Walter Gabrielson Painter

An Oil Painting Tutorial



I think you should start a painting like this with a concept or an idea in mind.  Staring at a beautiful, white blank canvas and waiting for inspiration seldom cuts it.  But, if you don’t have an idea fall back on tradition to get you going.  One good approach is to set up a small still life (flowers, vegetables, interesting objects, vases, fish, you name it) get some interesting light on it and go from there.  Or, take a painting (preferably simple) from one of your favorite artists and paint a copy of it.  Nothing wrong with that and you get a good byproduct, you can analyze how your artist put together his or her painting.  As a student, I used to do it a lot.





The best ideas seem to come from an interest one has in something, whatever that may be.  I believe more in the power of CURIOSITY than inspiration.  Curiosity may do in the kitty, but it is essential to the artist.  Every artist I have ever known has been very curious about some arcane, unique thing.  Birds, dogs, ballet dancers, hookers, grotesque people, trees, haystacks, fish, you name it have been obsessions of artists who have built careers on their compulsive natures.  OK, you are now curious about a certain subject, now I suggest that you build files about it.  The internet is good, old magazines work, go out into the field and record what you can with film or electrons or drawings (always keep a small sketch pad on you too).  I have files on practically everything that I draw from all the time.  I also have taken research trips around the country taking photos of small towns and everything else I could capture for source material.


Now, take these materials and study them, put them into your head.  Think about them.  Your mind is working 24 hours a day so look at them before you go to bed.  I get a lot of ideas in the shower, go figure.  If you do this enough the mind will start kicking out possibilities.  Get them down fast or you will forget!  This stuff is really important.  But, talking to other people about them at this point is not the best thing.  Some of the air goes out of an idea, you have to let it gel a bit.  You also run into the nagging nabobs of negativity, “my sister will hate it so I won’t do it”, It’s all been done before”, Boo Hoo.  If you really like an idea, DO IT!!!  Creativity is a form of buoyancy that can be shot down at any time by any body (including yourself).  You could say that every successful idea is survival of will over negativity or indifference.