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shawn gibson
05-30-2001, 10:03 AM
Hi all, I have been driving myself crazy over the questions "am I putting my paint on fatter each layer? Is this medium/oil/resin/etc. leaner or fatter than what I already have on the painting? Is this pigment a faster or slower drier? etc.

Do you believe I am correct, or incorrect, in assuming that the current state of technology is such that, if small errors occur, they will prove to be inconsequential most of the time?

I feel I have become so neurotic (well, at least overly-prudent http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif) about 'what goes over what', and I want to know if in your experience a little common sense is enough to ensure you don't ruin a multi-layer painting...?

I have no intention of lightly glazing a turp mixture over a fresh Van Gogh impasto, so how careful do I have to be?

thanks everyone for whatever you have to offer. shawn http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif



[This message has been edited by shawn gibson (edited May 30, 2001).]

Verdaccio
05-30-2001, 10:35 AM
One piece of advice I got early on is:

"Always know what is on your brush."

In other words, be concious of what you are putting down. My feeling is, be as observant as you can about how you build your painting, but don't let it paralyze you - you will likely be long dead before any problems appear. That said however, there are better ways of structurally building a painting to last as long as possible - I think you know them - use colors of low oil content in your underpainting - be sure your underpainting is dry before applying color over the top - be careful of how much you thin paints with turps or medium (except when glazing with a glazing medium) - don't put flake white over ivory black, etc., etc.

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Michael Georges
www.fineportraitsinoil.com (http://www.fineportraitsinoil.com)

Leopoldo1
05-30-2001, 04:22 PM
Above all have fun learning, relax and be patience with your materials. Alot of what you retain is self-discovery as well as learning from books, teachers and others on this forum. On the subject of fat over lean here is a Schmid quote that says it all:If you are an oil painter, there is also the consistency of paint to consider. It is a good idea to follow the old tried-and-true advice of progressing from thin paint to thick paint. Thick paint in the beginning stage is not necessary, and it can be maddening to work into. Save the buttery stuff for the finished top layer brushstrokes. Thick paint over thin is also safer from the standpoint of permanency. Thin on top ot thick is likely to crack even when working wet-into-wet. Extremely thick paint (more than 3mm or 1/8 inch) on canvas is certain to crack, even under the most favorable conditions. Normal fluctuations in temperature and humidity, and the times itself will see to that. If you are fond of thick paint, do it on a more rigid support, something other than stretched canvas (such as gessoed Masonite) to reduce the cracking factor

Thin does not necessarily mean thinned with medium or solvent such as turpentine. It also means paint of standard consistency sparingly applied. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/redface.gifL

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"Art is ever changing. I too find myself in that momentum of change, exploring my successes and failures. Rather remaining stagnant and uninspired, I am complelled to continue to re-invent myself."....L

ArtistEnigma
05-30-2001, 06:42 PM
I've had so many discussions with people with the same concerns and it puzzles me... Why do people care so much about fat over lean, lean over fat, fat over fat? Oils are so versatile. Take advantage of it. I find that it all depends on the painting. The more you start worrying about everything that doesn't have to do with the subject matter the more it takes away from the painting. Unless your subject matter is so bland and predictable the only thing worth while to concentrate on are these minor things. Let yourself go, but not in the horrible ways that "artists" today have done so. Relax and you'll see the results. Do a painting that breaks all the rules. I've been told by a great artist, "you have to know the rules before you can break them, and once you break them you'll paint better than you ever have." That all depends on the artist too. Above all though, experiment.

Leopoldo1
05-30-2001, 06:53 PM
Originally posted by ArtistEnigma:
Do a painting that breaks all the rules. I've been told by a great artist, "you have to know the rules before you can break them, and once you break them you'll paint better than you ever have." That all depends on the artist too. Above all though, experiment.

Well said, I have to agree! My other half is less traditional than myself and has painted longer and explored art in so many other ways than I would never have considered. I have put down my criticism, listen and look more and quess what it all makes sense. We just recently finished a trip to Alaska where I fished with the Big Boys, she collected their droppings. Guess what, she used them in a abstract/impressionistic sculpture! I like it. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/redface.gifL

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"Art is ever changing. I too find myself in that momentum of change, exploring my successes and failures. Rather remaining stagnant and uninspired, I am complelled to continue to re-invent myself."....L

[This message has been edited by Leopoldo (edited May 30, 2001).]

Scott Methvin
05-30-2001, 09:18 PM
Originally posted by shawn gibson:
Scott, thanks again.

What is Canada Balsam exactly (sort of exactly). What is a balsam? I can use it instead of amber? That would be quite nice.

Shawn,

Canada balsam is the best of the "young resins." The "old resins" would be copals and the oldest of all is amber.

All are tree sap. The older stuff has fossilized and lost it's terpines. Amber is the fossilized sap from trees that are now extinct. (As are most good copals)

Venetian terpentine is a mix of larch tree sap and rosin (also bark garbage in some cases.)

Pure Larch is much better. Seems to me, the art industry has renamed the bad stuff as "venetian", I suspect pure larch is the original.

Strasbourg terpentine is sap from the white fir tree. Like xmas trees.(Haven't tried it)

The best is Canada Balsam. The sap from the balsam fir. Also an xmas tree in some regions. It smells wonderful, like xmas.

The sap is thick and clear and dries very quickly. It mixes perfectly with linseed oil and adds a nice stickiness that helps with layering. (No water on waxed car effect)

It also gives a nice optical quality and increases depth (like copal and amber do.)

When making copal or amber liquid again, the terpines or a substitute must be reintroduced. Think of canada balsam as amber or copal that still has it's original terpines.

Kremer and [email protected] products sell excellent quality canada balsam. It's worth it's high price.

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"The patience of ants and the industry of saints."

Scott Methvin
05-31-2001, 12:09 AM
Originally posted by shawn gibson:
[B]Hi all, I have been driving myself crazy over the questions "am I putting my paint on fatter each layer? Is this medium/oil/resin/etc. leaner or fatter than what I already have on the painting? Is this pigment a faster or slower drier? etc.

Do you believe I am correct, or incorrect, in assuming that the current state of technology is such that, if small errors occur, they will prove to be inconsequential most of the time?

I feel I have become so neurotic (well, at least overly-prudent http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif) about 'what goes over what', and I want to know if in your experience a little common sense is enough to ensure you don't ruin a multi-layer painting...?

I have no intention of lightly glazing a turp mixture over a fresh Van Gogh impasto, so how careful do I have to be?

B]

Hi Shawn,

You know, you remind me of me. We have a lot in common. When I started out oil painting, I wanted to use all these different special ingredients (amber) and we both glaze. Trying to emulate Maxfield Parrish made things more complicated for me (technique wise.)

Fat over lean is a concern, but don't let it ruin your day. Fat over fat is ok too. Most of the ala prima types (not us) start out with terps and then use paint out of the tube on top of that. The "fat over lean song" keeps them from using terp thinned paint after the tube stuff goes on. If you do a careful underpainting that is fat (no terps and plenty of oil, after it dries a bit, the same mix is fine on top.

I use almost zero terp in my paintings. I use canada balsam and good linseed oil only. My paints are hand mulled and have the same oil in them.
I would be concerned about maybe putting one brand of safflower oil paint under an Old Holland linseed brand. I would try to keep the oils consistant or at least layer them appropriately.

If you are really worried about it do tests with different combinations you may be using in the future.

Glazing is best done with full strength pigmented paint. Not the same paint and lots of medium. You'll get there quicker and it won't look like it's floating. Use your fingers and rub it in full strength. I know you've heard this before, but it is much better.

No stress!!!No worries mon.



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"The patience of ants and the industry of saints."

shawn gibson
05-31-2001, 12:26 AM
Thanks guys, this is really soothing.

Scott, I am learning, slowly http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif Something you said "fat over fat"...does that mean a couple/3 equivalent layers, out of the same paintbatch, same thickness etc., is OK? I mean fat over lean doesn't mean every layer must be fatter than the last?--the same is OK?

I fear I've been spending way too much effort and money (Blockx amber is two-hundred Canadian dollar--almost 3 days pay for me; OH cold-pressed is almost $150--both, only when you can get them--rarely). Some common sense, and a few good supplies will suffice; I am certain.

It was simple with encaustic all those years: some microwax, some pigment or paint from the tube, heat it up and try not to burn the cat when the wax started flying...!!! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

Some stand oil and a carton of cigarettes...they would be the days!!!

shawn

Scott Methvin
05-31-2001, 12:44 AM
Originally posted by shawn gibson:
Thanks guys, this is really soothing.

Scott, I am learning, slowly http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif Something you said "fat over fat"...does that mean a couple/3 equivalent layers, out of the same paintbatch, same thickness etc., is OK?

Sure, why not? I do it all the time.


I mean fat over lean doesn't mean every layer must be fatter than the last?--the same is OK?

Yes.

I fear I've been spending way too much effort and money (Blockx amber is two-hundred Canadian dollar--almost 3 days pay for me;

Try to paint without it. I can't afford it either. Sun thicken oil and canada balsam is a good substitute and much cheaper. + you don't get the yellowing. I have gotten away from the resin glazing, myself.


OH cold-pressed is almost $150--both, only when you can get them--rarely). Some common sense, and a few good supplies will suffice; I am certain.

Get it from sinopia.com
I buy 5 liters at the time. Much more economical and good quality.


and a carton of cigarettes...they would be the days!!!

They don't allow smoking here in california anymore http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif


shawn



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"The patience of ants and the industry of saints."

shawn gibson
05-31-2001, 12:58 AM
Scott, thanks again.

What is Canada Balsam exactly (sort of exactly). What is a balsam? I can use it instead of amber? That would be quite nice. I am trying to order Can. Balsam & Oil of Spike, from RH but he doesn't seem too interested in responding or he's too busy or he thinks I'm a dweeb and my feet stink (just kidding)...

that Sinopia cold pressed looks good... http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

I'm glad I don't own a motorcycle; I'd probably have nitrous oxide, 4-into-1, race-grade tires, expensive leathers, etc...all to putt around in the city...shawn


[This message has been edited by shawn gibson (edited May 30, 2001).]

shawn gibson
05-31-2001, 09:23 AM
Thanks Scott, very enlightening. I'm in the midst of trying to order from RH some Canada Balsam, Oil of Spike, and some copal.

In the fat-over-lean spirit of the post, I have a real-world problem right now: I have one painting that so far has this following composition:

1)very thin underpainting layer

2)Thick underpainting layer comprised of very lean cobalt/lead/mars yellow mixture with linseed (to mimic the tone of a Sarto grisaille)

3) thin (almost a glaze, but a little thicker, maybe 1/32nd-1/16th inch) layer of various normally-drying colours (i.e., no madder) mixed with about 20% amber.

4) I have run out of amber, and can not get any, both for availability and price. <u>Can I finish the painting in copal as a substitute?</u>

This forum is amazing and I have learned so much in the last while...makes me wonder how I painted so long without complete catastrophy...but hey wax painting is easy...fat over lean, lean over fat, fat over bananas and cream...and even the occasional farm animal...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif
shawn

[This message has been edited by shawn gibson (edited May 31, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by shawn gibson (edited May 31, 2001).]

sarkana
05-31-2001, 09:50 AM
i'd like to put forward that after using such resins as canada balsam, venice tupentine (which is the real stuff, venetian turpentine is an artificially made substitute), mastic, copal, etc.; i find that my homemade damar varnish works just as well. i use the damar as a painting medium with some beeswax melted in it for a lovely matte effect. using fossilised resins seems like expensive overkill. but that's totally just my opinion.

wax painting kicks ass. i'm surprised i don't see more collage work done with encaustic techniques. we made a whole set of encaustics at my store last year but noone seems to want them. *sigh*

i don't think you're being neurotic about fat-over-lean. but also have fun and don't worry. as an earlier poster pointed out, the problems if any will most likely appear after you are long dead...

Originally posted by shawn gibson:
4) I have run out of amber, and can not get any, both for availability and price. <u>Can I finish the painting in copal as a substitute?</u>

...but hey wax painting is easy...fat over lean, lean over fat, fat over bananas and cream...and even the occasional farm animal...




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http://store.yahoo.com/sarkana

Scott Methvin
06-01-2001, 12:37 AM
Originally posted by sarkana:
i'd like to put forward that after using such resins as canada balsam, venice tupentine (which is the real stuff, venetian turpentine is an artificially made substitute),

sarkana, please explain about the artificial venetian terpentine. You lost me.



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"The patience of ants and the industry of saints."

John Stirrips
04-22-2011, 01:09 AM
Hello everyone.

I'm new to this forum stuff.
I've found it difficult to find where to post a new question. I have a question about fat over lean so I thought it might be OK to just post it in this forum. I hope this doesn't upset anyone. Please tell me if I've done the wrong thing and where I should have posted it and how.

Any way, here goes:

I've been struggling a bit with fat over lean but I'm pretty sure I've got it all under control as far as the initial painting process is concerned. I usually start out lean and then lose the turps (and sometimes add more linseed oil) in the progressive layers. Sometimes I don't add more linseed oil as I go, but that doesn't matter, as long as I don't use less linseed oil than in the previous layer, then I'm OK. So my final layer is usually quite thick and painterly/impressionistic: pure paint from the tube or pure paint and some extra linseed oil. Up until that point I'm OK.

But when I do a glaze over the top of that, what do I do? I understand that If I use pure linseed oil for the glaze medium then I'll be OK, and I won't be violating the fat over lean rule. But it takes way to long to dry and I want it to dry faster. I know I can do this by adding terps (maybe 50:50, or maybe a third: a third: a third, with terps, linseed oil and damar varnish). But if I add terps into the mix, is this breaking the fat over lean rule?

That is my question. I hope someone can answer it for me or redirect me to where I should have posted it. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Thankyou,


John Stirrips

dcorc
04-22-2011, 08:15 AM
John, welcome.

Since you've disinterred this old thread, can I suggest you read the posts above, since I think they they do essentially address the questions you ask.

Scott's advice, above, is all very solid!

There is also a pinned Frequently Asked Questions thread at the top of the forum, with links to many of the most informative threads (currently there's only one there for fat-over-lean, which reminds me to link a few more there).

But when I do a glaze over the top of that, what do I do? I understand that If I use pure linseed oil for the glaze medium then I'll be OK, and I won't be violating the fat over lean rule. But it takes way to long to dry and I want it to dry faster. I know I can do this by adding terps (maybe 50:50, or maybe a third: a third: a third, with terps, linseed oil and damar varnish). But if I add terps into the mix, is this breaking the fat over lean rule?

The biggest issue with "fat-over-lean" is not to paint a leaner layer over a fatter one - you don't want the drying curve of the top layer to overtake the one below.

People get very hung up on "fat-over-lean" - and often go from excessively lean, to excessively fat. At all stages you should be painting with material the vast majority of which (80% or better is a good rule of thumb) should consist of paint. Mediums and solvents should only be added, if at all, in the smallest amounts compatible with changing the paint-handling.


Dave