Search
  • Arleana Holtzmann

"Augusta Beloved" for the History Plein Air Paint Out and why I haven't painted with oils until now.

11"x14" Oil Painting "Augusta Beloved"

It was the fourth day of the Augusta Plein Air Festival, and I was feeling inspired by all of the other artist's beautiful oil paintings. I had tried oil painting twice before. Once in my first college painting class and again many years later in studio. Both times I got horrible headaches, felt ill, and found it not to be worth the pain it caused. So I gave up on oils all together until this event. Wanting to try it again, I looked into alternatives. I knew there were now water soluble oil paints, but found they still gave me headaches. But I came across M. Graham's Walnut Oil Paints. No solvents, only Walnut oil. Seeing as I am not allergic to Walnuts, I decided to give oil painting one more try with this product. I purchased the starter kit and took the paints out to Augusta with me. My first oil painting was at Balducci Vineyards, which turned out great, and sold at the Harmonie Verein in Augusta! Plus (SUPER BONUS) no headache!

So I decided to give the Walnut Oil paints another try. Seeing as I do not have experience with oil paints, I still have a lot to learn. But practice makes perfect, right?!

For my second oil painting, I chose to use the Walnut Oil Paints for the Augusta History Paint Out on Sunday, April 25th. The event was from 8am-Noon that day, so I didn't have very much time to work. I arrived at 8am to check in and got my canvas stamped.

Historic buildings in Augusta, Missouri
A possible painting scene from the town of Augusta

I drove around the town of Augusta looking for Historic Buildings when I accidentally almost left the town and came across the Cemetery.

Cemetery in Augusta, Missouri
A picture I took while painting as the shadows changed

More than any building could provide, I felt an emotional connection to the history of Augusta through the cemetery. This was where the history was, so I decided to paint here. It had taken me quite a while to find an inspirational scene, so I was left with only an hour and a half to paint. I had to save the last half an hour to frame and deliver my painting to the event.

When I started the painting, there wasn't a cloud in the sky. No shadows. I could hear the birds chirping, the warm sun provided heat on the cool spring morning. As the sun moved, shadows from the trees behind me branched towards the scene. I took a photo at that time to possibly paint that at a later time. It was a truly beautiful place full of beauty and peace.

While painting, I was extremely mindful of where I was. I thought of loved ones I have lost including family, friends, and acquaintances. I thought of all of the people who have lost their lives during this pandemic and those still fighting covid.

As I started painted, I came to realize I didn't want the painting to be dark or gloomy, I wanted to convey the beauty that I was witnessing at that moment. Using bright colors, I matched what I saw around me. From the beautiful blue sky and the bright green spring grass, to the pinks, purples, and light oranges on the gravestones.

While I didn't win any awards and my painting was immensely different than everyone else's for this event, I felt proud that I could represent what I did.

The painting is currently available for purchase here. No prints or copies will be made of this painting.

While I still have a lot to learn about oil painting, I think I've found an oil paint in M. Graham's Walnut Oil Paints that I can learn to paint with. The possibility of finally learning to oil paint is exciting!

Thanks for reading about this experience. I'm so happy to have you with me on my journey!