You Can Paint!


Jesus saith unto him,

I am the way, the truth, and the life:

 no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

- John 14: 6

Lesson Four  Oil Painting

I had never thought one day I could learn oil painting, for I always believed it was a very difficult and deep thing.

In the city of Putian where I had been an English teacher, there were many oil painting workshops, where many young people were hired to copy famous paintings to sell in the market. A friend of mine introduced me to such a workshop. Seeing others painting everyday soon acquainted me with the use of colors, brushes and canvas, and put an eagerness in me to learn oil painting.

The master of the workshop let me start from copying a painting. I tried but felt it too hard. So I went to the bookshop to buy a book for beginners. I did find such a good book.

It was Basic Lessons of Oil Painting by Wendon Blake. The book was composed by 12 lessons, arranged from simple to difficult, teaching how to paint still life, floral, different types of landscape and portraits. In each lesson there was an example, followed by simple and clear instructions showing how the work was done.

So I learned lesson by lesson, following the instructions painted one example after another. With the advance of each lesson, I felt my progress and was eager to learn the next. How much fun I felt with the learning, and how enriched!

Soon I finished the book. What should I do next? The master of the workshop suggested I copy paintings again, which I did but still felt very hard. I couldn't paint a bit like the original, color, proportion, everything went wrong.  I did worse and worse, and felt more and more discouraged. As soon as I took up the brush I felt wrong, and no sooner had I touched the canvas than I made one mistake after another, until I made a mess on it.

I felt very painful and discouraged, in the end I had to leave the workshop with the feeling that I could never learn oil painting.

I went home. At home, I began to make experiment with pastel. At first I would imitate some pictures that I loved and stuck them on the walls, which looked quite nice. Then I went out to draw sketching. After some time, one day I suddenly felt an impulse to pick up oil painting again. So I took out brushes and canvas, chose a simple painting to copy. I no longer felt afraid and was quite encouraged by the outcome.

So I did some more copies, from simple to more complicated, feeling more and more at ease. Once or twice, I even painted from the sketches I did with pastel. Thus I found again the fun and love for painting. It always drawed my heart closer to God and made me love Him more, it enabled me to appreciate more the silent beauty of God's creation, it made my heart long for those pure and beautiful things, and put a wish in it to love others more.

Later because of work, I could not continue to paint, but I still tried to do some pencil drawing now and then. I hope one day I may take up oil painting again and enjoy the fun of it!


Some of My Oil Paintings


Do you like them? (Comment: All are imitations except the last three, which are my own works.)


Oil Paintings by my Favorite Artists


Previous Lesson Chinese Version Next Lesson