Art: HELP : oil painting technical questions

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  1. #1
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    HELP : oil painting technical questions

    First, pardon me if my english isnt correct ( i am french )
    I am beginning to paint with oils but i am having some problems with it.
    the fact that the colors dont dry fast is interessant to mix my colors and make nice ranges of colors but there is a problem : when i want to put a color on another one, they mix together. Especially when i put a light color on a dark one. but in certain case i dont want these colors to mix ( with highlights for example or to replace a color by another one ).
    So do i have to wait till the paint is dry ??? But how do the plein air painters to achieve such highlights or color replacements ( knowing that they just have a few hours to achieve their painting) ?
    Another problem is that when i paint on a canvas , my painting dries very slowly ( in about 5 days ). I bought a quick drying medium but the drying remained almost the same.
    but when i paint on cardboard or a simple paper it dries extremely fast ( too fast ) ( in about 15 minutes ).
    I much prefer the feeling when i paint on a canvas but what do i have to do so that my paint dries a bit faster ( a few hours would be great ) ?

    Sorry for the length of this text but if you could answer it would be great for me.
    Thanx
    Aym

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  3. #2
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    you could try using a dry brushing technique to get the values. other than that you might want to try a different medium ... aka acrylic with an extender base.

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  4. #3
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    If you don't want the colors to mix, use a softer sable brush instead of a bristle. Making sure you have a decent amount of paint on the brush, and laying it on lightly, more at an angle with the flat of the brush instead of rubbing it in with the tip can also help. If you want to change an area that has a lot of thicker paint on it already, you can scrape it off with a pallette knife and repaint it.

    As far as drying time, the thinner you apply your paint the faster it will dry. You can use a little turp or mineral spirits when you first start to actually thin the paint out, and your first wash will dry very quickly. But by and large if you paint from the tube and don't put it on too thick, it will be dry enough the next day or so to work on it more. It doesn't have to be totally dry, just sort of tacky. There are fast drying mediums like Copal or Galkyd, but they have enough problems that they're not really worth it I think (Copal is very toxic and Galkyd is the stickiest stuff in the universe when it starts to dry).

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  5. #4
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    I think if anything, the hardest part about first using oils is that they do mix together, ultimately this is its greatest strength. Just be careful and try and put each of your strokes next to each other and then blend or soften them. And with oils you kinda don't want them to dry all that fast. You want to be able to work back into areas, as most big or complicated paintings wont be done in one sitting. I think its just difficulty of a new medium. Maybe just grab a canvas and just put some paint down. Don't necessarily paint anything, but just get it on the canvas and see what it can do. Try different brushes, different palette knives and experiment so when you go and try your next painting you'll have just a little more familiarity with the medium.
    As mentioned already, dryers are really really toxic, so I wouldn't really reccomend them. And as far as your surfaces, papers or cardboards will absorb the paint and the linseed in it alot faster than a cotton or linen canvas will. That can be a good or bad thing depending on what your doing. But generally, I prefer canvas. Anyway, hope this helps

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  6. #5
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    fat over lean. learn it. love it. live it.

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  7. #6
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    Yes, fat over lean. A general rule of thumb is to keep your dark colors lean. If you keep them very lean, you can apply other color on top fairly opaquely. Also if the color has white in it, the white leeches into the layer of paint above that's applied. Some pigments are fairly transparent like viridian and alizarin and are very hard to apply on top of any color. If you're trying to place a highlight and the paint underneath is fairly thick layer, you can either apply the highlight with even thicker paint, or very delicately scratch down to the canvas with the tip of a palette knife or a brush handle. When someone refers to paint as fat or lean, they're referring the oil content in the paint. A wash would be considered lean, because the solvent has disolved the oil in the paint and evaporated while paint right out of the tube has a lot of oil mixed in with it's pigment. So fat paint doesn't necessarily mean it's very thick.

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  8. #7
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    This book is old but free and online:

    http://www.artrenewal.org/articles/2002/Parkhurst

    It might give you some interesting hints (it did so for me).

    Jester

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  9. #8
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    Very interesting, guys. If anyone has anything more to say, dont hesitate. In any case, big thanks to you all.

    PS : i just received "alla prima". Hope im gonna learn a lot with this book.

    Aym

    Last edited by aymeric; October 9th, 2003 at 06:16 PM.
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  10. #9
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    About Jester's Link

    Jester, it appears the link to the article is dead(404), or has been relocated


    Originally posted by jester
    This book is old but free and online:

    http://www.artrenewal.org/articles/2002/Parkhurst

    It might give you some interesting hints (it did so for me).

    Jester


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  11. #10
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    well, be more sensitive with your hands.... if you push and rub, the paint will mix, if you however, just lay the paint down, the paint will do what you want it to do. putting wet on wet.

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  12. #11
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    I have been painting on shellac'd watercolor paper, and it seems to suck the ois dry in a matter of a few hours (with no medium). If youve never heard of this, just get:

    -decent weight watercolor paper. (140 lb/300gsm for you metric people)

    -shellac (clear or amber will work, depends on your preference if you like a colored ground)

    -denatured alcohol (USE FOR CLEANUP as well as mixing, if you rinse the brush out in water, it will gum up and be hard to get off)

    mix the shellac and alcohol in a 1/1 ratio and apply on both sides of the paper. Its a good idea to get large sheets and do a bunch at once, tearing them off as you need them. This method is far cheaper than gesso and some like the paper surface alot more. Painting on paper also allows for easy storage and matting/framing. Hope this was useful to you.

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  13. #12
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    Phlogiston, it seems that Art Renewal just doesn't allow deep links ("Directory Listing Denied: This Virtual Directory does not allow contents to be listed."), so just go to the "Articles" section, find the "Entire Art Books Online" part and click on "The Painter in Oil, by Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst" and all will be fine.

    Jester

    Imagination is intelligence having fun!

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  14. #13
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    Here is the updated link to Art Renewal Center, where you can find the book about painting (The Painter in Oil, by Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst) and other very interesting articles:

    http://www.artrenewal.com/articles/articles.asp

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