Oil On Canvas

Oil On Canvas


Acrylic on canvas

48” x 60” (122cmx 152.4cm)

"Oil On Canvas" in its graphic simplicity oozes irony and sarcasm represented by the letters flowing over the edge of the canvas.  Just as sarcasm adds nuance to conversation,  which takes the interpretation of words beyond the confinement of their literal definition.  


Go to any museum or gallery and you will read in the descriptions “Oil on canvas” over and over as you continue to look at paintings. This phrase stuck in my head after a visit to the Minnesota Institute of Art and inspired this piece.


My original field of study in college was graphic design. Many of the projects involved simple black and white typographic layouts.  While looking very minimal and easy, quite often they were not. Likewise, there is more that went into Oil On Canvas than just putting three letters on canvas.


Beyond the elements of irony and sarcasm, there were questions to answer. What font style? What size canvas? What size of letters? How do they fit on the canvas?  Should it be vertical or horizontal? These questions are simple enough, however, they do take thought and consideration.


Often my more elaborate paintings take far less though and have fewer questions to answer. Which is somewhat ironic. Just because something looks complex or difficult, doesn’t mean it is. Likewise, something that looks simple and easy probably has more going on than you would expect. A detail I find particularly entertaining and ironic is that medium I used. Acrylic.  This makes the painting simultaneously Oil On Canvas and acrylic on canvas.



Johnston, IA, USA

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© 2020 Keith A. Nelson