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View Full Version : Technical issues working with water soluble oils, varnishing and lint


jcr
09-30-2009, 02:34 PM
Hi,

I have been working with water soluble oils for a short time. I currently am trying a wipe out underpainting with Raw Umber and water on acrylic gesso primed masonite. It seems as if the raw umber dried too fast and when I would try to work an area that had already dryed it made blotches and lifted the area out I had already worked in. I tried working with a rag on a small area highlight with Gamsol Mineral Spirits and it didn't really lift off paint very well. I read that I should soak the rags ahead of time for awhile in Mineral Spirits? Has anyone had any luck with this process? I am only working on a 9"x12" panel, not very big.

Another issue I am having, and I wonder if anyone else has experienced this, is my water container is left open when I am not painting and I think has collected dust. When I add water to the can I can see the dust/lint in my initial paint applications.

Because I have read so many people have had varnishing problems and that it is tricky to apply, I tried applying varnish like Helen Van Wyk recommends "dipping wadded amount of cloth into damar varnish and apply to canvas in a circular motion". She said it is better because using a cloth prevents you from applying a thick layer that is more apt to crack. When I did this it seemed to dry fast and uneven, maybe I needed to apply it thicker. I am afraid of ruining paintings by trying to varnish them!

mawdwyn
09-30-2009, 03:35 PM
Hi June

Don't know what brand/s of wm oils you're using, but the Artisan thinner from Winsor-Newton works well with most of them, and much better than water! I only use water for rinsing my brushes and cleaning up. I found with water-thinned paint, after the water evaporated, the diluted paint left behind was powdery - and didn't stick to the surface well.
As for dust in your water - why not start with fresh, clean water for each painting session? No dust or chance of muddying your colors from the dirty water. If you really want to keep going with the old water, just keep it in something that has a lid on it.
For varnishing, I get good results with a large and very soft water color brush. I'd be afraid of lint coming off of the cloth into the varnish.

Just had another thought about dusty water... I noticed when I tried to use water-thinned paint that the color would sort of "bead up" on the canvas, maybe that could be what's going on and it's not pieces of lint/dust?

By the way, welcome to WC and the Oils forums!

Callie

jcr
09-30-2009, 07:38 PM
Hi Callie,

Thank you for your response. I've heard about the thinner from Winsor-Newton but I have not been able to find it. Do you know if regular thinner is suppose to do the same thing?

As for the lint/dust issue, I am putting a piece of foil over my new empty water can from now on to see if that helps. Maybe it settles in the empty can and when I fill it with water, it mixes with the water. Or it was from the rag I used. Or the new brush. I did not wash it before using. Anyway, I was having a terrible time but I love the way the under painting turned out for this still life.

When varnishing, what do you use? Damar straight or do you have a mix you use?

Thank you for the welcome. I am so excited to see a section devoted to water soluble oils!

dcorc
09-30-2009, 09:35 PM
Hi Callie,

Thank you for your response. I've heard about the thinner from Winsor-Newton but I have not been able to find it. Do you know if regular thinner is suppose to do the same thing?

Using a "conventional" solvent, I would expect the water-solubles to handle essentially identical to traditional oilpaints.

As for the lint/dust issue, I am putting a piece of foil over my new empty water can from now on to see if that helps. Maybe it settles in the empty can and when I fill it with water, it mixes with the water. Or it was from the rag I used. Or the new brush. I did not wash it before using.

Its worth remembering that brushes can accumulate quite a lot of dust if you have them sitting up in a can between uses. I flick my brushes through, before using them, to remove dust.

When varnishing, what do you use? Damar straight or do you have a mix you use?

I'd take the view that damar is best regarded as obsolete, as a final varnish (it may still be appropriate as a component of painting mediums if you like one which tacks quickly and handles "draggy").

Damar is prone to yellow, and becomes increasingly difficult to remove with age, requiring stronger solvents than turpentine. I'd advocate that a better choice now is one of the non-yellowing easily-removed synthetics such as Gamvar or Soluvar or a ketone-based varnish such as W&N's. Its also the case that these are easier to apply than damar, as they can be applied at room temp whereas damar is best applied warm.

Dave

mawdwyn
10-01-2009, 10:33 AM
I've been using Winsor-Newton varnishes (mixing the gloss and matte together). I haven't tried the Artisan varnish yet. I'm going to try the W-N spray varnish next because it comes in a satin finish.
June - here's what I keep my water in while painting. It's got a springy metal coil in the jar to wipe the brush on - helps to get the paint out, and keeps the paint residue in the bottom of the jar, and it has a lid to keep the dust out :)

http://www.dickblick.com/products/silicoil-brush-cleaning-tank/#photos

*If you can't find the Artisan thinner at your local art supply, you can order it online at just about any art store. If you use a regular paint thinner, you lose the advantage of wm oils - easy clean up, since regular paint thinners need to be treated as hazardous waste.

Dave - good thought on the brushes. I always give mine a rinse and then blot on paper towels before painting, so never thought about dusty brushes.

Callie

tsita
12-06-2009, 03:26 PM
If you have already started a painting mixing the oils with water, can you begin the next layer thinning with Artisan thinner instead of water? Thanks, Terry

tsita
12-06-2009, 03:34 PM
I have done a 30x40 painting and had it varnished in the art store because I thought they would do a better job. I wanted a semi-gloss. She said there was no such thing. She would use satin finish. Instead of bringing out the colors to their original bright look, it has dulled the darker colors and the painting does not have the sharp lines that it did before. It also has some streaks in the darker parts. What can I do to improve the look of this painting short of removing all the varnish. It is hanging in my church and noone else has noticed, but I know it is not right and would like to change it. Thanks, Terry

greywolf-art
12-06-2009, 03:44 PM
I don't think there would be a problem switching from water to watersoluble thinners halfway through a painting :)

tjbintz
12-06-2009, 04:13 PM
Hello June, Welcome to this forum.

I'm very new to oil paints in general and to this forum. I am finding great information here and some really awesome artwork such as yourself.

Tim

tsita
12-06-2009, 05:14 PM
Thanks , Greywolf, for the advice. I made another post about varnishing a large painting? Do you know anything about what I wrote in that one? It is right above your post. Terry

greywolf-art
12-07-2009, 04:41 AM
Thanks , Greywolf, for the advice. I made another post about varnishing a large painting? Do you know anything about what I wrote in that one? It is right above your post. Terry

TBH I'm not sure, I don't generally varnish my paintings so its not a subject I'm really up on.

sidbledsoe
12-08-2009, 09:44 AM
I have done a 30x40 painting and had it varnished in the art store because I thought they would do a better job. I wanted a semi-gloss. She said there was no such thing. She would use satin finish. Instead of bringing out the colors to their original bright look, it has dulled the darker colors and the painting does not have the sharp lines that it did before. It also has some streaks in the darker parts. What can I do to improve the look of this painting short of removing all the varnish. It is hanging in my church and noone else has noticed, but I know it is not right and would like to change it. Thanks, Terry

Hi Terry,
Do you know what kind/brand varnish was used? You may be able to give it another coat of semi-gloss varnish and fix it to your liking. Yes, you can easily make a semi-gloss varnish finish. Glossy varnish just has a different formulation than matte with leveling agents and such. Most synthetic modern varnishes come in gloss and matte such as Winsor Newton's ConservArt which I recommend but I would now use the same brand that was already used providing it also comes in glossy. If the gloss version is too glossy and the matte version is too matte then what you can do is mix them together in the proportion that is appropriate to your liking and that would get your semi-gloss surface you want. This procedure is recommended by the Winsor Newton company also. Test out a small area before doing the entire painting to see if it is what you want. Hope this helps get what your want.