Over the break, I finally started trying to paint with oil. Getting back into the swing of painting was hard as I have not done it in a while. My art teacher died back in grade 5, and I frankly wasn’t too invested in painting flowers and buildings to join another studio.


I honestly didn’t know what I was doing when I made the first one. I sketched the picture, and then started painting the eyes, then the skin, and then the hair and background. This is how Ms. Kim explained the large misfortune that this painting is:

“Can I see the picture that you used? Yes, that picture has a very cold hue to it. Usually images will either be too blue, or red, or green, and will look unnatural.”

  • White hat: knowledge of different types of hues

Me: “He does look a quite sick…”

  • Black hat: he was not meant to look sick, therefore there is a fault in this
  • Red hat: I feel uneasy that I made him look sick; he didn’t deserve this

“But you did a good job deciphering the different tones [on the nose] and [chin]. The blending is really rough, though. I do like how you improvised with the background.”

  • Yellow hat: some aspects of this turned out, therefore we can appreciate that and focus on what to improve
  • Blue hat: this is what I think about your painting, so we will know what we need to talk about more later

Me: “I watched different painting videos, and in each one what the artist did was they took a small area of the face worked their way out around in really small strokes. Then the paint would blend nicely because it would still be very oily.”

  • White hat: this is a common painting strategy; very useful information

Me: On the first one I tried to layer the tones and shades first and blend them with thinner, which didn’t work. The thinner makes the paint a lot lighter, and it becomes very translucent and patchy too.”

  • Black hat: point out the fault in the strategy

“Certainly. The second one is a little smoother and the tones are better.”

  • Yellow hat: finding value in improvement in the second painting

Me: “I still need to wait for the paint to dry and then re try the skin. I realized that the paint got progressively darker as time went on, so the chin is so dark that it looks like a beard.”

  • Black hat: points out the fault
  • Red hat: My mom doesn’t have a beard… I don’t enjoy this transmogrification

“Make sure to wait a couple days, so your first layer doesn’t come up. Did you apply gesso to this?”

  • White hat: facts about how paint dries
  • Blue hat: asking for information in order or organize understanding of situation

Me: “I don’t have any, so I did acrylic.”

  • Green hat: uses creativity to work around a situation and encourages mentor to add information onto this for brainstorm

“Gesso similar to a primer that you would use for makeup. It makes sure that the canvas does not absorb the oil, which is one of the reasons why your paint became so chalky. Acrylic should work alright, too.”

  • White hat: information about supplies

Me: “Okay… How do you do hair though?”

  • Green hat: asking for more information, designs, and possibilities

“So see for this [first] one, the hair is in small chunks that are very unrealistic. Normally you would have a larger triangular section and there would be shade under it. You need to apply a base, and only after it dries you should come back with a really fine brush to do the details. You should draw each small hair individually, adding darker lines and highlights. Don’t make them perfect; they usually aren’t.”

  • White hat: strategies
  • Black hat: helps dodge anticipated problems


At any rate, I have higher hopes for the second painting. I also need to pick up the pace if I want to have a sufficient amount of work displayed at in-depth.