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Old 07-10-2003, 05:56 PM   #1
Holly Snyder Holly Snyder is offline
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Which type of oil paint to try?




I currently paint in acrylics, and am becoming most frustrated with it, because of its fast drying time and difficulty in creating a luminous shine. Knowing nothing about oil paints, I
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Old 07-10-2003, 09:30 PM   #2
Marvin Mattelson Marvin Mattelson is offline
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Congratulations on seeing the light. I worked in acrylics for years before making the transition to oils. I resisted far too long but when I finally took the plunge it was wonderful.

When you first posted I advised you to switch to oils so I'm glad you are ready to make the move. You won't regret it. You can follow my advice below, which is based on my experience of making every wrong decision possible or you can take a longer and winding road. I'm sure you will land on your feet either way.

Any brand of oil paint can be cleaned up with walnut oil followed by soap. Solvent isn't necessary.

Alkyd resin also dries faster in your brushes and ages them prematurely. All resins and varnishes in the paint film will eventually darken. MGraham offers a limited range of colors which I personally find lacking.

Michael Harding Oils are the finest in the world and can be mail ordered from the Italian Art Store. Winsor and Newton are more easily available and work fine. Some of my students use Gamblin with good results but they don't make "real" flake white.

Gamblin makes a final varnish that is highly touted by conservators. It's called GamVar.

If you use flake white the paints will dry much faster than if you use titanium white.

Anything other than real oil paint is not oil paint and regardless of what anyone says there is no proof that anything will last as long as oil.

Fat over lean always applies. If you use the same medium on each layer this will be fat over lean since each layer will absorb less than the layer below it.

Good luck!
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Old 07-10-2003, 11:36 PM   #3
Marvin Mattelson Marvin Mattelson is offline
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I forgot several other things.

Walnut oil is slower drying than linseed oil, so living in your muggy and hot environment walnut may not prove to be so good.

Also, using a painting medium isn't necessary. If you find the paint too stiff and want to experience better flow just add more linseed oil.

There is very little evidence of any thing other than linseed or walnut oil in the paint film layers prior to the 18th century.

Paintings painted by the likes of Rembrandt, Van Dyke, Rubins and Velasquez are in far better shape than those painted during the centuries that followed.
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Old 07-11-2003, 09:11 AM   #4
Michael Georges Michael Georges is offline
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Hello Holly:

I would definately try to steer you to traditional oils over any other system. Real oils work better, feel better under the brush, and will certainly last longer, IMO.

M.Graham paints are nice. I have several tubes. I can also recommend most of the other primary manufacturers like Old Holland, Gamblin, Vasari, Rembrandt, even Utrecht! Further, there are a number of small manufacturers out there who make excellent oil paint - Doak, Ozog, and Harding are two examples.

As for solvents, you certainly can paint without them. I use OMS to clean my brushes and my palette. I use Oil of Spike Lavendar to actually thin paint which I don't do very often. Spike is also a solvent and has a nice smell.

As for drying your paintings, you have two options - wait for them to dry naturally, or add some sort of drier to your paint.

Driers are typically composed of some sort of metal - Cobalt, Manganese, and Lead being the primary ones. I use and very much enjoy Lead White (Flake). I also use a painting medium which has lead in it called Maroger. It is nice stuff. Lead has the advantage of drying the paint layer throughout where as the others dry from the top in.

A medium can serve several purposes. You can add a medium to your paint to help the paint to handle better, and as I mentioned above, mediums often have driers in them. The rule about painting medium is "less is more". Use them sparingly and I advise that you test test test to find what works best for you and how you paint.

Try everything once and make your own judgement.
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Old 07-11-2003, 11:00 AM   #5
Renee Price Renee Price is offline
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Hi Holly,

I'm glad you found the forum! Don't use water mixable oils--awful stuff. I've never used Genesis so I can't say much about it except that I haven't heard many good things about it.

Brands of oil paints that I like are Sennelier (soft and pigment rich), Michael Harding, and Blockx. If you want a quick drying medium (dry to the touch within 2 days), Neo-Megilp is great. Stay away from Liquin. I have a painting that is less than 2 years old that is already yellowing. Currently I'm using cold pressed linseed oil as my medium. It is slow to dry which you may not be looking for.

Good luck,

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Old 07-11-2003, 01:59 PM   #6
Holly Snyder Holly Snyder is offline
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Thanks everyone for the excellent info, you've convinced me to try real oil paint. You also summed up and clarified a lot of the basics. However, I'm wondering about drying time, as I don't want to use anything with lead in it. I had enough exposure to lead and other nasties when I used to do a lot of soldering in engineering. Using a linseed (or walnut) base paint, how many days would it take for it to dry such that I could paint a new layer on top?

Marvin,

Yep, I certainly remember you saying I should switch to oils, and I'm ready to take the plunge, however with one foot in the water and one foot still on ground (or acrylics). I learned about cleaning brushes with only oil and soap from reading one of your earlier posts, and I'll try the GamVar. From what you said it certainly seems best to avoid resins when possible. However back in this post you were using the Mgraham alkyd resin. Do you just use it sparingly? I'm going to try flake white replacement instead of real flake white (with lead). Hopefully the long drying time of straight oil paint will not be too discouraging.

Michael,

Thanks very much for the info. on the basics. It must be much easier to use OMS to clean brushes than just oil and soap? According to Gamblin's
document , it seems as if it still should be used with proper care. I'll take a look at Oil of Spike Lavendar.

Renee,

I read about Neo-Megilp on the forum, and I'm still a little unclear. Some people said it took longer to dry (2 to 3 days) than they'd like. Is it basically an alkyd that does speed the drying time of straight oil paint but not as fast as say Mgraham's walnut oil/alkyd resin (which I read can dry overnight)? Are they basically two different formulations of the same thing (an alkyd resin)?

Thanks again,
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Old 07-11-2003, 03:17 PM   #7
Holly Snyder Holly Snyder is offline
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Michael,

I looked up Oil of Spike Lavendar (note I spelled Lavender wrong) on Google, and the only link I came up with was a discussion between you and some of the other members of this forum on wet canvas.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...threadid=80105
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Old 07-11-2003, 03:43 PM   #8
Marvin Mattelson Marvin Mattelson is offline
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I have given up all alkd resins. They destroy my brushes and I have since discovered that they yellow and darken. The fake flake is a poor sustitute IMHO. I tried and hated it. Lead isn't so bad if you don't suck your fingers or inhale lead dust. Just wash hands frequently and use rubber gloves for cleanup. Lead can't be absorbed through skin. It's harmful only if ingested. Microwave ovens are far more problematic, but thats another post.

The longer drying time of oils is what makes them teriffic.
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Old 07-13-2003, 09:07 AM   #9
Juan Martinez Juan Martinez is offline
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Holly

For what it's worth, and for the sake of pure redundancy, I second everything that Marvin has written.

I have a friend who needs to keep her windows closed when she paints, too, and she found that whenever she used alkyds, she got a headache and sometimes felt even sicker than that. Alkyds do have a fairly distinctive and rather unpleasant odor. However, odour isn't everything. Even the OMS (Odourless Mineral Spirits) that Michael mentions give off potentially harmful fumes, it's just that they're odourless. Admittedly, the fumes are not as harmful as are, say, turpentine's. In any event (and I'm sure I don't have to tell you this) all solvents should be used in well-ventilated rooms and the caps should be kept on containers, etc.. I reiterate what Marvin says that one doesn't need solvents at all to paint in oils. And if you don't use them, your brushes seem to last longer. (Then again, there are the great 19th century painters, Lord Leighton and Rosa Bonheur, who were said never to have used anything BUT turpentine in their paints! What's more, Bonheur was convinced that the worst thing for brushes was soap, so she would rinse them out in what we would today call an obsessive-compulsive manner. Agh, who knows! There are advocates and there are detractors for nearly every single aspect of oil painting materials and methods. However, I think that what we are saying here is a fairly widely held and defensible position. Best of all, it has the most historical precedent, despite what a handful of painters may or may not have done in the past.)

Linseed oil is known to form the strongest paint films and it normally takes less time to dry than does walnut oil. The nut oil might be a better choice for late stages in a painting and for lighter coloured passages.

I don't know anything about water miscible oils but I find the very concept to be an unholy union.

Anyway, fear not, you'll love oils.

All the best.

Juan
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Old 07-13-2003, 09:37 AM   #10
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When I first switched to oil from water-based media, I tried the water-mixable oils. I hated them.

They didn't thin consistently, and were stiff-feeling, even with a little water cut in; that is, they handled like acrylics and felt "plastic." They stayed in the brush and wouldn't rinse out while working, thus making any mixtures muddy. The water in them has to dry out first, before any oils can dry, thus slowing working time to a crawl--here in the muggy South, that can take forever. I also found brush cleanup to be very difficult--once the brush is loaded up, it's the devil to clean at the end of the day as the paint just doesn't wash out of the brush without repeated soaping and rinsing.

I'm sure that others swear by them--I just swore at them.

Best--TE
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