Art: From watercolour to oil - need tips!
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  1. #1
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    From watercolour to oil - need tips!

    I've been a watercolour artist for almost twenty years. Everything I've ever coloured, I've coloured from light to dark. I've branched out into other media on occasion, and have always had trouble working in any medium where you go "the wrong way round" - dark to light. Now I've decided to give oils another go and it feels as if my brain wants to rewire itself. I *know* I need to go from dark to light but by brain keeps lapsing back.

    Has anybody got any helpful hints?

    I've got watersoluble oils from Reeves.

    Another thing I can already see will give me trouble is the slow drying and the long waits before the next layer, but I suppose there aren't any satisfactory ways around that...

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    Hmm, you could try using a very methodical approach? draw out all the shapes of shadow in the painting and make sure you block them in first. I find oils are more forgiving than watercolor and allow a bigger margin for error.
    The problem might be that you are trying to treat oils as if they were watercolor?, Its hard to say without seeing how you paint with oils. The slow drying is usually something that attracts people to oil painting. It means
    you have more time to spend refining the painting, oils can be moved around and manipulated.

    I would also suggest browsing youtube for oil painting vids There's literally thousands of people doing oil demo's and speedpaintings on there. I'm sure you could pick up more than a few tips by watching people.

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  4. #3
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    With watercolors you mix the desired color by laying paint over the white paper. With oil paints you would mix the desired color on the palette before applying it onto the canvas.

    If I were you I would try to paint on a toned canvas which hopefully will stop you from seeing in "water color mode". First make your drawing on the canvas, seal this with a spay and then apply Burnt Umber in a thin layer (dilluted with turps). When it´s dry you can start to paint.

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  6. #4
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    Thank you for the tips - really insightful and very helpful. JoeS - I have to confess I didn't know oils dried *that* slowly! I did a dark-blocked-in background yesterday and I had thought I could work on it more today but it still smears. I knew there was a difference to watercolour, of course, but I thought that it would be closer to hours, not days...

    Björn: That was some really helpful advice, and some that you really need when you come from watercolour and automatically see a colour on your palette differently! Very logical, and yet necessary to point out.

    I'm 40% teacher, 40% mother of two small children, and 20% artist - that already limits my drawing time drastically, and I'm not sure how I'll work with a mediium that, in itself, imposes even more timing challenges. But I'll definitely try around with these pieces I've started once they've dried!

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    I add a small drop of Cobalt Drier to a thin layer tint and paint this onto my canvas where I'm going to be working. Any layers over this as long as they are quite thin, will be touch dry in 24hrs. When I say a drop I mean a really small amount it goes a long way.

    http://www.schmincke.de/products/med...ities.html?L=1

    Also not sure how will react with Water soluble oil paints. I'd avoid them and get artist grade standard paints. Old Holland are very good or Schminke are in your area I think?

    "If you look back on last years work and you still like it: you are slipping."
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  9. #6
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    I was a bit worried about the smell. My workplace is not very easily air-able, and my kids (and my cat) are always running around (or over) it - seemed slightly hazardous.

    I'll look for the Drier though! Worst that can happen is that it doesn't work.

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    Just be aware it's really nasty stuff cobalt-circonium, keep well away from the little ones. I have to lock mine away in a solvent locker

    "If you look back on last years work and you still like it: you are slipping."
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  12. #8
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    I feel I'm beginning to understand why oil painting is considered the ultimate in art - "Wow, you put yourself and your loved ones at risk for a painting!" A bit like bungee jumping for artists.

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    Watersoluble oils - i think they are great.
    There are some minor differences in technique but not a real problem.
    I found that they dry a bit faster compared to regular oils so never felt the need to use my cobalt drier.

    You can thin down your paint a lot and get watercolor effects without getting overwhelmed by smell or fumes.
    Water tends to result in a matte effect on your paint so add a bit of (watersoluble) oil in there as well. (you can pre mix your medium - will look milky just like most acrylic mediums)
    When working thin may have to put more layers for the darks but it also gives you more depth compared to thick dark layer.
    To prevent rubbing previous layers away: use thick paint, wait longer between layers, increase oil in your medium.

    "Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave."
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