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Verhaeren.Art
10-08-2014, 02:38 PM
Here is my HUGE and frustrating problem. I just had my first attempt at a Bob Ross style painting about two days ago. I was doing acrylics, but would like to follow in my great grandfathers footsteps. He was a famous painter in Belgium before his suicide- Carolus Verhaeren. I had high hopes for myself then, but by the time I got down to the foliage in the painting, my paint would not stick! It picked up the other paint right off of the canvas, and then just made mud. I am wondering if I started with too thick of a coat of the Liquid White? I am suspicious of this because my sky seemed to move a bit more than Bob's in his videos, and even my clouds kept picking up the blue, which his never did. I am so hard on myself, even to a fault, and I just quit the painting right then and there as I was just wasting all of my oil paint at the point. I would absolutely love some insight on this, any technique to applying the liquid white? For the base color of the foliage before adding highlights, should that go on with dry brush, very little paint?

And thank you all!

Mythrill
10-08-2014, 04:21 PM
Here is my HUGE and frustrating problem. I just had my first attempt at a Bob Ross style painting about two days ago. I was doing acrylics, but would like to follow in my great grandfathers footsteps. He was a famous painter in Belgium before his suicide- Carolus Verhaeren. I had high hopes for myself then, but by the time I got down to the foliage in the painting, my paint would not stick! It picked up the other paint right off of the canvas, and then just made mud. I am wondering if I started with too thick of a coat of the Liquid White? I am suspicious of this because my sky seemed to move a bit more than Bob's in his videos, and even my clouds kept picking up the blue, which his never did. I am so hard on myself, even to a fault, and I just quit the painting right then and there as I was just wasting all of my oil paint at the point. I would absolutely love some insight on this, any technique to applying the liquid white? For the base color of the foliage before adding highlights, should that go on with dry brush, very little paint?

And thank you all!

Hi, Verhaeren!

First of all, what paints are you using? Regular oil paint? Alkyds?

It's also important to note oil paint has a very long drying time. Depending on the formulation, it might take a few days to dry. The thicker the layer, the longer it takes.

Second, are you mixing acrylic paint with oils? It's not a good idea to mix the two of them. You can paint with oils over acrylics after acrylics dry, but even then, your painting might have a poorer adhesion.

Verhaeren.Art
10-08-2014, 05:00 PM
Hello! I am using Bob Ross Oil Paints. No mixing with acrylic. Also using his brushes, cleaning system, the whole 9 yards.

I specifically chose the wet on wet technique so that I would not have to wait for the paint to dry before adding new layers. With Bob Ross I have watched him so many times finish a painting in 30 minutes by just continually layering the wet paint. For whatever reason, when I tried this, it just mushed into a horrible color. I have had some feedback that it probably WAS the amount of liquid white I was using in the beginning. So I am certainly going to lessen that as much as I can. It is so hard to see how much is going on when I have a white canvas...I don't know if there is a special technique to this?

I absolutely LOVE the potential that oil gives me to blend paints as I go. It makes skies so much EASIER than trying to layer acrylics on. For whatever reason, I just had so much harder of a time then he seemed to have!

Mythrill
10-08-2014, 06:25 PM
Hello! I am using Bob Ross Oil Paints. No mixing with acrylic. Also using his brushes, cleaning system, the whole 9 yards.

I specifically chose the wet on wet technique so that I would not have to wait for the paint to dry before adding new layers. With Bob Ross I have watched him so many times finish a painting in 30 minutes by just continually layering the wet paint. For whatever reason, when I tried this, it just mushed into a horrible color. I have had some feedback that it probably WAS the amount of liquid white I was using in the beginning. So I am certainly going to lessen that as much as I can. It is so hard to see how much is going on when I have a white canvas...I don't know if there is a special technique to this?

I absolutely LOVE the potential that oil gives me to blend paints as I go. It makes skies so much EASIER than trying to layer acrylics on. For whatever reason, I just had so much harder of a time then he seemed to have!

Hi, Verhahen!

Oil painting lends itself to a slower pace than acrylics. Although you can paint a beautiful landscape in 30 minutes if you're experienced on that subject, it's best to take your time.

I read a little more about "Liquid White" it seems it's a painting medium used to thin down colors. Is that right? If so, you might want to check if you aren't adding too much medium, as it could make your paint too "goopy". This could explain the adhesion problems.

Gigalot
10-08-2014, 07:11 PM
Bob Ross had a great, many years of experience in his style. He used special paints and his own tricks to paint. Many people wanted to emulate his original painting speed, but nope. Liquid White is his own, adapted paint with special medium and pigment load, designed to make less messy result in his wet-on-wet painting tricks. Drying properties of this paint can prevent mixing with other wet paints.

You may try to read Richard Schmidt "Alla-Prima" book to improve your own Wet-on-Wet technique. Quick paint style needs to have much experience to avoid mud.

WFMartin
10-08-2014, 11:21 PM
The Bob Ross style of painting may appear "easy" and "appropriate for beginners, but the opposite is true. The wet-in-wet method of applying paint is quite difficult to accomplish, and just because Bob makes it appear "easy", it is anything but.

Also, the Bob Ross method causes a painter to become extremely dependent upon the specific tools and materials employed for the process. Once learned (and you can learn it in a very short time), one can never become any "better". Once you have learned how to "skip-trowel" a mountain, or "dab in" a tree, that is as "good" as it ever can get.

Even if you wish to improve and to create more realistic appearing subjects, your ability to accomplish such improvements with the same tools and materials, is quite impossible. You are held captive by the "process", based upon the use of proprietary paint, medium, painting knives, and brushes.

However, if you wish to pursue the Bob Ross method of wet-in-wet painting, there are a few operations you need to consider. Because the paint is applied wet into an existing wet application, the two tend to mix, creating the inappropriate color mix, or "mud", that is so feared by most artists.

There are basically two ways to counteract that inadvertent mixing of the bottom wet layer, with the top wet application. First, you can lay the second application of paint on so profoundly thick that the wet underlayer couldn't possibly lift, and mix into the top application. Bob uses this technique when he trowels the paint on with his painting knife when he paints mountains.

Second, when painting the top layer (the foliage of a tree, for example) you can mix up such an intense, high-chroma, pure, garish color, that by the time it lifts up the underlayer, it will have combined with the first application to create a rather appropriate, final color, because of the graying-down of it. Bob uses this technique when he paints a bush, or foliage on a tree.

Also, be aware, when oil paint is applied as thickly as Bob applies it, the drying time is absolutely enormous. Be prepared for days to weeks of drying time, before it can be considered dry enough to frame, or varnish.

Please, also ask yourself when was the last time you watched Bob paint a still-life? A portrait? The painting of an animal? His method is quite limited to the painting of landscapes.

I began oil painting using the methods of Bob Ross. When I was in the art store, buying these materials, the very knowledgeable sales person told me that most artists usually wish to modify their methods to improve their work, after having painted about 6 to 8 paintings using the Bob Ross style. That sales person was absolutely correct!:D

karenlee
10-08-2014, 11:45 PM
I was taught that in wet-on wet, the second layer has to be carefully applied with a flat brush in a specific way:
1) The brush has to be adequately loaded with paint
2) The brush has to be almost parallel to the painting as you stroke on the paint. (It' s like spreading soft butter on bread; the knife is at an acute angle to the bread, not perpendicular.)
3) In the brushstroke, use as little pressure as possible to avoid penetrating the first layer.
This does take practice! Good luck!

Gigalot
10-09-2014, 04:47 AM
I am totally agree with W.F. Martin. Why do I need to waste years my time to study his own style? I don"t want to be a second Bob Ross :lol: Nobody can be a second Bob Ross!
I am not a painting robot and I don't have enough artists materials to stamp my paintings every half hour with the hurry of cheap chinese prints. I decided to spend more time to work better. I like oil paint because it can give me a chance to create my own miracle painting with real "oil paint glow" (or "alkyd paint glow" :lol: ) instead of using boring tricks, dull murals.and plastic acrylics.

Verhaeren.Art
10-09-2014, 01:50 PM
Gosh, thank you ALL again SO very much. This is great to have some input from fellow painters. I will take ALL of your advice and try to apply it to my technique today when I paint.

I understand about developing your own style, and someday I will probably do this. In the mean time, I am absolutely in love with the style of Bob Ross paintings, and find his tricks and tips quite valuable in learning a basis of techniques. Though I probably won't stick to this style forever, and will feel more comfortable branching out into my own work eventually, I most certainly would like to begin here for a good foundation. :)

Thanks again guys!

amyart
11-06-2014, 05:51 PM
One thing i didn't see mentioned.
When using oil paints you want to paint the fast drying paints first.
Fast drying paints have less oil than slower drying paints.
If you thin with turpentine, you make a paint dry faster.
Fast drying paints are called "lean."
Slow drying paints are called "fat".
The rule of thumb is "fat over lean."
Different colors dry fast or slow depending
upon their chemistry. You can make a "fat"
Paint "lean" by adding turpentine.
you can make a "lean" paint "fat" by adding
a little "oil" usually linseed oil, but there are other
oils, such as safflower. Linseed oil is warmer in how it
reacts to paints, safflower oil is cooler in how it reacts
to paints (pigments).
Remember "fat" over "lean".

Gigalot
11-07-2014, 05:20 AM
One thing i didn't see mentioned.
When using oil paints you want to paint the fast drying paints first.
Fast drying paints have less oil than slower drying paints.
If you thin with turpentine, you make a paint dry faster.
Fast drying paints are called "lean."
Slow drying paints are called "fat".
The rule of thumb is "fat over lean."
Different colors dry fast or slow depending
upon their chemistry. You can make a "fat"
Paint "lean" by adding turpentine.
you can make a "lean" paint "fat" by adding
a little "oil" usually linseed oil, but there are other
oils, such as safflower. Linseed oil is warmer in how it
reacts to paints, safflower oil is cooler in how it reacts
to paints (pigments).
Remember "fat" over "lean".
Fast drying oil paints dries because of drying properties of pigment used there.
You can add more oil to fast drying oil paints to increase drying time. But anyway, fast drying pigments can dry ten or twenty times faster than slow drying pigment with the same oil content. Try to compare Red Lead and Mica powder paints drying properties. Hope, mica paint will cure after 6 years to a hard dried film. It is still tacky, not cured well on my painting after three years.

Fat over lean rule works on rigid surfaces. Acrylic primer itself is ten times more flexible than dried oil paint film. How can you imagine "fat over lean" over acrylic? You need to add solvent to make your paint lean, brittle, and even less flexible than normal oil paint film can be? And you do this thing on a very flexible support? What is the reason to do that?

Lobke Spain
11-07-2014, 06:14 AM
Some paints dry faster like Umbers, but you're talking days, I think his problem is about minutes or hours. He says he's painting Alla Prima. If he has a technical problem of layering paints, it won't be solved by switching pigments, nor have any of those rules any relevance to Alla Prima, they're rules for people who glaze.

Mythrill
11-07-2014, 07:01 AM
Some paints dry faster like Umbers, but you're talking days, I think his problem is about minutes or hours. He says he's painting Alla Prima. If he has a technical problem of layering paints, it won't be solved by switching pigments, nor have any of those rules any relevance to Alla Prima, they're rules for people who glaze.

The big problem with a 100% pure Alla Prima painting is that it can crack so much more easily due to someone abusing slow-drying pigments.

The best thing you can do is to at least apply flat, fast-drying color to your canvas (cobalts, umbers, etc) and paint over it wet-on-wet (Alla Prima). That way, the film they will make will reduce future cracking a lot.

Lobke Spain
11-07-2014, 08:14 AM
An Alla Prima painting shouldn't crack unless it's done over several days in which case it's no longer Alla Prima. I asked Winsor and Newton about this once, and they said that Alla Prima paintings done in 1 or 2 days don't crack, even if you ignore all the rules, because it has no time to dry in that time. Since then I ignore all those rules and never had a problem.

The cracking happens with people who glaze and who let a fast drying layer dry over a layer beneath it that is still curing. Since that's not possible in Alla Prima since the paint isn't made up of layers drying at different rates, Alla Prima paintings never crack.

Their response makes sense, since even the fastest drying pigments like umbers and cobalts still need several days before they are dried, far longer than an Alla Prima session should take. If Alla Prima paintings could easily crack, all paintings would crack, since Alla Prima is just a single layer of wet mixed paint. If there are distinct layers in an Alla Prima paintings drying at different rates, it's no longer Alla Prima, since you took longer than several days.

Painting rules can be safely thrown out the door if you paint Alla Prima, one of the reasons I actually paint like that because it's comforting to know for someone who would most likely mess it up anyway since I'd be clumsy enough to do it.

Mythrill
11-07-2014, 09:07 AM
An Alla Prima painting shouldn't crack unless it's done over several days in which case it's no longer Alla Prima. I asked Winsor and Newton about this once, and they said that Alla Prima paintings done in 1 or 2 days don't crack, even if you ignore all the rules, because it has no time to dry in that time. Since then I ignore all those rules and never had a problem.

The cracking happens with people who glaze and who let a fast drying layer dry over a layer beneath it that is still curing. Since that's not possible in Alla Prima since the paint isn't made up of layers drying at different rates, Alla Prima paintings never crack.

Their response makes sense, since even the fastest drying pigments like umbers and cobalts still need several days before they are dried, far longer than an Alla Prima session should take. If Alla Prima paintings could easily crack, all paintings would crack, since Alla Prima is just a single layer of wet mixed paint. If there are distinct layers in an Alla Prima paintings drying at different rates, it's no longer Alla Prima, since you took longer than several days.

Painting rules can be safely thrown out the door if you paint Alla Prima, one of the reasons I actually paint like that because it's comforting to know for someone who would most likely mess it up anyway since I'd be clumsy enough to do it.

I think I see what you mean, Lobke, but what about mixing paints that dry at different rates, e.g, slow-drying quinacridones vs fast-drying cobalts? Won't this compromise your painting?

Lobke Spain
11-07-2014, 09:26 AM
Not within 2 days no. It would happen with those Alkyd based oil paints. Same thing with Gesso happens, if you put gesso over tacky oil paint, you have huge cracks a few hours later, same with Alkyd paints. But not with regular paints.

The consensus seems to be that none of the rules apply to Alla Prima. There's people who spend 4 days on paintings and call it Alla Prima though, maybe they need to call it something else.

amyart
11-14-2014, 09:00 PM
But isn't it true that the polymers in acrylics make the layers of paint stick and that adding water simply weakens the polymers. You can use flow release fluid to stretch or break the polymer bonds, but it still weakens the sticking power of the acrylic.

You are right about different pigments in oil drying at varied rates. They are also easy to learn. In oils, the oil is what makes one layer stick to another. That's why I think that learning the fat over lean rule would help anyone understand both the use of adding oil, and learning different pigment drying times.

My oils take a long time to dry, but the color is very vivid as the drying progresses.
Amy