Make Your Oil Paintings to Last!
I will be painting in oils right now thus I was inspired to create a bit about any of it fabulous medium, from a technical perspective of course.
I spent years studying the materials and techniques associated with Old Masters of this Renaissance and Baroque periods. One of many remarkable things I learned was that they were very worried about making their creative expressions to last and thus the strategy they used to put their paintings together was very affected by this goal.
- Much of the info on the best way to make sure that their paintings would stay in good condition for years and years – yes, they really did think during these terms – was gradually lost starting all over end of this 18th century. This knowledge happens to be revived almost entirely by the work of conservationists in museums that have spent additional time in the last century or more attempting to restore works of contemporary artists than compared to the fantastic painters of the past. This is not the sort of stuff you learn in Fine Arts programs, or perhaps in workshops for instance; until you take certainly one of mine of course.
- Because so many of you will be aware, my teaching and writing on art is targeted on all things technical. Most of the workshops i have already been doing in recent years have been around in acrylics, however, this fall i’ll be doing a workshop for oil painters over two weekends in October and November, here in Kamloops. I will even spend time reviewing the history of oil painting techniques and looking at how some of my favorite painters, like Raphael and Caravaggio, created their masterpieces. I will post again in August or September with more details if the information is available.
Here are some guidelines you can easily follow to help you ensure your paintings can last for generations to come to take pleasure from:
Guidelines for Permanent Painting in Oils
- Paint on a good quality ground. If you use acrylic gesso, make sure that it really is thick adequate to prevent oil seeping right through to the support.
- Paint on a rigid support, like hardboard, in place of a flexible support whenever possible (see #19). It is possible to prepare cotton canvas for painting in oils by making use of a layer of Golden’s GAC 400 (fabric stiffening medium) regarding the back, and Golden’t GAC 100 medium on the front to stop oil from seaping thru into the fabric.
- Paint fast dryers under slow dryers.
- Paint ‘lean’ (low oil content) pigments under ‘fat’ (high oil content) ones.
- When painting in layers keep the under layers thinner and leaner.
- Paint oils over acrylics, if you must, but not one other way around, and on a rigid in the place of a flexible support.
- Try not to paint over a layer who has a dried-out skin but is soft and wet underneath.
- Oil paint may be thinned with only really small levels of solvent.
- Do not add extra oil to your paint.
- Use a good painting medium (Alkyd) to thin paint and make glazes and veils.
- Use Retouch varnish sparingly.
- Maintain the underpainting light and bright (see # 17&18).
- Usually do not apply the paint too thick.
- Heavy texture, thick paint layers, and collage effects would be best finished with acrylic paints and mediums.
- Do not use old paint which has had started to dry and is stiff and rubbery, it does not adhere well.
- Paint around things in place of over top unless you need the underpainting to show (see # 17&18).
- Remember that oil paint darkens and gets to be more yellow/brown as we grow older.
- Keep in mind that oil paint gets to be more transparent with age.
- Remember that oil paint becomes more hard and brittle as we grow older.
- Use soap to clean hands and brushes, not solvents.
- Utilize the best quality paints you can afford.
- Usually do not mix low grade and professional grade paints in identical painting.
- Wait between 3-12 months before you apply picture varnish, with respect to the thickness for the paint.
- Usually do not hang or store oil paintings where they’ll be subjected to humidity or large temperature fluctuations.
- Never use water to completely clean an oil painting.
Be sure that you read our full article about Landscape Oil Paintings!