How to have an even sheen on the surface of your oil painting without using varnish.

unevenexample

Example of the uneven sheen on an oil painting.

To remedy this problem you do what is called “Oiling Out”.

Oiling out will accomplish two things:

  1. It will make the colors appear more saturated
  2. Even out the surface shine.

You CAN do the same thing with a coat of varnish.  But there are advantages to oiling out vs. Varnish:

  1. Varnish can be removed, it does not meld with the oil paint as an oiling out would.
  2. The oil is absorbed into the oil paint itself and becomes part of the whole.
  3. It can be accomplished as soon as the painting surface is dry to the touch. Whereas a varnish seals the surface in such a way that the painting must be completely dry all the way through, or it can create problems. So unless you paint very thin it can takes months for the painting to dry enough to apply a coat of varnish.
  4. You can also continue painting over the oiling out layer, where with varnish this is not suggested.

So how do you do it?

Supplies:

  • Lint free cloth such as cheesecloth
  • 1″ Flat Paintbrush
  • Mixture of either oiling mixture: 50% Artist Medium + 50% Mineral Spirits or, 80% Stand Oil + 20% Turpentine.

Process:

  • Dust off the surface of the painting with a soft lint free cloth
  • Apply the oiling mixture generously with the paintbrush, making sure to cover the entire surface of the piece.
oilon

Applying The Oiling Out Mixture

  • Let it set for 2-3 minutes to allow the oil to absorb a bit.
  • Wipe off the excess with a clean soft lint-free cloth (Such as cheesecloth)
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Wiping Off The Excess

  • Place the painting in a clean dust free environment to dry, just as you would any oil painting in progress.
evenshine

An example of the sheen after performing the “Oiling Out”.

Part Five – Gallery Wrapped Canvas

Part Four – Facial Proportions

Part Three – Palettes

Part Two –  Mediums

Part One – Materials

As I type this we are covered in a 2″ sheet of snow and sleet, and I don’t think we are done yet. This gives me a great excuse to stay inside and practice my “hermitude”.

This week I spent time on a head-study.  Working on it was a struggle.  I just could not get into it. You know that grove you get into as a creative where everything else disappears and hours pass before you know it? Yea, that didn’t happen. But in hind-sight I like some of the looseness of it. Although it seems very neutral and non-committal, it reflects my mood at the time. So I am going with it.

NFS

NFS

Today I will be beginning the first in a possible series of vintage cameras. There is a turquoise colored model in particular I am interested. But, I do not want to go too far down the rabbit hole of still-life right now.

flower

Flowers in Feb

treelight

Kansas Sky

chalkboardwall

Chalkboard wall In work room always gets attention when people pop over.
I think it’s supposed to be a dragon?

 

This week included a couple of head studies in oil, and an unexpected field trip.

da2

9X12″ Study Oil on Canvas

lucy

9X12″ Study Oil on Canvas

I had a meeting to go to this week in Garnett, KS.  You can imagine how pleased I was to see that their Public Library also included an impressive Walker Art Gallery.

I did not plan ahead and only had my cell phone to take pictures. And well my cell phone takes terrible pictures due to the lens being scratched up. The collection includes Manet, Chihuly, John Stuart Curry and Robert Henri. Pretty impressive for our little corner of Kansas!

IMAG0102Example of a blurry cell phone pic of Manet.
Yes, THAT Manet.

Next week I will have the fourth installment of the “Painting in Oil Series” :0)

We all know what the traditional artist palette looks like: Large kidney shape with a hole for your thumb. But as an oil painter, what are your other options?

Michiels Guillame

Michiels Guillame

Types:

Wooden – The most traditional.  Manufactured wooden palettes are sealed with varnish or lacquer, but I prefer to season them also.  If you make your own you will need to “season” it. To do so you rub linseed oil into the wood with a rag and allow it to dry.  I do this a few times before I use it and then at the end of my painting session 2-3 more times, minimum.

Seasoning Palette

Small palette made from one side of a wooden cigar box. The right hand side was seasoned with linseed oil.

Plastic – Durable and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are usually made of a white plastic that will not stain.

plastic

Inexpensive plastic palette

Disposable – Convenient for plein-air painting, and are easy to clean up, made from layers of a wax paper.   The top layer is pulled away and thrown out after use.

disposable

Disposable palette with used layer torn away.

Re-purpose fast food containers – With the one shown below I use the lid as the palette and the bottom to seal it. I then place it in the freezer to help the paint stay fresh.

mcd

McDonald’s salad container as a palette

Glass – Can be placed on a work surface and any color of paper can be placed beneath to aid in mixing colors correctly. The surface can be scraped clean at the end of the session. Edges of the glass can be heavily taped to prevent sharp edges or a glass cutter can grind them down smooth. A glass thicker than 1/4″ works best.

glass

Reference photos can also be placed under the glass, so that you can mix paints on top and match realistic colors.

Other Variables:

Color & Tone – If you mix your paint on a dark brown, then go to place the same paint onto a white canvas it will not appear the same.  It helps to have a palette close to the color and tone of your working surface. Of course one option is to paint your canvas a closer value to the color of your palette. But this is not always an option.

Shape & Size – Rectangle or kidney shape are the most common.  A rectangle fits well in a paint box, while a kidney shape can fit more comfortable on the hand. Either way, in the end it is a personal preference.

Organizing Your Palette – How you place your paints on your palette is up to you. Some prefer light to dark, while others favor cool to warm.  Or even a random fashion, it is your call. It is only important that it makes sense to YOU.

Tips:

  • Place your colors along the outer edge so you have an open area in the center for mixing.
  • Start with fewer colors and add as you go, particularly if you are a beginner, so as to not waste paint.
  • Consider placing the colors the same location each time to build a reliable routine.

Note:  There is a new vertical palette on the market that intrigues me.  I haven’t tried it yet, but would like to soon. It is a vertical glass surface placed next to the painting, side-by-side.

These are designed by artist David Kassan and I believe they are available only online. If anyone has tried this I would love to hear your thoughts!

Painting In Oil – Part Two – Mediums

mediumsMediums used with oils modify the character of the paint.  I personally like to not have my paint dry too quickly, unless it is an underpainting, and with a medium I have more control over this factor. I prefer to work wet-in-wet whether I return to the canvas an hour later or twenty-four.

Linseed Oil – Made from the flax plant it is the binder used in most oil paints.  There are a number of different types due to consistency, color and drying time.

  • Refined – An all purpose medium.
  • Cold Pressed – Dries a little faster than refined and is considered to be of better quality than Refined.
  • Stand Oil – Thicker with a slower dry time, to touch in one week.
  • Sun Thickened – Syrupy version thickened by leaving a slightly open container of Linseed Oil in the sun (Is actually a bit more complicated than that, but for our purposes here….)

Safflower Oil – Dries faster than Poppyseed Oil but similar characteristics.

Walnut Oil – A thin oil it makes the paint more fluid.  Dries in 4-5 days.  It also yellows less than Linseed Oil

Turpentine – Can be mixed 50/50 with Linseed Oil for a medium. Use an artist grade quality and not household.  Can be purchased in low-odor varieties.

There are a number of other mediums for oil paint, enough for a book. It is all a matter of personal choice.  The point is this is another area that an artist can gain control.

Painting In Oil – Part One

So, what has happened in the last week?  A small local exhibit of paintings began with a reception on the 12th. It will run until mid Feb. See pics/post of reception here.

smaller

Current piece (commission) on the easel – Underpainting 9X12″

I have also managed to do some boring but necessary office work: New letterhead and decided upon a new basic bookkeeping system. Other than that the focus has been to adjust to a work schedule that allows me to get things accomplished, but also have my lazy time 🙂

I am working on a new series of portraits for January.

The process I am use is to create a monochromatic underpainting before applying the identifiable skin tones. The work is from photo references, due to time and space restraints.

Recent oil painting progress…

IMG_0875

The underpainting was created using burnt umber and mineral spirits.

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Once the underpainting is dry to the touch I can begin putting other colors onto the canvas.

joeoneasel

joe2

Final painting 12X16″ Oil on Canvas – “Joe #2”

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