New Beginnings and Breaking My Hiatus on Oil Painting

Oil paints from my very first set back in the early 1980s. Still have them!

Almost exactly two years ago, I broke my almost life-long hiatus from using oil paints. I remember at age 7 I expressed a desire to learn to paint in oils. My Dad was an artist and his medium of choice was oil, so it seemed like a natural progression for me to follow suit. He subscribed to a weekly art magazine on my behalf, which served as a very comprehensive art course, and which would probably cost lots of money to do under today’s standards. But then, things were way less click-baity back then. I remember many years later subscribing to another art course, and remarking on how inferior it was compared to my childhood ‘Draw it! Paint it!’ series. I digress a little, however. Suffice to say, I studied the course intensely and learned a lot.

On a Christmas morn, not too long after, I received my first oil painting set – I still have it. I kid you not. The paints are still good, albeit close to the end of their shelf-life now (oil paints will last from 35-50 years if looked after). I dabbled a little with them at the time, but decided they were probably way too advanced for me, so I let them sit in their box for years, ever with the intent of resuming and learning how to use them properly. I attempted to sometime after my daughter was born, and produced one painting. But that was it. And then again some years later when I began a portrait that never quite got past the blocking-in stage.

My studio set-up back in 2018 and my first ever oil landscape.

Eventually, in September of 2018 I decided to end my procrastination and began my first ever landscape in oils. It was a terrifying experience. It was a steep learning curve, and I scoured YouTube, books, galleries and whatever else I could lay my eyes and hands on in order to teach myself this most sacred of arts. Two years in and many paintings later, I think I’ve finally got the hang of painting in oils. Honestly, I don’t know what all the fuss was about… Seriously, and to be quite fair, however, it is a very different medium than most others, and so it’s a bit of an adjustment from watercolour, for example. It does help that I am now able to dedicate as much time as I want to it – I wasn’t able to for many years due to family and work commitments, and so, I almost didn’t at all. Plus, oil painting is an expensive pursuit. You also need space to let paintings dry and a lot of patience, which thankfully, I have developed to a degree with age. The space or lack thereof, is still an issue, however. Soon to be resolved hopefully!

Last year I began painting portraits in earnest. I’ve always loved portraiture and have produced a lot of work in graphite and charcoal, though rarely in full colour. The last time I attempted a full colour portrait was when I was 16 and I was working in pastel. The piece was a life-sized mural of all the members of the band I was in at the time, myself included. Though, I never quite finished it, and since my move to the USA it has vanished into the ether. I’ve had a lot of catching up to do, in short. And so, this past year I have been focussing my attentions more on portraiture through the medium of oils. I have completed four oil portraits so far. Three that I consider to be hyperrealistic, and one that is stylised and more impressionistic. I’m currently working on my next portrait which is of my eldest son. Many more in my queue too. In fact, I’ve embarked on a longterm project which I will speak more about in future posts.

Click on the gallery below to see the my collection of colour portraits to date, both in watercolour and oil:

For now though, welcome to my blog and thank you for taking the time to read! 🙂

I welcome all comments and hope to get to know you better.



Published by Maria a.k.a. Bess/Ishaiya

I am an artist, writer, photographer and social commentator. Mum, wife, Synaesthete, linguist, cook, ex-musician and philosopher. Not necessarily in that order.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: