Why I began painting: Art and Depression

It was at one of the lowest points in my life that I decided to start painting. For as long as I can remember, I have always found solace in art but from studying Art at GCSE in school and only ever working in acrylics, I had (stupidly) convinced myself that I couldn't paint. I had preconceived notions of oil paints being difficult to master as only the true masters of art were familiar with this medium.

Up until my mum suggested I should try painting with oils, I never really even considered experimenting with them. With my self-esteem and confidence plummeting daily, I knew that I needed to express my emotions in a visual way, as words were failing me at this moment in time. So I did what any amateur would do and youtubed a few videos on 'how to start out in oil paints' and then got to work on my first ever oil painting.

From the onset, I knew that I wanted to paint a ballerina but wasn't sure of how to go about it. After one or two hours of procrastinating, I searched the internet for some inspiration and found a reference photo to work from. I chose a black and white image to make life easier for myself.

'WhiteSwan' (2013) by Rhymes&Oils

'WhiteSwan' (2013) by Rhymes&Oils

At the time, I can distinctly recall using far too much oil paint than I needed to - a little goes a long way in oil painting! I also had some trouble painting the ballerina's face. After perhaps, my thirteenth try of painting over the face, I was finally content with how it looked. Also with this painting, I wasn't too concerned with mixing correct facial tones (which is why I used a lot of olive green in the skin tone). If you were to ask me which part I enjoyed painting the most, it would be the ballerina's tutu, which I painted with a palette knife, slowly building up the layers in titanium white paint. I wanted to keep the background simple so I smothered it in burgundy paint - knowing that a warm background would contrast well against the mainly cold palette that I had used.

During this time, by no means was I ready to take my art seriously, nor was I ready for the great reception it received after posting it on my personal facebook. But thanks to all the encouraging comments I received from family and friends, I started my second piece of my Dancers series, which I had already intended to paint.