First painting of 2023

Well, to be more precise: my first TRADITIONAL (as opposed to digital) painting of 2023.

©2023, Emma Pittson, “Red”. Oil on canvas, 10″ x 8″ x 0.5″.

And to be perfectly honest, this one was a real wake-up call. I realized – too late! – that I’d become too reliant on digital painting. Sure, digital painting is an art form in itself and requires its own skill set, but at the end of the day, it is not Real Paint. Real paint comes in only a set amount of colours. Real paint doesn’t have an “Undo” button. And like it or not, most people want to see an actual thing that exists out there in the world, a unique, one-of-a-kind object that has the mark of the artist’s hands all over it (metaphorically speaking).

Or maybe they don’t really care and it’s just my own insecurities talking. I have a lot of those. When I’m feeling up for it, I can ramble on about my doubts about water-miscible oils vs. REAL oil paints, and then we can watch the fur REALLY fly!

Anyways, I felt compelled to put some paint to canvas, and let me assure you that diving back into traditional art-making was a painful experience. My first painting was larger with a full selection of colours, but it had to be temporarily set aside because I realized that I had bitten off more than I could chew. This smaller, monochromatic self-portrait is actually my “rebound” painting. Still, whenever I lost control of my brush, I did, in fact, automatically move my hand in the general direction of the “Undo” button like I was still sitting in front of my keyboard (busted!).

I will say this about WMOs: just because you can mix them with water doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. Looking at this painting now, it’s obvious that I treat oil paints like glorified acrylics, and the results and not always the best. In fact, if I compare this painting to a much earlier acrylic piece (below, left), I think that the acrylic is far more successful in that the brush strokes are smoother and more confident. My signature, I’m happy to say, remains as blockish as ever. 😉

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