Slowly but Surely

I have mixed emotions about today’s oil painting. I like it, but I don’t love it. It’s got a lot of good things, I think, but it’s got its flaws, too. That’s to be expected, of course. With each painting I do, I realize how far I’ve come in a very short time, and yet I also realize how very far I have to go.


I like the sky. Maybe it could use a little more blending, or maybe I need to add more brilliant titanium white …or maybe it’s fine the way it is. For the most part, I feel comfortable painting skies, and I am usually pleased with the result. That doesn’t mean I can’t improve, but it does give me a good feeling to look at the skies and clouds in my paintings and like what I see.

Mountains. I’m learning. What can I say? Sometimes my hills and mountains look good. Other times, I can’t get them right no matter what I do. I wiped this mountain range out a couple of times before I finally got a few peaks I could live with. But then, I totally forget about putting in any foothills. I should definitely have painted in a distant tree line. I was so relieved to finally have the mountains about right that my brain just skipped over everything else, I guess.

I’m definitely struggling with trees. Once in a while, they look right. Most of the time, they’re either too shaggy or too sparse, too big or too small, too lopsided, too crooked, too dark, or too light. I know trees don’t grow perfectly straight and tall. I know their branches aren’t symmetrical. I do want my trees to have a little character to them, but I’m not to that point yet. I’m still trying to get the basic shapes and sizes right. It all takes time.

In some respects, I like the foreground, but then…do I have the light in the right places? I think my shadows are going the wrong direction, and I was never completely certain if those were supposed to be rocks or bushes along the edge. Sometimes they looked like bushes. Other times, I saw rocks. I dabbled with both ideas and ended up with something in between. Bushy rocks. Or maybe they’re rocky bushes.

All in all, despite the missteps and imperfections, I was fairly pleased with this “Mountain View”. I plan to keep painting mountain peaks until I feel really comfortable with them. After that, I’ll move on to those pesky trees and try to improve on them. I’ll work on lakes. I’ll do a few river scenes. Gradually I’ll even start adding in buildings and people. Animals, too.

I’m in no rush to do it all at once. I’m enjoying this new oil-painting journey, and I like taking my step-by-step approach. Slowly, but surely, I’m getting to where I’ve always wanted to be.

Note: I mentioned in one post that I would be signing my oil paintings. I’ve been trying…really, I have. I just haven’t managed to sign my paintings in a way that I like. On this painting, I signed my name three times, and wiped it away because it just didn’t “look right”. One more thing to learn!


  1. I love these posts… I use to oil paint often (my father is an oil painter) and I can relate to all that you are writing. I love to watch your progression and your analysis of your works.

    You are inspiring me…I have not picked up a brush for 3 or 4 years but I think maybe during Christmas I will paint something (probably will turn out horrible but without practice that is what happens). Please keep up these posts!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yes, please do pick up those brushes again! Nothing makes me happier than knowing my journey has inspired others. I’m so glad you’re following my progress, and I hope to keep improving. Please, feel free to offer any suggestions. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Cathy. I’m moving closer toward being the artist I’ve always wanted to be, and I intend to keep practicing, practicing, practicing. I am really loving oils, and I look forward to painting every day.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can see how well-suited oils are for you! The paintings you’ve done these past weeks are amazing and truly beautiful! I bet they look fantastic when they pick up the natural light in the room!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have several I’m planning to frame. It will be nice to see them hanging on the wall. Several family members want one of my oil paintings, so I will be busy painting. It’s a nice feeling when I see my art on other people’s walls or when someone asks me to do a drawing or painting for them. I never thought that would ever happen LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

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