“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen” -Leonardo da Vinci
Ten Years of Oil Painting on Canvas
Just over ten years ago, I bought my first handful of oil paint tubes, trio of brushes, and a big white canvas. I didn’t know what I was doing. Though I’d always loved to draw, paint, and take photos, I’d never trained in art. Yet on that day back in 2003, I simply couldn’t wait another day to paint a canvas with oils.
When I arrived home with my 3 sons, all practically toddlers at the time, I remember wondering what to do with the canvas when I painted. I hadn’t bought an easel. And so when the boys were all tucked snugly in bed that night, I laid the canvas flat on the table, and found out in moments just how hard painting with oils really was.
Oil paint usually has the consistency of toothpaste. Imagine dabbing a brush into toothpaste and trying to get the trailing smear to resemble something recognizable. It was, and still is, a challenge.
Not long after, my mother-in-law gave me an enormous gift — she bought lessons with a renowned local artist for me for my birthday, and the gift came with childcare. I don’t know if I’ve ever thanked her enough for that gift. It was truly one which has kept on giving.
In the years since, I’ve painted and painted, everything from flowers to landscapes to cities to people. Sometimes I’m happy with what comes out on canvas, sometimes not. One of the benefits of painting with oils is that they are easily scraped off (oils take up to 2 weeks to dry) and reapplied later.
Over the past ten years, I’ve discovered not only the joy in it, but that I love to paint.
A Year of Oil Painting on Canvas
This past year, I’ve been working on a series of canvases of one of my favorite places in the world: Tuscany, Italy. The scenes are a stitched together view overlooking the hills, olive groves, and vineyards of Tuscany from the high vantage point of the walls surrounding Siena.
After I painted the first, central canvas (36″ x 48″), I felt like I had hardly begun the scene as a whole and knew I had to keep going. Now, almost a year later, this is the result.
While everyone sees art differently, these canvases turned out the way I’d envisioned them. I feel that these, after this year of effort and play on canvas, are a personal triumph. I’m delighted to get to share them here with you.