View Full Version : ....fat over lean..

Wayne Gaudon
12-24-2001, 05:46 PM
Ok, I'm new to oil and was wondering what the fat over lean had to do with the way I paint .. I know from reading that you are not supposed to overlay undried slow drying paint with thin or fast drying paint or you will get paint cracking but I'm not sure how it relates to actual practice.

Let's say I start out and I block in the painting but instead of thin paint I block with normal or thick paint. Now I want to go back and scumble and dry brush over this and even just add paint using brushes or knives. I know I can't dry brush till the surface is dry but I also know the surface can be dry and just under it everything is still wet. As well, if I just brush over and into the wet I can assume it has no bearing on the fat over lean principle.
Perhaps, I'm wrong.

Do I have to wait a few weeks to do this or can I just go in and work wet into wet and fool around when it's sticky or what. Once sticky, I can get away with a vauge version of dry brush that works for me.

The first paining I done, I did over a period of 3 days and before I get carried away I guess I would like to be a little more clear on this rule as I don't want paintings that crack.

Thanks in advance for any and all help offered.

shawn gibson
12-24-2001, 07:11 PM
Hey artist.

First advice: paint comfortably, but get the lean to fat thing working in general:

Second advice: If you start thick, use lead white (apparently poisonous if you eat it:)); or imbue your pigment with lead (carbonate as you desire/monoxide in VERY SMALL quantities...still don't trust the monoxide--litharge--stuff...very brittle and very VERY fast drying in my limited experience). Or use cobalt with a few caveats you'll read around here. Or use alkyd-based stuff, though the last is not truly tested as you're read around here...

Third advice: on something thinner than 'thick' but thicker than 'thin', TIME is your friend, give it a month if you're not sure what's in the pigment. Feel the month old stroke with your fingers, fairly aggressively (you're painting over it right? and you're in a hurry right?). If your gut tells you it's ok, then with todays materials, it's probably ok.

Certain pigments take forever to dry, be careful with rose madder especially in my experience. There's nothing wrong with adding a little lead to it (remember, turps and lavender oil/spike don't change anything, just put on a thinner coat...so a pigment still retains it characteristics...though someone else should jump in there), though I couldn't tell you exactly if its a chemical or a physical change that takes place.

I ROUTINELY put paint over an impasto LEAD WHITE stroke (modified slightly with earth tones for half-tones etc.) in the timespan of less than a week. Lead, as I've heard said somewhere round here, is your friend:)

BE careful with lead.
Don't eat it.
Don't work with lead pigment around babies or kitties either:)
And wear a mask if you're grinding the pigments.

All you need to know about Life in 3 quarts and a hiccup:)


(that 'shawn' guy, he's a smart arse...take him with a grain of salt:))