Adventures with Oils – time to quit?

Adventures with oils-2017-14-outdoor painting-Adelaide gardens-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-colourfully parked

The past few months have been coloured by adventures with oils.
I have been tutored by a dear friend who is an experienced art teacher, with large and small classes as well as individual tuition. Mary has taken me through mixing, palettes, brushes and clean-up, fat-over-lean and things like that. She painted along while I learned to apply these new ideas, both outdoors and in the studio. Remember the hedges?

Adventures with oils-2017-14-outdoor painting-Adelaide gardens-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-colourfully parked
Parked for colour; oil on linen panel; 20x25cm; framed; $AUD340

The good news

You might already know how oils behave. And about their luscious colours and texture. They feel great on a firm brush. There is a creaminess and body AND high intensity of colour. The colours mixed don’t dry before you have finished with them. The paint can blend on the canvas, which is a plus for soft effects AND a minus for mud.

But the positives outweigh those negatives, if you learn to be mindful of their slow drying habit. In plain language that means, avoid touching or scuffing the wet surface. Try not to make a mess!

adventures in oils-outdoor painting-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia

….and the bad news

Unfortunately there is another story to tell. I have been using odourless turps but my medium pongs a bit. Technical term, sorry. The paints also emit a fume or two.

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On and off in the past month I have had bouts of nausea with no obvious cause. No, definitely not that.
Last week’s painting session was in more confined quarters than usual and my nausea was strong. Fresh air helped but when I brought my pot of medium back inside, there it was again, worse.

Adventures with oils – what now?

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Mulberry and hedges; 25x20cm; oil on linen panel; framed; $AUD340

Time for odourless medium.  Or perhaps water-based oils?

What a shame! I was just getting started and there are three or four outdoor paintings in progress. It could mean I’ll soon have a few paints to pass around. There will be some grief for ending these adventures. For the moment I will persist with outdoor painting in oil where the breezes help. You have to wonder though, about the toxicity of the whole process and knowing the fumes don’t disappear, but add to an environmental load.

adventures in oils-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia

What has been your experience?