When I was 15, I walked into a furniture store with my parents. To the left I looked up and saw an oil painting that looked real to me. For a long time I just stood there, looking at it, I was amazed how real it appeared. I thought to myself that I’d like to do this some day. To paint well enough to make people feel like I had, when viewing one of my paintings. Paintings can be very uplifting and my goal for every painting I paint, is to do it well enough to uplift the people who view it.
There was a sporting goods store down the street that I knew had a small section of oil painting supplies. So I saved my allowance and a couple weeks later walked in there and bought oil painting supplies that I needed to start.
When I first started painting, I quickly found out just how hard it is to work with oil paints. I had thick oil paint on the canvas, did not know how to work with it, it was a mess. And so had to throw away most of the paintings the first 5 years, although there were some lucky ones. My first painting was a lighthouse and it actually turned out alright. It was actually reasonably good, I kept it through the years, probably someone in my family still has it. It was a lighthouse with the ocean, you could see the sunset behind, rocks leading up to the lighthouse.
Then things started clicking. Over time I just developed a technique that worked for me and with practice I got better. At 22 after getting out of the navy I painted 27 paintings over the summer. That’s pretty much all I was doing outside my job in my free time and enjoyed it very much. There was an art store about 4-5 blocks away where I used to go to get art supplies, the owner looked like an artist.
Also did the starving artist thing for about a year. There was this woman who offered me to move in so that I can paint but then she moved to Florida so that did not happen. People were buying everything I painted during that period. Painting during the day, then had a few beers at local bars. I rented a room in a hotel and walked. It would only take me 5 to 8 hours to complete a painting and touch up the next day. There were some complex paintings. I painted a lot of mountain men that time. So I’ve been painting for many years and this has been an exciting process of various changes.
Here are some sneak peaks into the painting process.
Quite often I work on several paintings simultaneously and sometimes go back to previous ones to work on them some more according to how I feel. It also helps to put them away sometimes for a while and then take them out and see them with a fresh eye.
The cats often like to hang around when I paint and offer their assistance by sitting, meditating or sleeping nearby. It sure is a delight to have them around.
My painting station.
I keep all my painting supplies in this corner. Brushes are on the top, I have a nice collection now, with paints and other necessary stuff occupying both top shelves. There’s even a nice cardboard box in the bottom where the cats like to sleep sometimes. The air filter in the front is by Austin Air Systems, it removes volatile fumes from the air.
My daughter recently sent me this picture of a drawing I did in art class when I was in second or third grade. I never thought about myself as having talent, but I guess some things did come naturally, and others required work. And I’m still working at it.
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