Inspiration: London, England

MAY 10/ by The Wanderlust Collective /Art, Art Travel, Inspiration, Oil Painting

Wanderlust Art & Travel - Beginner’s Edition Oils

London bridge is falling down...falling down...falling down...Did you ever play this game growing up? I did many times with my sisters. This was the only time I really thought about London, and never imagined ’d be traveling there.

I’ve been to London several times, and each time I have a different experience. As always, my goal is to learn history and find creative inspirations, and it never disappoints. This time I wanted to dig a bit deeper and explore. It was an amazing experience traveling to Stonehenge, standing in front of this magnificent prehistoric monument. Walking into huts that people lived in, I learned so much.

Driving to Avebury Village, a town encircled by the prehistoric monument complex known as well... Avebury. I must say it was fun, and inspiration was abundant, but the biggest intrigue fact was discovering that Van Gogh lived in London, and worked as an art dealer for a gallery.

I’ve been to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, but learning about him in London was a different experience for me. After visiting the National Art Gallery and looking at Van Goghs works his influence hit me yet again. Everywhere I went I thought...would Van Gogh paint this landscape? Or what would this look like if Van Gogh painted it. Seems like I have a case of the impressionist bug. I feel like he challenges me to step out of my comfort zone, and see things in a different perspective. That’s one of the things I’ve gained from my travels, taking these influences and challenging myself with my art.

This time I wanted to really explore his techniques so I chose oils for this inspiration piece. I really pushed myself to see things differently and to take a different approach with the medium...Van Gogh style. I love dissecting paintings, and asking myself questions like what was the artist thinking when he made this particular stroke with the brush? What time of day was it when he painted this scene, and what was the weather like? This was the approach I took with oils.

"All you need to paint is a few tools, a little instruction, and a vision in your mind."

Bob Ross

Oil Paints

When many beginners hear oil paints they immediately think it’s too difficult of a medium. So, I wanted to take a minute to simplify this mysterious paint. Oil paint is just a mix of binder, pigment, and thinner. Pigment is the color, binder is the oil that holds the ground up pigment to apply to the canvas. You add thinner to make it easier to apply with a brush. It dries by reacting to oxygen in the air and changing from liquid to gel and finally gets hard.

Artists have been painting in oils for hundreds of years, and I feel that they are more popular today because of their versatility, colors and quality. Getting started is not hard at all. Although there are a bit more steps to take than watercolors and acrylics, it’s still easy to use. Drying time takes longer, and as you get used to the medium you’ll find that each brand is different in characteristic, saturation of color and so on. I always push the beginner to start out small. This way you don’t have to overthink it. Play with oils, test out adding thinner to dilute it, and create washes. Practice with the brushes and get to know what it’s like to use the paint. This will give you the confidence to jump on a bigger canvas.

Tips for Beginners

Canvas Preparation

I think that the surface we work on in oils is a pretty important step in achieving a successful painting. It’ll determine how difficult the flow of your art piece will be. There are many surfaces you can work on. Priming your surface is important. If you don’t prime canvas, your oils will basically eat right through it. Meaning, it will deteriorate and fall apart. So…if you purchase a canvas give it two or three coats of paint. This will seal off any crevices and the paint will flow much nicer allowing you to blend nicely.


Yup, you read right, repetition is everything. Be brave and jump in and paint forms, like an apple, peach, or cherry. You want to look for values, shapes, colors within your subject. Play with paints, and experiment. Then, paint the same subject again, this time using anything you learned from the first painting to help you along. As you do this you will gain confidence, and create work you love.

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Happy Creating!



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