View Full Version : Using an "Oil Wash" technique?

Ted Bunker
12-25-2018, 12:06 AM
I watched an interesting video demo employing a semi-monochromatic Zorn palette using black, burnt umber, yellow ochre and white using what I believe is called an "oil wash". It looked very intriguing; but there was no running commentary by the artist.

He placed his paint puddles right on the vertical canvas so they were visible in-frame as he worked, completing the portrait in maybe 90-minutes. He thinned his color mixtures with a damp/wet brush to the point that the paint puddles nearly dripped down the canvas, but only lightly charged his brushes so the paint applied very thin and nearly-dry. Once applied the paint didn't overly-blend on the canvas; the solvent flashing-off as he worked?

Was he using a Linseed/OMS medium? Or only using OMS? I would think that Linseed-only would remain too runny, though I have read that a Linseed-wash can be used like watercolor in broad washes. Any thoughts or experiences?

12-25-2018, 12:33 AM
Do you have the link or the name of the artist? Was it on you tube?

Ted Bunker
12-25-2018, 03:59 AM
The artist is Zin Lim.

I like his technique, and it's amazing how suddenly there's an eye staring at you. An instructor of mine once said that for good likenesses you need the shape of the nose, the line of the mouth, and one dominant eye.


I'm also fascinated with Josvanr's still-life technique, his eggs are mesmerizing.


12-25-2018, 06:09 AM
Sorry to say, the technique you describe did not appear to be used in either of the videos you linked for us. Both appeared to be painting directly with minimally thinned paint, perhaps just enough to get the paint to flow somewhat. Both appear to paint rather directly and do much blending on the surface with brushes and the wet paint. Thicker passages of opaque lighter paints appear to be applied over “thinner” (less thickly applied) dark colored passages of paint often, allowing breaks of the under color to show through in a few areas in each.

This follows generally used principles in alla prima oil painting, where opaque paints will not pick up under colors as much when applied over other colors in general when compared to a “transparent pigment over the same color.

12-25-2018, 07:24 AM
Юрий Клапоух use pure OMS (from Maimeri) to make wash on canvas.

Ted Bunker
12-26-2018, 03:23 AM
I knew the second vid from Josvanr is traditional alla prima, ...the first one by Zin Lim was the that I wondered was an "oil wash". I must have misunderstood the description I'd read of an oil wash was for what Zin Lim was doing. Thinned with OMS solvent, or a OMS/Linseed tradtional medium? I guess it could be either...

I haven't worked with oils in decades, I'm a somewhat-lapsed landscape watercolorist. But I inherited a huge stash of oil paints from my mother that I want to explore this Spring, ...perhaps experimenting with still-lifes... and starting with a limited palete.

12-27-2018, 06:18 PM
In the description of Zim's video, he lists his medium as just Linseed Oil. It is quite stunning what results you can get with just oil and paint.

Good luck with your inherited oil paints, I recently acquired some for extremely cheap and have been enjoying working with some colors I have not had in my paint drawer in many years (umber, genuine alizarin, and a few others). They have proved perfect for studies and sketches.