Falling In Love With Oil Painting

Iris in Vase: Oil Painting on Canvas

Iris in Vase: Oil Painting on Canvas (8x10 inches)

Oil painting has always intimidated me. I guess, somehow, I started thinking that only "Proper Artists" can paint in oils.

I tried to overcome that crazy notion about 12 years ago when I took my first oil painting class at one of the top art schools in Singapore, when I was living there. It was only an evening class for beginners and while I did like the smooth buttery feel of the paint, the whole experience put me off oils even more. I felt that it's just such a tough medium to master. And, I get impatient from setting up, waiting for paints to dry in-between layers, and cleaning up. So, I stuck with acrylics and watercolours.

Fast forward to early 2013, when I ended up signing up for a boutique art school here in Adelaide. I decided to study art again, after many years of not doing art all that much due to becoming a mum, work, and other life commitments.

In that class, we were asked to choose between acrylics and oils for our painting sessions. I nearly chose acrylics, but then, I reminded myself that the reason I wanted to go back to art classes was to get out of my creative comfort zone. So, I opted for oils.

And, for the first time, I felt like I actually made peace with oil painting. I didn't create anything amazing, but I felt amazing while creating. And, that's part of the point, isn't it?

However, life got in the way again and I ended up putting aside the oil paints once more.

Then, after returning from the Italy trip (with the folks from the same art studio I joined last year), I ended up back in art class. And painting in oils.

End of Back-to-Basics art class for me today. This is my version of the monochromatic painting for this term. Oil on canvas. Interesting to paint the same subjects in a different way. Will share other paintings from this term some time...

Bottle and Jars in Orange Monochrome: Oil on Canvas (12x16in)


I ended up working on four paintings - but only finished the one above so far (the orange bottles). I'm still in the process of completing the other pieces.

I was doing these four paintings over an eight-week period, taking classes at the studio once a week. Yes, I'm not a fast painter! And, that's something I'm trying to work on right now. That's why I'm making time to paint nearly every day now.

But no, I am not yet committing to a daily oil painting just yet - but it's something I'm hoping to work towards.

The Iris painting at the top of this post is one of the paintings I've worked on a bit quicker than my usual pace. I think it's partly because I'm getting the hang of painting in oils. I still have heaps to learn. But, I'm going to admit now that I've slowly fallen in love with it. And, I'm going to try to share more of my oil painting adventures whenever I can.

About the Author Shai Coggins

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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