My First Oil Painting in a Decade

oil painting feature image

The last time I remember doing any oil painting was at least a decade ago. But last year I finally had some time to pick up the brushes and have a go at it once again.

Having spent the last few years doing a LOT of digital painting, it came as a hard realization that there would be no "Undo" button.

But I muddled through.

The canvas was one of many I have stacked in my studio. The Missus is always good about letting me know of art supplies to be found cheap at estate and garage sales. Most of my oil paints were purchased that way, and I've got enough to last for years of steady painting. As for canvas, I've got stacks of 8x10's, 11x14's, quite a few 16x20's, and several larger sizes. All of this I got at estate sales. I think in total I spent less than $200 for all of it.

They've all been sitting in my painting studio, patiently waiting for me to retire so I could spend more quality time with them.

This first effort was mainly an attempt to re-familiarize myself with the tools. To remember how to mix the paint, and recall some methods of brushwork.

I wanted to create a sense of depth and light, and I kept the object fairly simple: A mountain and canyon with a river. You can see the foreground is unfinished. There were going to be trees there rising up to the viewer, but I got pulled away on other things and had to set the painting aside.

All in all, even unfinished, it's not a bad first effort. I'm looking forward to doing a lot more of this in my spare time.

Canyon oil painting

Canyon #1 (oils, 11x14)

Steve in 2021
About the Author

Topdog is Steve Merryman, a retired graphic designer, illustrator, and unrepentant asshole. Steve can usually be found working on a portrait commission or some other artwork. Steve fills his days by painting, writing, shootin' guns, cuttin' trees, hiking with his dogs, and savoring a beer or two, all while searching for the perfect cheeseburger. He studiously avoids social media and is occasionally without pants.

Comments 6

  1. Nice.
    I’ve been able to earn a living for over 56 years by moving aircraft through the complex tapestry God calls “the heavens”… Few artists have the ability to come close to the constantly changing, ever amazing “sky”….I’ve come to peace with the opinion that only the eye can see–and duplicate in our memories–that artistry…

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      I agree wholeheartedly. One of my future painting series will be nothing but sky and clouds. Why? Because I can’t paint them very well and that will force me to learn.

      As artists, we can only interpret Nature’s majesty in a small way. Our efforts always fall short in capturing the full awesomeness of nature.

      I envy your career in the skies. Always wanted to learn to fly, but at the same time knew my limitations when it came to mechanical devices, math, and general confidence. I knew deep down I’d probably end up auguring in.

      1. Can’t wait to see how your new efforts come out!!
        And…it’s never too late to give flying a chance. Although there are numerous avenues that lead to catastrophe, flying is infinitely safer than Atlanta traffic at rush hour!!

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          Well, at this point in my life, my feet remain firmly planted on the ground (and often covered in mud).

          Honestly, I hate what the whole process of commercial air travel has become so much I told The Missus any overseas vacations will be just her and The Kid (who’s nearly 40 and better company than me). So flying myself would be the only option to get me up there, but see paragraph 1 (above).

          We’ve got our T@G trailer with room for the dogs and that’s all I want anymore.

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