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Saturday, December 20, 2008

How About That!

I often tell people that I rarely win anything. Of course, saying that encourages people to buy a chance from me whenever I have a handful to sell or if I’ve just spent a few bucks to buy some chances! 8-) My wife Barb is always reminding me that “…it just isn’t true!” She says I win a lot. After all, didn’t I win the prettiest gal in high school? And, of course, I have to agree with her on that one!

Well, despite the fact that I did get the prettiest gal in school I continue to complain about my luck. Then, I’ll be darn if something really nice happens to me! I win!

Just last month, in October, the Regional Artist Project of Northwest North Arts Councils picked me out as a recipient of one of their prestigious grant awards. My project was actually funded as a cooperative venture of Alleghany Arts Council, Ashe County Arts Council, Watauga County Arts Council, and Cultural Arts Council of Wilkes with support from a Regional Artist Project Grant of the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency.

The grant enabled me to attend three different workshops on the use of water soluble oil paints, all presented by the nationally recognized expert in multiple media, Sean Dye of Burlington, Vermont. Sean is especially well noted for his water soluble oils! The three workshops were held just 200 miles from my studio in Raleigh, North Carolina. The workshops were without a doubt the best I have ever attended. I learned so much over that short weekend in November that I can’t wait every morning to start painting.

My art has taken on a new dimension and energy! It has been twenty years since I’ve dabbled in oil paint, and now water soluble oils have made it possible again. As a result of my workshop experience I learned that a finished painting created with water soluble oil paints looks, feels, and smells like an oil painting. And, the most exciting part of this discovery is the elimination of messy clean up, end of noxious fumes and a brilliance of color that is nearly impossible to get with watercolors. I will be able to create oil paintings without the potential health hazards that actual oil paints and chemical solvents produce.

I’ve already begun to experiment with this new media and I’m anxious to get a few ready to show.

All I can say is, thanks to the Regional Artist Project of Northwest North Arts Councils for this opportunity and thanks to Sean Dye for his excellent workshops. Check out Sean’s website here on my Blog.



P.S. If you haven’t tried Water Soluble Oil paints I recommend you at least try them. I think you will be pleased with the outcome.


  1. First, congratulations on the grant, that is just fantastic. You must have been chuffed as mintballs :)

    I have never tried water soluble oil paints, kind of nervous about it. Can I use them with my regular oil paints or would I have to use them in the same way as acrylics (use them first and then oil on top).

  2. JafaBrit,

    Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you.

    Your question about oil and the new water soluble oil was a good one. Sean Dye, my WSO instructor,
    devoted most of chapter one in his book, "Painting with Water Soluble Oils" to that very subject.
    Really too much information to put in an e-mail. However, like all things man made, there is a way
    to mix the two. The problem is the oils used in oil paint aren't the sames as that used in WSO.
    So mixing the two often results in screwing up the very benefits that WSO offers in the first
    place, like no smells, easy water wash up and so on. Most of the mediums used for hundreds of years
    in regular oil paints doesn't work well with WSO. I'd say, that using layers of either paint (like you mentioned when using acrylics and then WSO) would not keep them from binding together. It is when they are both still wet, that the problems
    occur. I hope that answers your questions. I would recommend getting your hands on Sean's book for a great overall explanation of many such questions you might have. It should be in your library or you are welcome to drop by my studio here in North Carolina for a peek.