A Little Nocturne Oil Painting

A Little Nocturne Oil Painting

Click to view the painting.   A Little Nocturne Oil Painting by Damian Osborne   Light the scented candles, put on that old Chopin CD and pour another glass of red. I’m in the mood for a little nocturne oil painting. This scene made a very strong impression on me as I regarded the crescent moon hanging like a shining eyelash between the mountain buttresses one evening. It’s a little corner of wildness, this exposed section of the peninsula at the end of the mountain range, with incessant gale-force winds from the sea, slamming against the rock faces and my back.…

Taking Myself Seriously as an Artist

Taking Myself Seriously as an Artist

  Taking Myself Seriously as an Artist by Damian Osborne   Every year seems to be some sort of tribulation, but I learn a lot about myself as an artist, a husband and a person; and what I want for my life and my art career. It’s a slow process for a people-pleasing person like myself, but every year I’m taking myself more seriously as an artist.  I realised it’s more important to be authentic as an artist (and in one’s personal life) and to be brave enough to say what you want to than to tiptoe around being worried about…

Making Bone Black Oil Paint

Making Bone Black Oil Paint

Watch this video on YouTube   Making Bone Black Oil Paint — The Alchemical Journey Series — by Damian Osborne   1 | What is bone black pigment? 2 | How long does bone black oil paint take to dry? 3 | When was bone black first used? 4 | Bone black vs ivory black 5 | How does bone black oil paint compare with other black pigments? 6 | What does bone black symbolise? 7 | What equipment will you need to make bone black oil paint? 8 | How do you make bone black oil paint? 9 | What…

Why I Love Realistic Figurative Paintings

Why I Love Realistic Figurative Paintings

  Why I Love Realistic Figurative Paintings by Damian Osborne   Realistic figurative painting has always fascinated me. When I look back through my old art history books and remember which artists and paintings were my favourites as a young, budding artist, figurative oil paintings felt especially vivacious, expressive, inspirational and powerful. And perhaps the genre of realistic figurative painting will always captivate me. For the language of the body speaks to us in an instinctive, primal way. As humans, we divine meanings and feelings through poses, postures and expressions that spoken words can not convey. Perhaps it’s because we…

Final Stages of a Portrait Painting

Final Stages of a Portrait Painting

Watch this video on YouTube   Final Stages of a Portrait Painting — Nigredo by Damian Osborne   1 | What pigments will I need for painting a portrait? 2 | Should you add chalk to your oil paint? 3 | How do you mix colours for the Verdaccio? 4 | How many stages do you need for a portrait painting in oils?   Here are the final stages of a self-portrait painting I called ‘Nigredo’ (or the crucifixion). Using my own oil paints, I show a quick summary of the various stages of the portrait, beginning with the Verdaccio.…

Underpainting Stage for a Self-Portrait

Underpainting Stage for a Self-Portrait

Watch this video on YouTube Underpainting Stage for a Self-Portrait — ‘Nigredo’  by Damian Osborne   1 | How do you begin the underpainting stage of a portrait painting? 2 | Can you oil paint directly over charcoal? 3 | Making my own oil paint from Bloodstone   In this self-portrait oil painting, I start with a charcoal drawing, then make my own oil paint from bloodstone for the underpainting stage of the painting. This is a self-portrait oil painting called ‘Nigredo’. It comes from a pretty dark place. Nigredo is the first stage of the alchemist’s journey. The putrification. Annihilation.…

Making Your Own Refined Linseed Oil

Making Your Own Refined Linseed Oil

Watch this video on YouTube Making Your Own Refined Linseed Oil (Like the Old Masters) by Damian Osborne   1 | Linseed oil and yellowing 2 | Why make your own refined linseed oil? 3 | The salt and sand linseed oil refining process 4 | What you’ll need for refining linseed oil with the salt and sand method: 5 | How to refine linseed oil with the salt and sand method: 6 | What is the difference between cold-pressed, heat-bodied, sun-bleached, stand, and burnt-plate linseed oil for oil painting?   Making your own refined linseed oil as a medium for…

How to Create More Meaningful Art — Part 2

How to Create More Meaningful Art — Part 2

  How to Create More Meaningful Art — Part 2 by Damian Osborne     7 | Recording and painting your feelings — keeping a journal   8 | Get deep — explore your shadows   9 | Read soul-enriching books — the works of the visionaries and great thinkers 10 | Spend time communicating with nature 11 | Be comfortable with being alone 12 | Think about what is most precious to you   In case you missed it, this is a continuation from How to Create More Meaningful Art — Part 1 on habits I’ve been trying to stick…

How to Create More Meaningful Art — Part 1

How to Create More Meaningful Art — Part 1

  How to Create More Meaningful Art — Part 1 by Damian Osborne   1 | Getting serious about developing your artistic soul 2 | Draw in your sketchbook everyday 3 | Paint/draw from your own life 4 | Meditate and pray daily as an artist 5 | Close your social media accounts and reduce screen time (digital detox) 6 | Record and draw from your dreams   There’s usually a point in an artist’s life when they feel the compulsion to take stock of themselves and of their work, and to create more meaningful art.  Life is full of endless…

Making Your Own Canvas Panels for Oil Painting

Making Your Own Canvas Panels for Oil Painting

Watch this video on YouTube   Making Your Own Canvas Panels for Oil Painting by Damian Osborne   Making your own canvas panels is a great cost-saver when it comes to being a painter. This is how I make mine with my own homemade primer. Before the invention of oil painting on sailcloth canvas, artists during and before the Renaissance Period commonly painted on solid wooden panels. These were carefully selected pieces of hardwood, and painstakingly sized with hide glues and primed with gypsum or lead-based primers, in preparation for egg tempera or oil painting. Today, making your own canvas panels…

Best Ideas for Oil Painting Every Painter Should Try

Best Ideas for Oil Painting Every Painter Should Try

Watch this video on YouTube Best Ideas for Oil Painting Every Painter Should Try by Damian Osborne   So, you’re wondering what you should paint? Here are some of my personal favourite ideas for oil painting: 1 | Landscape painting 2 | Seascape painting 3 | Still life painting 4 | Figure painting 5 | Self-portrait painting 6 | Painting portraits of your friends and family 7 | Painting animals 8 | Dreams, fantasy, mythological, allegorical and imaginary painting Throughout the history of painting, artists have found inspiration for their art from these universal and personal subjects.     What were…

Alla Prima Still Life Painting Demo

Alla Prima Still Life Painting Demo

Watch this video on YouTube   Alla Prima Still Life Painting Demo by Damian Osborne   Painting an alla prima still life is a really valuable exercise for any artist. For this still life painting demo, I set up some apples in an African bowl. The painting was another still life commission for a collector in the U.K. In my last post, I showed how to stretch a canvas for painting. I showed how to make a strainer frame and talked about the differences between a strainer and stretcher frame, and the pros and cons of each for stretching canvas. I…

How to Stretch a Canvas for Painting — the Easy Way!

How to Stretch a Canvas for Painting — the Easy Way!

Watch this video on YouTube   How to Stretch a Canvas for Painting — the Easy Way! by Damian Osborne   As an artist, knowing how to stretch a canvas is important. Not only does it save you a lot of money. But by stretching and priming your own canvases, you’ll gain a better understanding of your materials, and the possible defects of painting in general. You’ll also learn of the various options available regarding painting supports. And, by stretching your own canvas, you’ll be assured of the quality of the materials at each step, since you’re the one who decides…

Weird Questions Beginner Oil Painters Ask

Weird Questions Beginner Oil Painters Ask

  Weird Questions Beginner Oil Painters Ask by Damian Osborne   1 | When does one do underpainting? And is that synonymous with a wash or blocking in? 2 | If you do an underpainting, what medium do you prefer to use? 3 | How many layers of oil paint can you pile on top of the underpainting? 4 | Do you paint an oil painting in subsequent layers by just adding more oil? Or is it more paint? 5 | Can I use acrylic under an oil painting? 6 | What is the difference between alkyd medium and linseed…

Alla Prima Portrait Study in Oils

Alla Prima Portrait Study in Oils

Watch this video on YouTube   Alla Prima Portrait Study in Oils by Damian Osborne   In this alla prima portrait study demo, I did an oil sketch of my sister in one sitting, using a limited palette. This quick oil portrait was done in my sketchbook, painting it wet-on-wet. I primed the paper with a basic white acrylic primer in order to paint my oil portrait studies. This is a great way to practice alla prima portrait painting in oils without the expense of canvas. Generally, an alla prima portrait sketch uses a limited palette (the Zorn Palette is…

How to Paint Flowers in Oils

How to Paint Flowers in Oils

Watch this video on YouTube   How to Paint Flowers in Oils by Damian Osborne   It’s time to paint flowers! I had these beautiful and exotic Amaryllis flowers from a house warming gift. They were blooming nicely. So I decided to paint them. The painting is a Christmas present for my mother-in-law. Flowers are easy to paint in oils since you can set them right up in front of you and paint them from life. If you’re new to oil painting, make sure you quickly read Beginning an Oil Painting – My 5 rules before you start. This is…

How to Draw an Abstract Drawing

How to Draw an Abstract Drawing

Watch this video on YouTube   How to Draw an Abstract Drawing (Abstract Still Life Drawing from Nature) by Damian Osborne     1 | What is abstract drawing? 2 | What is the point of abstract drawing exercises? 3 | Why is doodling important? 4 | What are the benefits of doodling? 5 | What is automatic drawing? 6 | What is abstract realism? 7 | How do you draw an abstract still life drawing? 8 | How are artists inspired by abstract patterns in nature? 9 | Isn’t all art abstract anyway? 10 | What is the role…

What is Gesture Drawing?

What is Gesture Drawing?

  What is Gesture Drawing? by Damian Osborne   Gesture drawing is quick, free flowing, simplified sketching of the human form. The drawing sessions are usually timed from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. They are normally done from a live model, hence the term ‘life drawings’. Usually, the model is in the nude, as this allows the artist to really observe and study the anatomy of the human form.      Gesture drawing practice Gesture drawing practice is the basis for artists learning to draw the human figure. It is the practice of drawing from life, not photos.  You can’t…

Those Bad Drawing Days

Those Bad Drawing Days

  Those Bad Drawing Days by Damian Osborne   Yup, it’s a bad drawing day. Those days when you just want to stab the paper with your pencil, or press so hard with your charcoal that it breaks. You grimace and shake your head. You keep tearing out pages and tossing them behind you. Why can’t I get anything right? Why does her face look like it was smooshed by a bus? And why do her hands look like claws? Her eyes look like they can see each other; her legs look like penne pasta.  Have you ever felt like…

Painting the Halftones – Painting the Figure – Part 2

Painting the Halftones – Painting the Figure – Part 2

Watch this video on YouTube   Painting the Halftones Painting the Figure – Part 2  by Damian Osborne   So, what are halftones in oil painting exactly? After I painted the grisaille (or ‘dead layer’) in the first chapter of this series, I was left with a cool grey, almost bluish skin tone because of the cooling effect white has over the raw umber imprimatura. So now I need to consider the values (light and dark), the colour hues (what actual local colours I need for the skin tones), and what colour temperatures I want to use for the skin,…

Where Do Artists Find Inspiration?

Where Do Artists Find Inspiration?

Watch this video on YouTube   Where Do Artists Find Inspiration? On finding inspiration as an artist; some art musings and studio soliloquies.  by Damian Osborne   While working on this painting of my wife, I decided to talk about where artists find  inspiration and the methods I use to overcome artist’s block. Well, this is where I get my inspiration from. Check out the video above to see some of the behind-the-scenes stuff while I’m working on this portrait.   Where do artists find inspiration? • From your own life • Being in nature • Looking at other art…

Being Authentic as an Artist

Being Authentic as an Artist

  Being Authentic as an Artist (and Not Stressing About Selling) by Damian Osborne   Why is selling art so difficult? Making art is difficult. Being an artist is difficult. Being authentic is difficult. It sounds like an enviable, romantic, easy life, and yes, making art does provide deep and important fulfillment. But believe me, it’s not all about wearing bandannas and dungarees, sipping wine during the day and flicking paint onto large canvases in spacious studios with lofty ceilings and 80’s rock blaring from the boombox. In most cases, creating art as a career is really not a financially…

Dealing with Criticism as an Artist (and Slapping Idiots)

Dealing with Criticism as an Artist (and Slapping Idiots)

  Dealing with Criticism as an Artist (and Slapping Idiots!) by Damian Osborne   Dealing with criticism as an artist is tough. But unless you’re able to deal with criticism in a manner that empowers, rather than defeats you, you’ll never ‘make it’ as an artist. In a way, I’m lucky that my wife doesn’t pander to my ego. And for that, I’m grateful. Although sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be hero-worshiped. LOL! I’d probably find it uncomfortable. Where’s the catch? I usually don’t agree with what she says, because I’m extremely stubborn and strong-willed. But…

Why Does Art Exist?

Why Does Art Exist?

Watch this video on YouTube   Why Does Art Exist? (A Painting is NOT Just a Picture – Part 2) by Damian Osborne   I continue asking my line of questions relating to What’s the Point of Art? in this second part of my ‘A Painting is NOT Just a Picture’ series. I have asked myself, what makes art vital? Why does art exist? You do you need art?    Why is Art so Vital? I spoke about the difficulties and travails of being an artist in the last post.  Why then are there still so many people in this world who feel…

What’s the Point of Art?

What’s the Point of Art?

Watch this video on YouTube   What’s the Point of Art Anyway? (A Painting is NOT Just a Picture) by Damian Osborne   In this two-part blog and video series on ‘A Painting is NOT Just a Picture’, I delve a little into my own personal take on what makes art good and the resurgence of representational art, why art is so hard, why art is so important, and basically, what’s the point of art? Because a painting is NOT just a picture hanging on the wall. Art is so much more vital to our lives and our society than…

Beginning an Oil Painting – My 5 rules

Beginning an Oil Painting – My 5 rules

  Beginning an Oil Painting – My 5 Rules by Damian Osborne   Before even beginning an oil painting, I have 5 rules as an artist for this year. Hopefully I will maintain them strictly for the rest of my life. Art isn’t easy. While you don’t really have a boss to report to for work, it can definitely be exhausting to keep pushing yourself. The many voices inside can gang up on you. Sometimes you have to dig really deep to get working on that painting, to find your inspiration, to give your best 100% of the time. To…

Painting a Portrait with the Zorn Palette

Painting a Portrait with the Zorn Palette

  Painting a Portrait with the Zorn Palette by Damian Osborne   I gave a live portrait demonstration with the Zorn palette at the Blaauwberg Art Society in Cape Town. The model was my friend Rohan and the duration of the demo was about an hour and 20 minutes. It was quite intense giving a demo lesson to a room full of artists. Especially since I was trying to create a near enough likeness of Rohan in a really short time. And talk about my process while painting. And so, for my first ever live portrait demonstration, I learnt quite…

Searching for Meaning: Where Does Art Come From?

Searching for Meaning: Where Does Art Come From?

  Searching for Meaning: Where Does Art Come From? by Damian Osborne   We’re all searching for meaning. And artists, at their core, are visual philosophers. Yet, the ‘art world’ is so full of pretenders. The funny thing is, many artists, and curators, draw a blank when searching for meaning in their art. Let’s say that you only have a month to live. When last have you looked at a painting or listened to a piece of music, read a novel or poem that moved you at your core? When it made you look around at your world and realise…

Who Am I and What Am I Doing as a Full-Time Artist?

Who Am I and What Am I Doing as a Full-Time Artist?

  Who Am I and What Am I Doing as a Full-Time Artist? by Damian Osborne   This is my first blog post as a full-time artist and marks the beginning of a new journey. I have girded myself with all the inspiration and optimistic hope necessary to believe that this is going to be a great and revolutionary path for me.   The reality of suddenly finding myself as a full-time artist That’s it! I just quit my job! And I’m now a full-time artist. As perhaps you could imagine, after the initial hurrah of leaping forth, I struggle…