Walter Gabrielson Painter

An Oil Painting Tutorial



If you take any representational image you have a story.  It used to be that painting provided very large heroic stories that artists charged money to behold, now movies do that.  On the other hand there is the short short story to manipulate.  We can take any little thing and make a story out of it, for instance, go to the grocery and get a bunch of vegetables and fruit.  Line up three apples, paint them in a row, say two red and one green, call it “two sisters and a neurotic” and there you have it.  Simple but nevertheless a story.  You can do it with bananas or cupcakes, still works.  I start from simple scenes from my sources that have dramatic potential.  I call this my set.  On to this set I draw characters as in a play and move them around until something “happens”.  A character does not have to be human, you can make it a car or a prominent tree or something that works with the set.  As you progress with this process you learn from it and eventually become more sophisticated with it.  I once painted a large homeless painting without even  drawing it, started with a background of a city, added a sort of cardboard jungle in the foreground and then from left to right just painted in homeless people until it was done, kept it in a brown color key to emphasize the depression of the story.  But I normally start with a set and imagine things happening relative to it.  Other day I found a picture of a scene in Venice, just a canal and a house/wall at the end of it.  There was water at the bottom of it and I think I will put a guy riding a bicycle on the water.  OK that’s my take on the scene , I like the quirkiness of the idea.  Thing is, once you give into your inner self and go with it, just about anything can happen which I believe is a primary reason to do this work in the first place.  Your dramas will pull you to fascinating places.