Finding a Happy Medium

I avoided oil paint for years.

In college, I learned to paint with oils but when I started painting again nearly 15 years later, the thought of all those toxic solvents, strong odors and long drying time drove me to learn to use watercolor and acrylic paints.

Then this past spring, I came across a couple of artists who mentioned a solvent-free method of oil painting and was intrigued.

The method I was taught involved using solvents and mediums to thin the paint and clean brushes.

But these artists said those things weren't actually necessary.

So after some further research, I pulled out the oil paints I've been holding on to for...let's just say a long time...and gave it a try.

A few solvent-free oil painting supplies including Gamblin safflower oil and solvent-free gel as well as palette paper and a small palette knife. The brand of canvas panels is crossed out because I do not recommend them! I paint mostly on wood panels.

I was immediately hooked!

(I also felt a little foolish for not knowing this sooner!)

I've been painting with acrylic for so many years now that I forgot just how lovely oil paint is to use.

Initially, I made two small paintings that were in line with my coffee pot theme and ended up putting the paints back in the closet. Despite how glorious it felt to return to oils, I wasn't yet ready to face such a change!

But those paints kept calling me.

So while I was planning a new series of landscape paintings, I decided that would be the perfect opportunity to explore oils again.

I ordered a couple of new supplies (if you're an artist, you know how hard it is to resist buying new supplies!) including the safflower oil that would allow me to work completely "solvent-free" and got started.


Progress shot of the landscape painting that launched my first ever series of oil paintings!

I painted nearly every day in October.

Words cannot express how natural it feels to paint with oil paint again. Don't get me wrong, painting is still incredibly challenging, but oils have brought a real joy to the process.

There is a softness achieved in the paintings that I have not been able to get in other mediums. Oil paint blends so much more easily and the extended drying time allows for greater flexibility.

There is also such an earthy and nostalgic feel to oils that I really enjoy.

I have no doubt that I'll continue to use other types of paint but for the time being, I've found my happy medium!

I am pleased to be able to share the result of all this joyful oil painting. You can view my very first series of oil paintings here.

I'd love to know your thoughts. Please feel free to send me an email or leave a comment below. Thank you!

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