Returning to Oil: The Prequel

About this time last year I was blogging about my return to oil painting. Long ago in my life two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I instinctively took one rather than the other. I became a writer, pouring all the creativity into words. But, when I was seventeen with that shiny new paint box, I had not made that choice. This week I found the canvases I executed then. And, wow! My teen self had some serious chops! Have a look at this:


I remember painting this. It was done in Hong Kong. This is the road around the mountain from the harbor side over the pass to Repulse Bay, where my high school was. You can see I’ve been combating this besetting weakness for thalo green and Naples yellow for many many years.


This one I cannot place. It may well have been a landscape in Munich Germany. I’m still trapped in the mire of green and yellow. But wow! From where did this crazy diagonality come? This was executed with a palette knife (which I still have) and this is clearly my tool. I was right. A large canvas, the knife, lots of paint, that’s the way for me. (That tree at the left front. Not green. Some other color needed in there. Naples yellow? No stop that. Purple…)


This surely is an art class assignment. A pointillist apple! and finally,


That classic perennial of the art student, copying the masters. This is Monet’s The Bridge at Argenteuil, executed on a 9 x 12 canvas. It looks really real. I would believe that 17-year-old knew what she was doing. When the roads diverge in the wood (which is Naples yellow) you pick one, and you can’t go back. But, dammit, I am an SF writer. I can postulate an alternate universe, where somewhere a grouchy painter in her 60s is picking the oil paints off her jeans and wondering why she didn’t stick with the writing…




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