There is something profoundly mysterious and eternal about oil paint.
I always imagine a chiaroscuro, candlelit scene, somewhere in-between medieval or Victorian eras when I smell the intoxicating aroma. Oils add the most delightful quality to a painting, like a full-bodied glass of fine wine after an excellent meal.
I miss them. I miss the long wait for a layer to dry, the frantic scrubbing to get it out of clothes or furniture and the demise of many a brush in the turpentine bath. But most of all, I miss the richness of it on a canvas: thick and smooth and impossibly sophisticated.
Every last drop of acrylics is used up, and I finally mustered up the courage to buy the oils, and a few extra brushes – just in case. I’m a bit hesitant to start because it’s been a while since I last used them. Inspiration comes and goes like an oceanic wave, but I’m so unconfident in my abilities. My courage is failing me.
There they are Titanium White, Lamp Black, Arylamide Yellow, Naphthol Red and Cobalt Blue. Only the necessary colours are sufficient for me because mixing my hues as I paint is part of the adventure. For the moment they’re safely tucked away in a tin, but I can’t help picking them out in a little row every once in a while and opening each of them for a whiff. It’s a heady, woody bouquet and I imagine that each colour has its unique fragrance. But then they go back into their confinement: waiting, encouraging me to paint, to start, just to let it flow.
I should start with something small, like a little macabre postcard.