April 22, 2013

I finished my painting! + Oil painting supplies & free printables

Well, the painting I thought I'd never finish is done! It's a relief to have a project off my to-do list that's been there for, uh, four years. I reeeaally dragged this one out.

It's nice to have something big and colorful hanging on the main focal wall in my living room. I have been bugged with the emptiness for as long as I've lived here.

The painting is of a street/river in Recife, Brazil, where my husband served a church mission. It's a special place to him and I thought it was pretty, so I painted it. Who doesn't love colorful buildings?

The evolution of the painting

I tried to show the impasto (raised texture) of the paint here, but it's hard to photograph.

A friend asked me if I was going to blog about the materials I use and any tips I have for oil painting, so I figured I'd share what I think might be useful. I'm no expert, obviously, but knowing that an ordinary person like me can paint should be encouraging, right?

You can see from the picture above that I have a hodgepodge of paint brands, brushes, and supplies. Most of the paint was given to me and some are 10+ years old. I did buy the Utrecht brand paints while I was in an oil painting class in college because the teacher said they were her favorite (they are good). The color is rich and super creamy and goes a long way. But most oil paint is that way to an extent, which is why I like it.

I really like to use these paper palette sheets with a closable container to keep the paint from drying up. It's nice for when you take a few days off (or more). The palette knife is what you want to use for mixing paint colors--not a brush because more paint is likely to be wasted that way and get into the metal base of the brush.

To oil paint, you also need some paint thinner (odorless is best) in a jar, a board or canvas, and somewhere to prop the canvas (I use an easel, but you could do without). Most importantly, don't be intimidated! Even if you start with abstracts just to get used to the medium, they can end up being beautiful if you use rich colors that you love. The great thing about oil painting is that you can't mess up. You can cover up mistakes over and over again, unlike watercolor or other media that are less forgiving.

I also hung up some prints on my other walls so they'd be all balanced out. I got most of these from Vintage Printable, a good source for free public domain images that you can do whatever you want with. I'll share the source for each image below.

I tried to hang the pictures in pairs of similar color schemes. It's harder to see the colors with the glare from the glass and the low lighting. I hung them using these frames from Walmart. Each set of six was only $12, and I bought a full sized white matboard for $7 and cut it myself with a mat cutter, so with the free prints (and I was able to get them printed for free too), it was a very affordable way to put some art on the wall. Plus, it was really fun for me to browse the Vintage Printable website forever to choose the art. :)

Top: here and here
Middle: vintage family photograph and here

 Top: Carl Bloch public domain image and here
Middle: here and here
Bottom: here and here

Hooray for pictures on the walls! Ivy's room is next. I've chosen some old children's book illustrations that I love, along with some more free printables and some of my art from when I was younger.


  1. Woohoo! It looks beautiful, Lisa! Well done. I like the prints too.

  2. Am glad you blogged about it. I love the painting and the colors in your living room compliment each other very well.

  3. Beautiful! I just love the way you decorate!

  4. Love it! Your home is so cute and all of your handcrafting really adds a wonderful touch!!

  5. Oh my gosh, how beautiful. Love the vibrant colors. So much time that must have taken!
    from The Dugout

  6. Hi Lisa,

    Such a great idea...for people who know how to paint (no me of course). Loved the colors you used.



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