How to Oil Paint – The Artist Path to Self Acknowledgment

Self Acknowledgment

The road to self-acknowledgment can be a long one. I have been a painter for about 19 years and a self-acknowledged artist for about 10 of those. What do I mean by a self-acknowledged artist? Well, most artists go through a self-doubt phase. For several years especially when I was still learning how to work with the different mediums, I didn’t consider myself an artist. I considered my paintings a “hobby” or “just messing around with paints.” I was constantly looking for validation that my paintings were any good. I can’t tell you when exactly the shift in my mindset occurred but I know it was around the time I changed from painting to practice, to paintings to create new things. 

Finding My Style

During that time in my life, I got a little crazy with my art. I even stripped old motherboards, wired them together, and painted an acrylic lion on them. It was horrendous but I was starting to experiment and trying to find my own style. I painted on anything I could get my hands on, doors, wood, walls, glass, old computer parts, I played with polymer clay to give the paintings a 3-dimensional look. Even then I did not consider myself an artist.

  Titled: (top) The Hand Your Dealt,

(bottom) All in (2011)

by. Shemaine Lozano Hernandez                                                                      


Titled: El Fin (2012)

by. Shemaine Lozano Hernandez     





First Sale

I met a great group of local artist that encouraged me and inspired me with their work. I started participating in art shows and I made my first sale through a small art gallery in Big Spring, TX. After that first sale, I started thinking I might be able to be an artist. Although, I still didn’t acknowledge I was an artist. If I had to guess, I’d say self-acknowledgment started to happen somewhere after my third painting sold through the gallery and I started to make sales at the art shows.

My First Sale: 

Titled: Growling Bear (2011) 

By. Shemaine Lozano Hernandez

Sold in (2013)



I think what changed was not only my skill but also my confidence in my work. I no longer looked at other people’s work to practice the shapes and features. I think of original ideas. I take pictures of things I want to paint then paint them. I see the shadows now when I paint so my images have more of a 3-D look to them without the polymer clay. This all came from practice. It didn’t hurt that I had odd confidence boosters. 

Confidence Boosters

I used to toss out my ruined paintings or the pieces I considered failures because they disgusted me. One day I had my brothers toss two paintings in the dumpster. They were painted on wood and one had polymer clay accents. That weekend I went to garage sales with my mother. We stopped at one home that had a lot of items for sale and started looking around. Imagine my surprise when the two paintings I had thrown away were in their yard sale. I definitely felt like an artist then. My family asked me why I didn’t say something to them. I was shocked that they had pulled them out of the dumpster but flattered because I viewed them as ruined but they saw value in my work even if it was ruined. I saw it as they had a second chance at finding a home.


Titled: Innocence (2012)                                                                                  Titled: Moment (2013)

By. Shemaine Lozano Hernandez                                                                  By. Shemaine Lozano Hernandez

Another incident that definitely bolstered my confidence in my art was when I participated in an Art show in San Antonio, TX. We were told we could leave our work there overnight because they had guards to protect them. Well, when I returned in the morning one of my pieces as been stolen. Several artists had stuff stolen that night. Some were upset. I was flattered. Granted it would have been nice had they paid for it because this was an out-of-town show I could have used the money to break even at least but I was flattered that someone climbed under my lowered tent, dug through my paintings, and took that one. In hindsight, I think I may have an idea of the guy that took it because there was one young man that talked to me for a while about it. I have no way of knowing for sure, I just hope where ever it is in the world, that it found a good home.


Titled: JMP Insomnia (2013)

By. Shemaine Lozano Hernandez

I AM an artist

I do consider myself an artist, and I am more confident in my ability but I am not a master by any means. I still hate my work sometimes when I’m painting, I might end the day disgusted and appalled at my lack of skill. Then I wake up the next day with fresh eyes and keep messing with it until I get something I like. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions, but I love it. It was a long road to self-acknowledgment. But now that I am here, I can only improve. 

Unsolicited Advice

There are so many types of art that exist in this world. You don’t need to be like the masters of the old day to be considered an artist. Art is a form of self-expression, of self-exploration. If you are creating pieces that speak to you and communicate with a viewer, then you are an artist. I took so long to acknowledge myself as an artist and my art paid for it. The delay in self-acknowledgment hindered my confidence and my ability. Now, I paint because I love it and I don’t really care if others like it or not, as long as I like it then it is complete. That is the most important thing to being a self-acknowledged artist. Love your work, love yourself, and others will love it too.  


Happy Painting! 

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