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Ozark Pigments in Oils | First Paintings

For a long time I’ve wanted to try painting in oils, and I’ve wanted to see how the Ozark pigments in oils would look. My biggest hope was that the colors were more vivid and I would be able to layer more paint into a painting. My biggest fear was the mess it would make, and the chemicals and materials involved that I can’t produce for myself here.

But after a little research I learned some things that eased my fears. First of all, I don’t have to use turpentine or other synthetic supplies (except tubes for storing the paint). Second, and most importantly, there is a source of drying oil I could conceivably make at home if I needed to: perilla seeds. That last one was the thing that really pushed me over the edge of trying. So, last week I bit the bullet and gave it a go.

I made myself a palette of some colors to start with. For now I’m using linseed oil because that’s what I have on hand. I also have some walnut oil to try later, too. And as soon as I can order some perilla seed oil, that’s the one I’m really most interested in trying. Perilla is a weed here and it grows everywhere. I could actually harvest enough seeds to press oil from them.

Ozark Pigments in Oils

How did they look? One thing I found is that there’s less variation between the shades, so I may need to learn how to work with that. Or it may be that I haven’t made enough of the paints to see the variations yet. This is just a start. It’s really hard to get a smooth, thick paint with just a muller so eventually I’d like to get a triple roll mill. They’re a few thousand for a used one, though, so it’s out of the budget. It’s on my wish list, though! In the meantime, I’ll use my rough paints.

The first set of Ozark pigments in oils.
The first set of Ozark pigments in oils

So the next thing to do was try to make a painting. I’m hoping as I learn to make the paints better that my paintings will also get better. But I gave it a shot and produced the first painting with Ozark pigments in oils.

Mushrooms from my Morning Mile

In fall I see a lot of mushrooms while I’m taking my morning mile. I jog to the mailbox (1/2 mile) and then walk back to the house. The walk is more of a lookabout, and I keep eyes peeled for good rocks, or other things. Like mushrooms. Here’s the three I chose to use for my first three paintings. I chose all mushrooms so even if it’s not great work, it’s still a cohesive set if I decide to sell them.

Painting Shaggy

I saw this mushroom this morning and decided it would be the first thing I’d try to paint. Here’s the progression of that so far. I’ll let it dry for a few days to several days and then see if I can add more color. My paints are too thin to do alla prima well, I think. Or maybe it’s just me. But until I get a 3-roll mill, I think the paints are just going to be thin and less than perfect. It still is making a fair painting, though.

Painting No. 2 with Ozark pigments in oils

So this one isn’t going to look much like the photo I’m using for reference. I’ve come to accept that what I paint just isn’t necessarily what I see. It is what it is. All I care about now is to make it something I like, regardless of how close to the photo or actual object/scene the end result is.

Three for Three

Just getting started on this one.


I’m calling this new phase of my life in art PATIENCE. I am learning it in all aspects, really, not just with art. But as it applies to my art, I’ll definitely need to cultivate a lot of it. Right now the first two paintings are drying so I can work on them some more. My paints are too thin to do alla prima. So I have to work in layers until I can learn to work with oilier oils better. I messed up right off the bat with some thick areas of paint where I should have stayed with thin washes until the end. But I’m learning, and it’s fun.


Update 9/14/22 – just added the second pass of the third mushroom. All three of them need to dry a lot. Right now they’re too wet to work with more. When I paint on them again, it’ll just be to add some fine details, and then I’ll post the final pics! So far, after a messy start, I can say that I think I’m going to like working with the Ozark pigments in oils. On the first passes, I wasn’t sure it was going to work and I was pretty discouraged. But after doing the second passes, that’s where the color really begins to show up and the canvas was less obvious. I can’t wait to do more.

UPDATE 6/2023: I didn’t get to try oils again until Jan 2023 and after some practice, found that I really love it a lot. I most likely will focus on the Ozark pigments in oils for the rest of my art career. Watercolors are still a practice I’ll keep when I want to do something quick and portable, but eventually I’d like to start taking the oils out to try some plein air, too.

If you’d like to see the later works, here’s the one I’m most proud of at the moment. It’s the largest thing I’ve done yet. Oh, and I did end up buying titanium powder so I could make opaque white that serves to help me create more values between the shades of colors I have. Click on the raven painting to see the process for it.

My raven painting in a repurposed frame of excellent quality.



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