View Full Version : Liquin and OP?

07-06-2007, 09:59 AM
Hi everyone!

I was just browsing through here and I came across the mention of Liquin being used with OP?

That's a new one to me...I've used turps with OP but never liquin. I've only used Liquin with oil paint.

Does the Liquin handle pretty much the same as turps? Specifically, how does it affect the final appearance/surface? With oil paint, liquin is added as a dryer...something that isn't really necessary with OP, as it sets on its own pretty quickly.

This is a cool thing to find out because in a few weeks I'll be doing some on-the-spot pet portraits at an event, and I have decided to work in OP. If I can bring a bottle of Liquin instead of turps it would be great.


07-06-2007, 10:05 AM
I've used Liquin but mainly I use Res-n-gel. I smears the OP around for a thin transparent base layer. If used on paper, it dries fairly quickly as a fixed layer that you can work on top of without smearing. If used on canvas, it takes a day or so to dry.
When using the medium to smear the OP, it really does dry. And until it does, it has a slimy surface that desolves any fresh OP you try to put into it.

07-06-2007, 10:12 AM
Hmmm...thanks for your fast response! I might just stick to solvent then, I'm a little wary of using liquin straight on paper...though it doesn't spill so easily with commotion around. Also because I have a lot of it that I don't use very often, as I prefer other mediums with my oils.


07-06-2007, 10:33 AM
I've used Res-N-Gell too but found that if I waited a few days to finish a painting, the whole thing had a ridiged plastic feel to the surface. I've just started using H2O oil that comes with water based oil paints. This works will witha brush or shaper to push the ops around.

07-06-2007, 11:18 AM
Careful with the H2O oil...it's linseed oil with an emulsion added to make it water-miscible. It will eat through umprimed paper.

07-06-2007, 12:57 PM
Thanks. I don't relaly mind that at this point. Maybe I might later....I'll file that away.

07-06-2007, 01:41 PM
stapeliad: I've played around with Liquin. Although I love the sort of transparent look it gives, and the way it dissolves the OP for a base layer, it presents significant problems, in my view, for anything but a base layer because it's so glossy. The glossiness is really apparent next to any subsequent OP layers that are applied - it just looks odd. One is left with two choices: cover the entire liquin layer up with OP; or apply a glossy final fixative (such as Sennelier) to the entire painting, so there is no longer any difference in glossiness in different areas of the painting. Neither of these two alternatives is very desirable, imo.

I haven't tried the Res-N-Gel yet, but I was told it created a matte surface. Also, there's always the possibility of working on something like Colorfix, I suppose, if there are concerns about the Res-N-Gel on a normal (absorbant) paper surface, but I also suppose that then there might be a problem with the layer not drying quickly enough for a demonstration. I think the drying speed probably has to do with the absorbancy of the support.

What about using just plain alcohol at the demonstration? It will break down the OP pretty well, dry fast, and isn't toxic the way turps or liquin are. (I really am asking a question here, as I've never tried this, but understand others have.)

Pat Isaac
07-06-2007, 04:42 PM
I know they use alcohol for soft pastels, but have never heard it used for OPs. Is this true? I have also had the same experience as Annie with the Liquin.


07-06-2007, 06:53 PM

Pat: Someone had mentioned using alcohol with a q-tip for small areas that needed blending (I think it may have been Jane). So, I figured why not larger areas...

I just tried a quick experiment to see how it really does work. I took a sheet on which I had tested out different OP colors for my lily sketch. I brushed alcohol on with an old brush. It seems to work well, from what I can tell. The different OPs seem to break down at a different rate, but all of them release at least some pigment fairly quickly. For the ones that broke down more slowly, a bit of smooshing around with the brush tended to do the trick. The broken down OP pigment leaves the white of the paper showing through.

The paper became buckled with the wetness of the alcohol, but this was newsprint, so that was to be expected. I'll have to see what it looks like once dried, but for an underpainting, or maybe even for some kinds of blending, it looks right now like alcohol may be an effective medium.

07-06-2007, 07:10 PM
Annie, I have used alcohol on a Q-tip to completely remove OPs from gessoed surfaces. I haven't tried it as a blending medium, so I'm glad you are testing it out.

Stapeliad, I've never tried Liquin so I can't comment on it. I tend now to use Zest-it for blending with a medium since it's non-toxic. Jane

07-06-2007, 07:31 PM
Jane: Maybe it was someone else then, who mentioned using it to blend...

07-07-2007, 12:23 AM
Jane, I like the way the Zest-it works. But it evaporates way too fast and I'm afraid I'll spill it with having to put the cap on and off so much.

Pat Isaac
07-07-2007, 07:25 AM
Well, I'll be interested in your experiments with alcohol, Annie. I guess that was what I was initially thinking, that it would remove the OP, much like turps. But then, you can use turps to spread or to remove, so why not alcohol.


07-07-2007, 10:53 AM
...you can use turps to spread or to remove, so why not alcohol.
That's how it seems to me, Pat. I'm not certain I can take credit for this idea, as I really do think someone else mentioned using turps in this manner.

I was going to post a photo of my experiment, but it occurs to me that the newsprint, which is so absorbant, may be producing a different effect than what might occur on a non-absorbant surface (like Colorfix or Wallis, etc.). I can say that the technique produces an effect not unlike watercolor in the areas where the OP was not applied (the parts of the paper adjacent to the places where the OP has been laid down first). And there remains a sort of ghost of the original color where the OP has been laid down, the strength of the ghost depending on how vigorously one has brushed the alcohol on. Preliminary results suggest that Senns work best, while harder, cheapo brands don't break down as well; it also appear this technique may work best with recently applied OP, but I'm not entirely certain of these two results yet.

I think I'll try a comparison of alcohol with turps (or actually, turpenoid, as I don't ever actually use turps), and do it on a sheet that's less absorbant, and then post the results. It will probably be much later today, or even tomorrow, as I'll have to prepare a test piece with some Colorfix primer first (I sure wouldn't use my "good paper"!!! :lol:)

07-09-2007, 12:12 AM
Reporting back here...

Here's a photo of my experiment:
The top row is just two colors of Senn OP with no alcohol applied. All of the later spots of color started out about the same size as these first two. The sample in the second row has been rubbed fairly vigorously with a brush dipped in alcohol. You can see that the color is beginning to blend, and that there are areas of the yellow OP that have lifted almost entirely off. (I'll explain more about that white area to the right later.) The next row, using the same colors, green and yellow, shows what it looks like when the brush is pulled with a lighter touch from left to right only (maybe there is a way to glaze OP paintings after all, eh?). The next sample (red) is just a single color smooshed around with a brush with alcohol. The next one is a Pentel OP sample (all the previous ones were Senns). You can see that it hardly budges, and that the little color that does release with the alcohol is very weak (the pigment load must be significantly lower, or else it has to do with additional wax). And the last sample started out as a Cray-pas sample, but as it didn't budge either, I put some Senn blue on top and smooshed it around a bit, just for the heck of it.

I would have to say that the results were mixed. I made up the panel with Art Spectrum Mixed about equally with acrylic gesso. When I tried brushing with alcohol on it yesterday, the artspectrum began to come off. I presumed I hadn't let the panel dry long enough, so I let it dry an additional 24 hours. Then I tried again today, but even now the artspectrum comes off if I rub very hard (that's what those white spots on the panel are). I don't really know if it's the alcohol that's responsible, or if it's because I used just a piece of cardboard for the test panel and it had a slick surface which the artspectrum perhaps didn't adhere to properly in the first place. It was the less expensive, slightly thinner Utrecht gesso that I used too, so perhaps that contributed to the problem. More experimenting is therefore needed, but I wouldn't say the alcohol works quite like a normal medium would. With Liquin, for instance, the OP seems to liquify pretty quickly; with alcohol, there seems to be some resistance to breaking down. It does seem to dry again pretty fast.

It didn't feel like I had much control of the process here, but maybe with experience and additional testing, it might be developed into an interesting technique. I especially like the idea that one might create a wash or glaze, to go over already applied layers, by using harder OPs first, and then glazing with a soft Senn with alcohol. This all presumes that the alcohol isn't what's responsible for pulling up the artspectrum! I just recently received my samples of the new Richeson surface, which is supposed to be impervious to just about everything, so maybe I'll try a test on a sheet of that.

Pat Isaac
07-09-2007, 07:32 AM
Interesting experiment, Annie. Thanks for your efforts. I wouldn't be surprised if the alcohol is responsible for the colorfix lifting, as this paper does take a lot of abuse.


07-09-2007, 11:09 AM
Pat: I was surprised, actually. The brush I used wasn't a bristle

Pat Isaac
07-09-2007, 04:45 PM
Annie, did you know that almost all of your post didn't get up there? It is in my email but not on the site.
Anyway, I know that turps or turpenoid does not hurt the surface of Colorfix. Not sure about the person you are referring to.


07-09-2007, 05:08 PM
Annie, thanks for posting your test results. I often use a canvas toned with (acrylic) gesso and acrylic paint combined. When I use alcohol to remove OPs from this surface, I'll lift the gesso layer as well if I scrub too hard. Acrylic painters use alcohol to clean palettes, for example, so I'm thinking that since you used a combination of the gesso and Colourfix, it could be the gesso that's the problem not the Colourfix. But the Colourfix may be susceptible as well. (I think I saw all the post - last thing you mentioned was Richeson paper samples) Jane

07-09-2007, 11:21 PM
Pat: Do you mean post #17? I'd ask you to PM me with it, but suppose it's not earthshattering info anyway. :lol:

Pat and Jane: I didn't realize alcohol could be so damaging to surfaces.

Jane: I think Pat means post #17, where it just sort of trails off after the word, "bristle"... It was originally a longer post, but I didn't save it.

I think I may try watercolor paper for my next experiment instead of the Richeson stuff, if alcohol is known to be so likely to lift an acrylic surface. I'm still thinking this could be the thing to create a sort of glaze over an earlier OP layer.

I really went OT quite a bit here, didn't I? My apologies, stipeliad! :wave: Let us know what you eventually decided to use for your demo, and how it went.

Pat Isaac
07-10-2007, 06:50 AM
That is the post I meant and I saw it all but it didn't come up here. I don't have it anymore, sorry.