View Full Version : Errrr.... ahhhhh .....

12-30-2001, 09:26 AM
.... uhhhh .... I've read the archives again and all the responses to the previous post but I think I'm becoming confused again.


So let me try this again (I'm very stubborn and I refuse to give up) ...

Do I mix paint and turps with a knife and then pick it up, or just smush it all together with a brush?

Any final suggestions on the ratio of turps to linseed to damar to paint for different consistencies? What I've gleened here so far is that Turps, Linseed, and Damar in a 2-1-1 is sort of a starting point or benchmark. Correct?

How is stand oil different from regular linseed oil? Pros ... cons?

Thanks again for the assistance ... believe it or not it's helping and I'm eating up everything you guys say! :D

Oh, I'm picking up the Meyer book this weekend!

(Medium-less) Snakum (Confused beyond all measure)

Scott Methvin
12-30-2001, 10:58 AM
Hi Sankum,

There are many ways to oil paint. Some use the little cups with oil in one and terp in the other. They'll just dip their brush into one or the other. It seems to be an "ala prima" style. This is where you work wet into wet-like an out door landscape artist.

I use a plastic squeeze bottle that allows me to add my meduim drop by drop. Generally I mix with a brush, then wipe off the brush and start painting. For any amount slightly larger, a knife is a better idea.

Personally, I use my washed raw cold-pressed linseed oil mixed with canada balsam as a medium. The canada balsam is a weak solvent and has other properties-like adheisiveness and adds depth.

Stand oil is heat treated linseed oil. It dries slowly and levels to an enamel like surface. It is also not very yellowing.

I make 85% of my own paint. It is made with the same linseed oil I use as my medium. I am probably the post that recomended the lead shot be added to your oil for faster drying. It does work, but you'll need to use a good quantity and let it stay in there for awhile.

The white oil paint I make and use has great handling properties. (Lead or flake white) I don't use much terpentine at all. Only in the early stages of a painting, if at all.

Practice and experimentation will show you where YOUR comfort zone is.

Hope this helps.

12-30-2001, 02:06 PM
If you are a beginner, this should be a big help; Stay away from mixing thinner with your paint..this will certainly produce problems {paint too watery, not adhering to the support, etc.} that will not go away until you stop using the thinner.
Stand oil is a thickened version of linseed oil and when mixed 50/50 with thinner produces a luxurious medium for fluid strokes (don't overdo it). I use it instead of Liquin. Otherwise I do not use thinners at all...just ivory soap to clean up after wiping off the brush. good luck and keep those questions coming.:angel: ;)

12-30-2001, 07:05 PM
I've recommended the following book several times before and have gotten excellent responses. It's called "The Enclyclopedia of Oil Painting Techniques" by Jeremy Galton. It's an excellent beginner book, easy to read and has wonderful illustrations from art supplies to all kinds of technqiues - brush, rag, knife, etc. It's a paperback and I think I paid $17.00 for it at B&N and I found it very helpful when I resumed painting after having been away from it for many years. You can't really "read" Mayer's book (at least I couldn't), it's strictly for (very good) reference, but Frederic Taubes wrote a series of books in the same period of time that are very educational and much easier to read, so you might want to take a look at them as well. Used only (I think) I paid on the average of about $6 a book.

Keep up the good work - even if you don't become another Degas, you ARE very entertaining. :D

P.S. If you go through Amazon - go directly to the dealer, do not stop at GO. They will not to check to see if they have the book or not before they charge you for it and if the dealer does not have the book - you're screwed!!

12-30-2001, 07:59 PM
My favorite mediums are stand oil and liquin. With both i put a dallop of it on my palette. For small amounts of paint i dip the brush into the medium and then into my paint. I then apply to the canvas and actually mix it on the canvas to some degree. you will find what works best for you with practice. For larger amounts of one color and medium (for large areas) i mix with the knife, like Scott. it's easier to get a good even mix and isn't abusing my brushes.

PS your questions are always welcomed! There are probably other people wondering the same things that can learn from your posts! :)

12-30-2001, 10:47 PM
I have to jump in here with a recommendation that I got from two of the best portrait painters in the country. They also do a mean still life. Mix your pigments with a BRUSH, that's important and do NOT do a complete even mix of the two pigments. Rather smear them together in a stripe so that the two pigments are still distinguishable, in varying degrees. Then, when the paint is applied to the support, the two colors will still be vibrating and the mixture will appear much richer with both colors still discernable. I have noticed that I can then choose among the different values and degrees of the mixture to apply even more effects. It is a fact that the more oil pigments are mixed, one with another or even another, the DULLER they become. I hope that this is clear it can make painting a lot more colorful.
Now, I just want to add, that I was told by a artist who is super expert with the painting knife, that as soon as you pick up color with a BRUSH, you DULL it. He paints mostly with the knife for fine, realistic, detailed effects. So, I'm guessing that a quick, not too thorough mix with a knife would be good and would preserve the chroma of the pigments. Switching to a knife, however, if you are painting with brushes would SLOW down the process a lot. And if you were painting from an arm palette (as any good oil painter should) the switching to the knife becomes problematic...(I am enjoying writing this as I feel that this subject is terribly interesting and important.):evil: :angel:

12-30-2001, 11:42 PM
I always thought I was supposed to mix the paints with the pallette knife. What else are you supposed to do with those knives otherwise? (I've heard rumors of people actually PAINTING with them, but maybe those same people eat spaghettiw with a knife too?)

12-31-2001, 01:45 AM
... three posts here and I have enough info to keep me busy for a week! I can't tell you how much I appreciate everyone taking so much time to help a newbie. I owe you! Tell you what ... as soon as I sell at Sotheby's there'll be one helluva party in Greensboro and you're all invited. I wonder how much I could get for 'Fingerpaints On PCP' (9x12 Oil On Canvas)?

I'm going to take a look at the Galton book this week and today I picked up 'The Oil Painting Book' (Blake) from the library. So far it looks pretty good as a general, yet comprehensive introduction.

I'm just trying to nail down the basics and I'm also really concentrating 'seeing' the hues and their associated values in my still-lifes. The hardest thing for me when I started working in color last month (pastels) was seeing the different colors in an object. I look at a white car and see 'white' and I can sling white paint at a canvas board. But you pros can effortlessly identify and represent the different shades of this color to build form and depth. I'm DEVOURING everything posted here and every book I can find on oils in the three county library systems close by.

Thanks again for suffering a starry-eyed beginner! :clap:

Minh Thong

12-31-2001, 09:20 AM
Sounds like you are on your way and with no short supply of enthusiasm. As I have said before, everyone has their own ideas about how to paint and what to use. It takes time and a lot of practice before you can decide what kind of paint or medium you like best, what support, whether you like to walk around holding your palette or keep it on a table near your easel, etc, etc. There is some great advice in here - try as may of the suggestions as you can.

Most of all enjoy!

Michael not sure how to respond to that but if you are serious - again, it's personal preference - I just try not to mix too much with knife or brush.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy New Year!!:)

12-31-2001, 09:32 AM
Originally posted by ldallen
Michael not sure how to respond to that but if you are serious - again, it's personal preference - I just try not to mix too much with knife or brush.

Seriously (it's hard to be serious, but I'll try), I do use the pallet knifes to mix the paints. Using a brush to mix paints leads to the brushes not lasting very long, I've discovered this for sure.

I don't seem to have a problem with mixing the paints up too well... having them mixed really well is the goal, and it takes a lot of pallette kniving to get them that way.

Now, if I have two very similar colored well mixed piles of paint, then I'll dab the brush in one, then in the other, and I dont mind that kind of mixing.

The last time I took an art class, the instructor criticized me for having my different colored paints haphazardly all around the pallette. But then the instructors don't put fast drying mediums into their oil mixtures like I do. If you are using Liquin, (or the Quickdry Alkyd Resin that Grumacher sells for it's oil miscible Max paints which I have ben using ), then the oil paints try pretty fast, so you can't save your piles of paint and use them again the next day. It's use them or lose them.

My opinion is that a lof of this is personal preference, as long as you get the correct color in the end, does all of this really matter?

12-31-2001, 10:02 AM
Michael - glad you agree with the "personal preference" issue. I use whatever is handiest, brush or knife - depending on what I'm doing. I also agree that it's hard on the brushes so if I am going to mix with a brush I use old brushes (and I have a bunch of handy craft brushes). Generally speaking I don't like the fast drying mediums - Cheryl and I have more or less agreed to disagree on this a long time ago. If I am working on minis, however, I do use Liquin. As far as my palette organization is concerned I'm the biggest mess around. I do lay out my paints in order, but I invariably wind up with - well, you know. I'm getting better though. I've learned to keep my medium away from the "piles" of clean paint on my palette so that I can save any left over paint for underpaintings.

Does anyone have thoughts about "mixing" mediums? I keep a journal now and write down the details of what I am doing for each painting and date them so I know when it's safe to varnish. I've pretty much come down to the two mediums I like the most but what if I'm working over an old one and can't remember what medium I used? How will that effect them in the future?