being an artist.


My new philosophy…well, actually it’s not that new.

I am simply re-visiting something that I have always believed, but haven’t focused on its true importance…until recently. I have been finding that it can be applied to any subject I decide to paint…and what it comes down to for me, is how; by only using the subject’s form in the photo as the blueprint, that it can be the catalyst for what it can become as a painting.  In a photo, the space within in the subject’s (or subjects’), borders; is merely a starting point. That space becomes the place to create my own version of what I see, a place where the clues are found which will dictate the colors, highlights, shadows, and values, of hopefully of something completely unique…something that is based on that form, but having its own, new, character and soul. If I pay attention to what I have learned, by ‘studying’ all of this art that I see…together with that and with using the skills I have accumulated, I will get closer to what I envision as my best work.


It turns out…that there are no guarantees.

Even when I think I’ve found the most perfect photo…once I get started painting from it, I find that can’t always make what drew me to it, become the focal point for the painting that I had in my head. Sometimes I have found that the answer I’ve been seeking for what I want to be able to do, as well as to become as an artist, already exists in my experience. I may not have embraced its importance until now…I just needed to be open to it.