Why Oil?

When oil painting was invented during the early Renaissance in Europe, artists quickly latched on to this medium as a favorite due to the variety of intense colors and the rich luminosity that can be achieved; oils are unlike any other painting medium. Throughout the history of oil painting there has been much experimentation with texture and application of the paint and even with the surfaces onto which the paint is applied. A variety of stories can be told in just the brush stroke, or the palette knife texture, or even the finger smudge. In addition to being an aesthetic favorite of artists, the archival quality of oil painting is high, one reason why so many treasured oil paintings throughout history have survived until today.

I enjoy impasto painting with a brush or palette knife. At times I have used my hands. I also enjoy playing with rich colors and experimenting with tenebrism. In oil painting, my approach is from dark to light, whereas with watercolor, my approach is from light to dark. Even so, I find it helpful to create watercolor studies before I begin my oil paintings to iron out composition and color scheme. Oftentimes clients appreciate these studies just as much as the finished oil paintings themselves, giving the studies value as paintings in their own right.

My inspirations for oil painting are John Singer Sargent, Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema, Caravaggio, Robert Henri, Jan Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jo Ellen Bailey, and my father, Stuart Lassetter. And from the Italian Renaissance and Northern Renaissance, I can’t deny that I’ve marveled at the oil techniques of Leonardo da Vinci, Jan van Eyck, Fra Filippo Lippi, Sandro Botticelli, and Rogier Van der Weyden.

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