|It has all these qualities - if mixed right. It can be made to be spread as thin as gossamer or as thick as clay. All this depends on just two things:
a) The thinness or thickness of the paint (its viscosity)
So, what sort of mud or paint will we make, how dry, how runny?
Oil paint is made up of three main elements.
1. Pigment - a powder made from ground rock or earth or root anything dry that is intense in color.
Note: it is usually the type of chemical pigment or the thinners that causes the extremely poisonous nature of most commercial oil paints (lead and arsenic are old culprits). If the powder you use is unusually strong you can add a filler to bolster up the mixture. This could be chalk or ground marble or some other neutral powder. Student oil paints usually have more filler than Artists' brands. You get what you pay for.
How can we reverse this and stiffen up the paint?
How do we remove the oil? By putting the mixture on blotting or absorbent paper and waiting. The paper will absorb a lot of the oil and a little of the pigment. Obviously to make it more runny we could add more oil and to dry faster and spread thinner we could add turpentine, thinners or petrol. Get the general idea!
Like a potter you have now made you clay, only in your case it is called paint. Instead of water you have added oil and some pigment and, instead of a wheel, you will be putting your mixture on a flat vertical surface, although you will mix it on a bench or pallet. There is no rush with your paint though, as it is oil based and will mostly take a long time to dry, which you can control adding oil or spirits.
One main point before you apply your paint, if you first apply a thick layer of paint to your canvas it will take ages to dry because the oil will have to dry out. If you have ever watched oil dry out you could probably also hear you hair growing. When thick paint dries it shrinks and sometimes cracks. So if your first layer of paint is very thick and you add a thin layers on top of it before it is totally dry it will crack all the layers thereafter, and as it continues to dry the cracks will get bigger - especially if the color on top is darker. Painters prevent this by painting the thick slow drying layers last and usually begin with thin fast drying paint - as a background.
Thick to thin and light over dark' is an old painters saying. If we don't want to wait at all we can paint what is called "wet in wet" That means putting wet layers of paint on other wet layers all in the one session (or over the total time it takes the paint to dry ) This can still be hours - or days until a "skin" forms.
This is an important point as many painters would like to finish their painting quickly and are forced to paint 'wet in wet'.
More later.... :-)