When I got home with my new twelve dollar oil painting kit and two huge pieces of Masonite board, I was ready. My son had a drafting table in his bedroom. I brought it out to the family room (where there was a television).
I cut the Masonite board into 1 by 2 foot boards. Then I went to the hardware store and bought a quart of white primer. On the way home I stopped at the library. I looked through the books and videos on oil painting.
Here’s the thing: The only videos on oil painting instruction were Bob Ross vidoes. So I went home with Bob Ross videos. That was what I could find. I didn’t choose him because I thought he had the “style” I want to paint, I chose him because he was available.
Now, I’m not insulting Bob Ross. I have always enjoyed his PBS shows, and I have the greatest respect for his abilities. And, I will always consider Bob Ross my first teacher.
I’ll talk more about Bob Ross later.
So, at home, I primed all my pieces of board, and then realized that I would have to wait for them to dry. It occurred to me that this would be a pattern for me as a painter. There would be preparations that would sometimes take days.
The next day I put a board on the drafting table and a Bob Ross video on the television. My sons are artists, and I found a large, 2 by 5 foot board covered in canvas in my oldest son’s room. This board was clearly meant for working on art projects. I put this board on the kitchen table to protect it, and I was ready.
I started the video.
There was so much that Bob Ross said that I didn’t understand. I didn’t recognize the different colors he recommended so I tried to find something similar in my oil painting kit. I didn’t know what “liquid white” was, so I just skipped that part. I didn’t have the same kind of brushes and palette knifes that he had, so I tried to use the brushes and plastic knives that seemed appropriate.
Best of all, my youngest daughter grabbed one of my primed boards, and without a word, she joined me.
The blue in our skies was much too dark, and our paintings looked like night time paintings. But at the end, we had recognizable landscaped.
I was hooked. I knew I needed to go shopping for just a few tools. There were just a couple of colors I really wanted to try, and I wanted a metal palette knife and a brush like Bob Ross was using.
My non-stop art supply shopping had begun.
I’ll talk next about what I learned from the instruction I received, and how my tools worked out for me.
First, here is one of the first paintings that drew compliments from my family: