It’s high time I put some more content on here!
Right now I’m sitting outside Abby’s art class at the YMCA. We asked her what class she wanted to take and as soon as we mentioned an art class she screamed “I WANNA DO THAT ONE!!” I can currently hear her high pitched voice talking excitedly about anything and everything that’s on her mind. I can tell she really loves her teacher already.
Last week I participated in my very first art show. One night only, at the opening of ROOT art studios downtown. That’s a whole other post, but one reason I was so excited to finally put my work in a show, is becuase I felt like I was ready to move on to something new, but needed to give some validation to the paintings I’ve been painting for the past two years. I felt like once the show was over, I would feel free to throw myself into a new body of work.
I was right! I came home, hung my paintings back on the walls (none sold… oh well!) and even though I said I’d probably never paint in oils again…. I pulled them out!
I set up a card table in the studio/homeschool room and waited patiently for an opportunity to paint in oils. My friend Sarah offered to take the girls for an afternoon, like the sweet angel she is. Normally I’m so used to painting with interruptions (in watercolor) that I have learned to make decisions and move forward with a painting in 30-2min spurts. But with my girls gone, and absolutely nothing to divide my attention from my work, I got into a mental state called CREATIVE FLOW.
FLOW is something that’s difficult to define in a scientific way, but it’s a thought state where your brain becomes loose, and starts thinking at a higher & deeper level. It happens quite often to people while they’re in the shower or doing something mindless like the dishes, mowing the lawn, or riding in the car. You “zone out” and start thinking deep, creative thoughts.
I got into FLOW with my oils, and it’s happened again a couple of times since that day. When i’m In FLOW, the decisions I make for my paintings are the ones my soul craves. At night when I dream about what I want my art to be - that’s what comes out when I’m in FLOW.
If I’m being constantly interrupted, I can rarely make a good decision on colors. I’m divided and less focused and it shows. Conversely, it also shows when I am given a long stretch of time to really get into my painting.
I always say that watercolor is my first language, and that I have a hard time digging into any other medium. But I haven fallen in love with oils this week. They are buttery, velvety, and so so vibrant. Because of the slower drying time, I am able to mix more complex colors and get all the little in-between shades on a form. I can see clearly now why, out of all the master painters, the vast majority have painted in oils. It truly is a master’s medium.
A huge factor in me finally falling for oils has been the ceiling fan that I turn on high, to blow the fumes from the materials away from me, thus avoiding a headache. (I’ve been very prone to headaches lately..)
I have researched the most non-toxic substances to use when oil painting. I looked into using Spike Lavender Oil instead of Turpenoid, but every post I read about it said the smell is Q U I T E overpowering, even coming off of the finished painting. Some people even have allergic reactions to it and it’s hard to get rid of. I don’t want the paintings that come out of my studio to smell so strongly that no one will want them! So that was out.
Turpenoid seems to be the safest solvent for me to use. While Turpentine has caused health problems in many, many artists over the centuries, Turpenoid is a safe, (mostly) odor-free alternative. I have a big jug of it already. It’s good to know that I’m making the safest choices for my body as I paint more and more frequently with oils.
Now the only thing I need to do is replace my Cadmium colors with safer pigments! Fun fact - all paint is made from ground-up pigments mixed with a liquid binder. In the old days, they were ground up into very fine powders for artists to use. The particles in these fine powders were so small that they could be absorbed through the skin. And paints like Cadmium Red or Cadmium Yellow were so commonly used that exposure to them meant exposure to toxic substances, with adverse effects on the artists.
Today, pigments are ground using specialized methods to ensure that the particles are not ground small enough to be absorbed through the skin. So when you look on the back of a paint tube and it says “Conforms to ADT-whatever” (I can’t remember) THAT’S what that means. It follows special rules to ensure it is the safest it can be.
You probably still shouldn’t eat it, though.