Learning How to Paint in Oils by Elaine Ostroot

So – here we are, the finish of our Cheyenne Chief.  I found some information on the peace pipe.  The newest ones made by contemporary indian artists were a bit over the top, so I used the information I found on older photos.   I found the buckskin shirt and pants to be the most troublesome  to paint.  Getting all those variations and subtle color changes seemed to take a lot more time than I expected.   Here he is – and I’m happy with him.  I will now set the painting aside and look at it for a few days while it dries to see if I’m still satisfied and nothing “jumps” out at me.  When I’m completely content that I have done all I can I will sign it and varnish it with a coat of Liquin and hang it up on my studio wall to dry thoroughly before framing (if you do not allow a few weeks of drying time your painting will stick to the frame – not  good).  Keep in mind, this is my vision, my way of portraying these unique people, your vision is just as valuable.  You may see these photos in a different way.   Good!  Do your thing, but please do your homework first.  Decide what your goal is and follow it.  Look at all the possibilities and paint your vision.

My final advice on using photographs is be sure that the photo you are using is “in the public domain”.  If it is copyrighted and you use it without permission you may find yourself in a heap of trouble.  To be absolutely safe take your own photos, but use them creatively, with caution, being aware of the camera’s limitations.  Your own two wonderful eyes are your best tools.  Learn to see with your “artist” eyes and you will make beautiful paintings.

Before we close out this post, I want to tell you about a wonderful discovery I’ve made.  Soon after I posted ” Using Photographs – Part One”, I recieved notification that several people had found my blog and had “liked” it.  One in particular I want to refer you to: http://liamrainsford.com/.  He is an Irish artist painting  his countryside.  This stuff is wonderful!  I’ve never seen time-lapse video before.  What a wonderful teaching tool!  I recommend that you go to his site and watch as many as you can. I certainly intend to.  His work is beautiful, very impressionistic  and well worth the time, besides it’s really fun to watch him paint!   Another site;  go to youtube.com and type in the search bar “oil painting demonstrations”  you will find page after page of artist’s videos – some very good and some not so good.   They are short and fun to watch and you just my learn something from them.   So – till next time – paint something wonderful and have fun doing it.


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