Beating the block

I’ve mentioned the monster artistic block that I struggled with so much this summer in earlier posts, It really shook me up because it seemed to last so long and nothing I did seemed to get me through it. Then I found a Facebook page Love to paint with Roisin O’Farrell and started to get through the block. I found a really supportive group of people and lots of great, helpful suggestions. These include books to read, artists to follow online and a lot of other really thought provoking ideas.


I’ll return to some of these in future blog posts but for now I want to focus on Roisin’s course. It’s an online course and focuses on learning the basics of our craft of making art. I think I am a fairly accomplished acrylic artist and I do know the fundimentals of composition, but I’ve become a bit sloppy over the years. I found I got into the habit of skipping certain stages, like not doing anything like enough preparatory sketches. Cutting corners early in the process, which sometimes meant that the painting I was working on just didn’t seem to work. Then, because I was working on quite a large canvas, I was too invested in the process to stop or scrap the painting, which meant I was ending up with work that I didn’t want to scrap but that I just wasn’t happy with.


Roisin’s work is bright and expressive, quite different from my way of and she specialises in painting Alla Prima oils, whereas, at least in recent years I have specialised in acrylics. Check out her website here: Roisin O’Farrell 


Oil painting has moved on hugely since I was at art college, with the biggie for me being that there are several new mediums for diluting paints and clearing up which don’t involve turps. (Like Zest it for example)


So I’ve now completed three small paintings in oils, two of which were (mostly) painted with a palette knife.

screenshot 2019-01-07 at 22.00.48


The first painting was the one of apples, the second was the wee jug and the third the chair and the dressing-table. All of them are tiny compared with my usual paintings. They are all interiors rather than landscapes and they are all painted in a much looser style than I have used previously.


It’s been fun. I find that I love painting in oils, the colours are beautifully rich and the paint is buttery and also, because I want to keep the paint clean and unmuddy I have been very careful to do more preparatory work. In addition, because each painting is so small the pressure is off.


I’ll let you know how I get on.




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