Fat over lean rule.

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  1. #1
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    Fat over lean rule.

    So the fat over lean rule, I know, exists because if you don't use that rule, the layers underneath will dry faster than the newest layers and cause the painting to crack.

    I'm a bit confused about it though.

    - Does this mean that if you wait for the paint to dry between layers, you can ignore this rule?

    - But if you don't wait for the paint to dry, then surely you wouldn't need to add more oil because you'd be painting wet on wet and everything would dry the same rate anyway? As long as you don't reduce the amount of extra oil you use, I mean?

    Obviously this rule exists for a reason or artists wouldn't have been following it for centuries, I just don't completely understand it and I'd appreciate it if someone could take a moment to explain.

    Sorry if this is a stupid question, I'm obviously new to oil painting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbravita View Post
    So the fat over lean rule, I know, exists because if you don't use that rule, the layers underneath will dry faster than the newest layers and cause the painting to crack.

    I'm a bit confused about it though.

    - Does this mean that if you wait for the paint to dry between layers, you can ignore this rule?
    Oil paint doesn't dry, it oxydates, which is a process that never stops, until you seal your work with varnish...

    Grinnikend door het leven...
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  5. #3
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    If you use the same mix it doesn't matter. And if it's not dry, you're painting wet into wet to a certain extent. Drying of certain pigments can take from 6-8 months, so if it is dry, yes, you need to adhere strictly to it as you're not mixing the colours on the painting. Even if it is partially dry, it's best to keep it mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbravita View Post
    So the fat over lean rule, I know, exists because if you don't use that rule, the layers underneath will dry faster than the newest layers and cause the painting to crack.

    I'm a bit confused about it though.

    - Does this mean that if you wait for the paint to dry between layers, you can ignore this rule?

    - But if you don't wait for the paint to dry, then surely you wouldn't need to add more oil because you'd be painting wet on wet and everything would dry the same rate anyway? As long as you don't reduce the amount of extra oil you use, I mean?

    Obviously this rule exists for a reason or artists wouldn't have been following it for centuries, I just don't completely understand it and I'd appreciate it if someone could take a moment to explain.

    Sorry if this is a stupid question, I'm obviously new to oil painting.
    When you are painting in oils it is better to increase the thickness of the paint as you finish the painting, this insures you are preserving the rule. If you are using glazes and keeping the painting thin then you need to add oil as you go. Just because a painting is dry to the touch does not mean the painting is completely dry as eezacque@xs4all.nl said oil paint never really dries it continues its chemical reaction for years.

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  8. #5
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    Ahh, thanks everyone. I didn't realise the process continues even after the painting appears dry.

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    I agree with the answers on this thread. You have to be aware of which technique you are using: "wet-into-wet" or painting in layers. Fat-over-lean applies to painting in layers however the apposite is true with one-session painting, wet-into-wet. I use consecutively less medium (linseed oil, safflower oil, poppyseed oil or Liquin) as I work the painting toward completion. This is because in order to get the paint to come off or "pull" off the end of the brush and stick to the previous strokes of paint, it must have less medium in it. I use little or no medium toward the end of the painting. Also be aware the turpentine is a solvent and not a medium and is only used for the initial blocking-in washy parts of the painting. Anyway, think of the "fat-over-lean" rule as "flexible over less flexible".

    Windsor Newton has a good thread about this on their website (scroll down to answer #8): http://www.winsornewton.com/products...-questions/#o4

    Hope that helps.

    Titus
    tituscastanza.com

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