This is another in the series of portraits of colleagues, in response to their art related gifts to me upon retirement.

This is my first attempt in oil. Tomas said I should try painting a cat first - to level up my skills in oil painting before making his portrait. I don’t see much difference between Tomas and a cat as a first subject in terms of difficulty, and the problem with practicing art is how to get rid of the resulting art - I don’t see a way to give a cat a painting - so I went ahead anyway, and so he’s the subject and he gets the painting.

Unlike watercolour or pastel - where adding colour just stops working after a while - with oil you can add more colour indefinitely. I guess it’s like software that way - it’s done when the program manager rips it out of the hands of the developers and says it’s done. That’s why it took so long. Absent any stopping criteria, I’ll just keep adding colour.

I was also surprised at how non-opaque oil painting can be. My first layer didn’t even cover up my pencil sketch. Now I know that if you want coverage, you have to slather it on thick and not use any terpentine to thin it out.

Data Description
Title Tomas
Artist Derrick Oswald
Medium Oil on canvas board
Dimensions (w × h cm) 30 × 45
Date 2023

oil painting of Tomas

original photograph of Tomas



A Canadian electrical engineer living in Switzerland, developing software for over 40 years, e.g. big data for electric distribution utilities and the cloud security space, but now retired.

Read More