Ode to Oil Paint

In trying to get together the live action painting business, I invested in some oil paint sticks.  They’re oil paint that you can actually roughly draw with.

So just to see what it felt like I tried one.  What I didn’t expect was to be so affected by the aroma.

As with everyone, sometimes a certain odor will transport me back into time.

The smell of oil paint took me back to my student and early career days.  It brought back all the enthusiasm and hope.

I think at some point, most artists have worked in oil.  The exception is digital art.  For me, I worked painting nude figures, a typical part of an artist’s training. The smell of the paint took me back to the Art Student’s League, when both art and New York City were new experiences.

Also, oil paint makes me think of my former teacher, Freda Dreany, probably the most selfless person I ever met.  She took me under her wing, and taught me a lot.  She supported herself doing portraits in different media.  Her home always smelled of oil paint and turpentine.

In fact, her home was a stopover for a lot of creative young people, needing a place to stay.  With all those artistically minded people around, it was a stimulating time of my  life.

So, such are the memories of the smell of oil paint. Of course, I did not pursue painting in oils for a number of practical reasons.  But oh, the smell.


  1. Wonderful to read your thoughts, Roxy! As we discussed briefly, oil paint does have such a unique smell…and the even stronger is its’ ability to conjure up memories from so long ago.

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