When You Cannot Afford Art, Make Your Own

Oil painting of small pond with an island of trees in the middle. Mountains of trees in the background.

Hanging paintings on the wall of your home was once seen as a status symbol. Nowadays, everyone can just about afford to get some print or another, but truly impressive art can still be prohibitive cost-wise. The best place to find neat pieces are at local shows and events. However, groceries and other bills still take precedence. So, what is a homeowner to do if they want to hang a few oil paintings to spruce up the place?

Well, they make their own, of course!

Thus, began my foray into oil painting. I have dabbled in drawing in the past, taking an art class or two, but painting with oil is a wild beast that I have never attempted to tame. I figured that, with a little practice, I might be able to turn out something decent enough to adorn a wall or two in my home.

Last night, I brought all of my $20 worth of supplies into my home office — yes, I went very cheap for my beginner-level attempt. I set the pre-stretched canvas atop a makeshift easel of a cardboard box stacked on a chair. Then, I shut myself off to the outside world. OK, really, I just closed the door to keep the six curious cats who live with me at bay.

The end result was amateurish, which was expected. But, I picked up a lot of knowledge in that first session. More than anything, I was able to relax and just create something for fun.

I quickly texted my mom and siblings in a group chat:

First attempt at an oil painting. Who wants it before I become famous?

Of course, my mom claimed it. That’s what moms are for — to motivate you, to tell you something you have done is awesome even when it sucks. So, when this thing finishes drying, she will have the pleasure of hanging this unsightly first attempt in her home.

This is also what is great about having plenty of family members. I can offload all of my practice runs on them, at least until I create something to hang on my own walls. Maybe by the time I get there, I could have simply bought a painting or two. But, what fun would that be?