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oil swatches

About six months ago I tried oil paints for the very first time. For some reason they always seemed like an intimidating medium to me. Perhaps it’s partly because I’m a self-taught painter, and acrylic & watercolour seemed much more intuitive to me (just add water, and away you go!) with easy peasy clean up (just water again!) plus their super fast drying time. When I thought of oil paints and their rules, I mostly thought of the solvents or toxic mediums that traditionally came along with them, plus their very slow drying time. In the past couple of years I began to become more curious about oils though, but was still hesitant to invest in them without knowing if I would even like working with them (because like all art mediums, start up costs can be expensive). THEN last summer I saw a giveaway on Instagram for a set of Holbein Oil Paints from an art supply store in Eastern Canada called Studio Six, who were celebrating their 50th birthday with a series of art materials giveaways. So I thought to myself – why not! So I entered… and I won! I was sooo excited! How lucky, I get to try oil paints for free, and with a top quality beautiful brand at that – I was over the moon, and couldn’t wait to try them.

Here is a pic of the paint set when I first opened the special delivery:

(If you’re having trouble viewing this photo, it can also be viewed directly on Instagram HERE)

From the time I found out my name had been drawn, to the time the paints arrived in the mail about a week later, I did a lot of reading on how oil paints work (and asked some of my artist friends an annoying amount of oil related questions haha!). One of the biggest things that kept me away from oils for years was that they are traditionally used along with stinky/poisonous/flammable products. But what I found out, and what is seemingly not widespread information, is that it is totally possible to paint with oils completely solvent-free! That appealed to me in a big way, because not only are solvents flammable (which was a concern for me when painting at home), but they can also cause allergic reactions (from skin to respiratory problems, headaches, you name it). So it was very exciting to learn that it’s possible to paint without solvents or toxic mediums all together.

mini oil rose painting

I feel so lucky to have won this oil paint set. It saved me huge dollars in the start up costs of trying a new paint medium, as all I needed to buy was some oil brushes and a palette. One of the first things I like to do when I get new paint colours is to make swatches to see how the paint looks and acts (pictured at the top of this post, done on Arches Oil paper). Right out of the gate, I really liked the feel of oils!! After making the colour swatches I then wanted to try a mini painting of a wild rose (pictured above). So here we have my first oil painting, and I can’t wait to work with these paints more so 🙂

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