View Full Version : Baby oil thinner

truck driver
03-31-2008, 11:37 PM
I read somwhere in an oil pastel manufactures promotional material, that OP could be thinned, and a wash created using baby oil, as almost all of my work is done, inside a 4x8 space a turpentine based solution is not the greatest. By the way, not having just a lot of money to throw around on media, as well as the forementioned the only time we get to draw is in a truck issue, is what led me to my interest in OP.
Most of you probably wont approve of my selection of pastel (Cray-Pas expressionists), Though slowly I am adding a few Sennelier to the collection mostly from reading about them here. So any thoughts hints or suggestions would be most welcome.

04-01-2008, 01:33 AM
I've never heard of this before. I'll be reading with interest on your responses, but I just wanted to welcome you to Wetcanvas and to the oil pastel forum. Try out some different kinds of paper to find what you like.

04-01-2008, 03:53 AM
Hi there, welcome to the OP forum! I've heard of using baby oil. I doubt it's archival, but for practice stuff for yourself, why not? Alcohol can be used too. (I'm just starting out with OP's, so I haven't tried any solvents yet.)

Most people tend to pan student OP's not so much because they're not archival (although most student grades don't guarantee archivalness) but because they're so hard and don't blend easily. The artist-level Senns are the softest and are like painting with lipstick and easy to blend, which most artists prefer, but some don't and think they're too soft and slippery. And even the hard, student OP's work okay for underpainting or for drawing crisp lines, whereas a sharp Senn will go dull within a single stroke of the stick.

A good intro to OP's, including brands and papers, can be found here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=439023). I'll add that there appears to be a new brand of artist-level OP's that's just been introduced by Jerry's Artarama to the marketplace: Erengi Art Aspirers; initial reports indicate they're hard but smooth, relatively inexpensive (for an artist-level brand), and Jerry's has them on sale (http://www.jerrysartarama.com/art-supply/catalogs/0077346000000)right now to the end of April 2008.

Again, welcome. If you have questions, there are knowledgeable people here than can help you.

Pat Isaac
04-01-2008, 09:32 AM
Welcome to the OP forum.:wave: I've not heard of using baby oil to spread the OPs, but I have heard of some OP artists who clean their OPs with baby oil.
The student grade OPs are fine for sketching and the Craypas specialists are an artist grade and not much more money than the expressionists. Adding a few of the top grade OPs is a good idea, then you can get a feel for what you like and what works for you. Bob has given you some good links to look at. Hope to see some posts soon.

04-01-2008, 12:09 PM
If I'm not mistake, baby oil is simply scented mineral oil. Mineral oil is the oil base used in the manufacture of OP's, therefore it would make sense that mineral oil could be used as a "solvent". However, rather than use baby oil, I would simply purchase some high quality mineral oil from a local pharmacy.

BTW, welcome to the OP forum. Lot of us learners here so don't feel like a stranger!

:music: :heart: :music:

04-01-2008, 03:19 PM
Hi truck driver and welcome to the OP Forum! :wave:

I've heard of using baby oil as a thinner for OPs. As Bill notes, baby oil is made of mineral oil, a basic component of OPs. The thing that would concern me is that as a non-drying oil, you might have problems with the washes created with baby oil drying. I tried mineral oil as a thinner once, and I did have problems with the piece drying, but as I tried a variety of other products as well on that piece, I can't be sure that the fault was the mineral oil. I probably should add that there was a person posting here some time ago that mentioned using baby oil and said there wasn't any problem with drying, so maybe some experimentation is in order, to see if it works for you.

Although I never tried it, I wonder if using alcohol to create the wash might be a better alternative for you. It probably isn't too great to breathe it in either, but it certainly would be preferable to turpentine, and is inexpensive and easily available.

As far as your Expressionists are concerned, I have a few, and see nothing wrong at all with them. I have several paintings done nearly 10 years ago with student brands, including a few Expressionists, and they're fine, with no fading at all. There are several artist brands that are indeed much softer, but on a limited budget, Expressionists are probably a very good choice, and you certainly will be able to paint successfully with them. And if you decide at any point to build up your collection of artist brands further, they'll still work for you in doing your underpaintings.

For an inexpensive surface to work on, I'd suggest either Bristol vellum, which is a relatively smooth surface, but one that will still allow for layering, or to use Colorfix primer to create your own surfaces. A tub of Colorfix costs about $15, but it goes a long way. Another possibility is watercolor paper.

Again, welcome to the forum and I hope you'll post some of your work for us to see. :)

Shirl Parker
04-01-2008, 05:33 PM
Sundiver, back in 2003 said "I have blended oil pastels with baby oil. Any oil will work, but it's pretty greasy and you need thick paper to absorb it.

truck driver
04-03-2008, 12:38 AM
Thank you all very much for youre feedback, alcohol is not much of an option,
even rubbing alcohol would be frowned upon. possesion inside a truck of real alcohol would not be acceptable at all. mineral oil, I will try. the paper I am using is a 130 lb cotton paper with semi rough texture not quite as rough as watercolor paper but far from smooth, Its one of my favorite drawing papers and seems to take the pastels really well.

04-04-2008, 06:03 AM
I use baby oil in my classroom. Works fine if the paper is thick enough, and smells nice! I don't know about its archival qualities, but we use construction paper which isn't archival either. I'd only worry about it if I were planning to sell the pieces. If your surface is primed with gesso or clear gesso that helps, but then the oil won't soak in and you wouldn't want to use much. Nowadays in class we use the baby oil more for making corrections than for blending.

...and you can do some great things with Expressionists! It's just that when you try the artist-grade ones you won't want to go back.;)