PDA

View Full Version : oiling out vs retouch varnish


Arteology
08-19-2000, 08:16 PM
Question...I have noticed areas that are dull & cloudy (sunk?). I have read about two proceedures - oiling out & retouch varnish to eliminate the problem. Which is best? Please explain the proceedure. Thanks!

AIGottlieb
08-19-2000, 08:44 PM
I find it hard to believe that even Rhoward would disagree with this: retouch damar. A common practice at my own school is to use walnut oil rubbed in witht the finger. But using any oil is not such a hot idea. If you're using a flexible oil like linseed, it'll darken. Linseed is one oil you seriously want to minimize. Consider the use of linseed oil a necessary evil. If, on the other hand, you oil in with poppy or walnut oil, it won't darken that much, but the chances of it cracking increase pretty dramatically due to its low linolenic acid value (In short, they're inflexible oils). Retouch varnish is best because it's too diluted with turps to really matter.

Alright, Rhoward. Sic!

Arteology
08-19-2000, 09:00 PM
Thanks ... retouch Damar.
This problem is really driving me crazy. It wasn't until I moved to such a dry climate that the problem appeared on the surface of my paintings. I'll give it a try. Any brand better than another? Any ideas on prevention?

TPS
08-19-2000, 09:22 PM
A reminder that damar retouch varnish is used during the painting process to restore a sunk in/dull color so subsequent layers can be matched. Not as a final step. It should be used sparingly.

When the painting is completed and allowed to thoroughly dry, this dull look will occur again. It is natural for it to happen. After the painting is completed, a final picture varnish should be applied to restore the colors to their full power. It also provides protection to the surface of the picture.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif -DJ

AIGottlieb
08-19-2000, 09:24 PM
Sinking-in will always happen, but you can control to what degree it happens. You should always grind your own paints. Commercial brands are loaded with waxes, chalks, and barites, all of which cause sinking-in. Using a very rich medium slows the sinking-in, but if you start out with a completely fat medium, well, you can't paint fatter over total fat. Using a GENUINE chalk ground is more absorbant, so you might want to try an oil ground, perhaps a lead white primer. As far as these two primers go, I really think it's toe-MAY-toe, toe-MAW-toe. I like both for different reasons.

Anyway, sinking-in will ALWAYS happen. It's just a matter of how much. Deal with it, or get a desk job.

[This message has been edited by AIGottlieb (edited August 19, 2000).]

AIGottlieb
08-19-2000, 09:31 PM
I just remembered something, and I swear to god I thought of it before I read TPS's post. Use sparingly indeed, which is why I initially said oiling in "with the finger." Remember that pretty much nothing gets leaner than turpentine, and that dries like a bat outta hell. If you brush that stuff on, it could very easily contribute to cracking.

Arteology
08-20-2000, 11:34 AM
Thank you both for your insights. Just a few comments to clarify what is happening...I paint dry brush without any mediums whatsoever; I do not like the consistency with medium added. The sinking is occuring well after the painting is quite dry, 6+ months, and prior to any final varnish. The paintings are finished - the problem is to repair the dull areas. Do your suggestions still apply? If I use the retouch Damar how long should I wait to apply varnish? Will the sinking in reappear?

------------------

TPS
08-20-2000, 01:53 PM
If you do not intend to rework your painting. That is, it was fine when you last touched it, then the variation in surface is due to the nature of the paints contents, and is normal. To restore to what you thought you had, simply apply your final picture varnish. No retouch varnish is needed. I have heard of using retouch as a temporary protection to the painting while it is going through the final drying process, but I don't think I'd recommend it.

AIGottlieb
08-20-2000, 02:20 PM
If you have to immediately display the piece for a show or something, retouch varnish will do. However, until that six month period is up, ONLY retouch varnish. No final varnish until at least six months have passed. This is the period of time that a painting will "completely" dry. I put that in quotation marks because technically, an oil painting takes yeeeeaaaars to fully polymerize. But six months is what it takes for the oil to significantly stop stretching, shrinking, shaking, rattling and rolling.

Retouch varnishes will almost always sink in eventually. Sometimes after an hour, or a day, or a week, or never. I personally haven't discovered the rhyme or reason for the seemingly random sinking-in times after retouch has been applied.

[This message has been edited by AIGottlieb (edited August 20, 2000).]

Arteology
08-21-2000, 10:35 AM
Since your suggestion..."...deal with it or get a desk job" is quite to the point - at least I know it isn't something "wrong" that I'm doing. I do HATE the way it looks! So off to the store I go to get a bottle of retouch varnish. Thank you one and all for your kind and patient assistance.

AIGottlieb
08-21-2000, 04:52 PM
I forgot to mention that there is another medium with sun thickened walnut oil, turps, and copal varnish, all of which Robert Doak sells. Even very thinned out, the copal is strong enough to keep the colors almost entirely saturated. It might be worth checking out.

I have a problem with mediums that never sink, that being that it takes away the tooth of the surface. I like to spend a long time on my paintings problem-solving: moving paint around, changing color/values, changing the drawing, etc. During this problem solving stage, I have no problem with oiling out (even though I use retouch varnish, I always use that term), since the benefits of a surface with tooth far outweigh the benefits of forever saturated surface. However, I used it over a year ago, and I know a lot more now than I did then. When I return to the academy I'm going to give it another shot.

Arteology
08-21-2000, 06:14 PM
Thanks again.
Your comment about mixing my own pigments makes a lot of sence - I bet if I mixed my own there would be a consistency that is currently lacking in my use of several differfent brands. My next quest is to isolate which pigment is causing the sinking. It only appears in the dark areas, so with a process of elimination I should eventually find the culprit! Until then, I'll use the retouch varnish and swear a little each time I see the problem again.

Arteology
08-22-2000, 06:52 PM
Good to know about the umbers, however, I do not use any earth colors in my palette. The culprit has to be a WN Phalo blue, cobalt violet or OH ultramarin violet, VG blue violet...the list goes on, and you can see it will be a long time before I can figure out which one or ones are causing the problem.

Russell W. McCrackin
07-29-2011, 02:17 PM
The question is: How do you find out which paints are the ones that become dull or appear sunken when dry, so you need retouch varnish (oiling out) to continue painting?
The answer is: Use a new support, primed the way you usually prime. Mark the support out as a grid with enough openings to have one for each of the types/colors you use. Use a good black marking pen to label the openings with the name of the maker and the color.
Thinly paint a spot in each area of the grid with one of your paints. Add a little white to the edge of each spot to show what happens to a tint of that paint. Set the support aside until all the spots have dried.
Mark each spot with a number to indicate how dull it appears. I suggest using numbers one through four. One for no dulling, Four for very dull. Using more numbers will make you take too long deciding is it a six or a seven or a six and a half.
Spray the entire support with retouch varnish so that you can tell how effective retouch is for each spot. Yes, this will take time to do, but the result makes it worthwhile.
There is another answer: Use a limited pallet, all from one maker, and learn to mix any color. I use WN Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Lemon, French Untramarine, Titanium White, and Ivory Black. Yes, Ivory Black used very sparingly makes some nice greys without changing the color like complements due, and I find a beautiful green mixing a small amount of Ivory Black into the Cadmium Lemon. Since I seem to always be in a hurry to frame, I use WN Alkyd paints and a good Walnut Alkyd Medium.

llawrence
07-29-2011, 08:00 PM
Wow - that's a lot of lurking. :)

Keith Russell
07-29-2011, 09:37 PM
The question is: How do you find out which paints are the ones that become dull or appear sunken when dry, so you need retouch varnish (oiling out) to continue painting?
The answer is: Use a new support, primed the way you usually prime. Mark the support out as a grid with enough openings to have one for each of the types/colors you use. Use a good black marking pen to label the openings with the name of the maker and the color.
Thinly paint a spot in each area of the grid with one of your paints. Add a little white to the edge of each spot to show what happens to a tint of that paint. Set the support aside until all the spots have dried.
Mark each spot with a number to indicate how dull it appears. I suggest using numbers one through four. One for no dulling, Four for very dull. Using more numbers will make you take too long deciding is it a six or a seven or a six and a half.
Spray the entire support with retouch varnish so that you can tell how effective retouch is for each spot. Yes, this will take time to do, but the result makes it worthwhile.
There is another answer: Use a limited pallet, all from one maker, and learn to mix any color. I use WN Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Lemon, French Untramarine, Titanium White, and Ivory Black. Yes, Ivory Black used very sparingly makes some nice greys without changing the color like complements due, and I find a beautiful green mixing a small amount of Ivory Black into the Cadmium Lemon. Since I seem to always be in a hurry to frame, I use WN Alkyd paints and a good Walnut Alkyd Medium.

The problem was addressed effectively, earlier in the thread.

If one is "done" with the painting, wait six months and the final varnish will solve the "unevenness" problem.

Roberts Howard's response in Post # 7 was also very helpful in answering the question I posed in the "Adhesion Problems" thread. I have been experimenting with Copal, Balsam, and Amber Resin, and will probably continue to use them from now on.

Adriantmax
07-30-2011, 02:31 AM
Isn't the retouch varnish a problem if someday the painting needs cleaning? Just asking because I thought cleaning with solvents on thin layers might clean away glazes etc.

Russell W. McCrackin
07-30-2011, 04:33 AM
Pardon me if I cover something you already know. I want to be sure others have the same background knowledge. First question: What is the difference between retouch vanish and final varnish?
Answer: A common retouch varnish is a damar varnish that has been thinned more than the common damar final varnish. The final varnish tends to seal oil paint from the atmosphere so that oxygen reaches the oil paint much more slowly to continue the drying process. Retouch varnish is thinned enough that even though it looks like a complete coverage it actually is not, and allows oxygen to penetrate to reach the oil paint to continue the drying process. Since retouch varnish is not a complete layer, paint added over the varnish is able to penetrate through and bond to the paint under the incomplete varnish layer.
Note that I always say "continue" the drying process. Oil paint that is hundreds of years old is still drying. Since retouch varnish is supposed to let oxygen penetrate it is very important that retouch varnish is applied very lightly so that a thick sealing layer does not develope.
The purpose of retouch varnish is to bring the appearance of dry oil paint back to the gloss, color, and value of freshly applied paint so the artist can accurately match the color and value of work previously done. The artist then continues to paint, matching color and value where desired, or changes color and value of areas previously painted to match the new paint.
When the painting is finished the normal drying time of a year or more passes, at which time the entire painting often has a dull or sunken look. The artist then applies a final varnish that brings up the appearance to match the artist's original intention.
Since the oil paint under the final varnish is fairly dry it is not apt to be damaged by the solvents designed to remove the final varnish, which has a different chemistry than dried oil paint. The removal of old varnish many years later to clean and restore the painting must be done carefully. The proper choice of varnish remover depends on the chemistry of the final varnish used by the painter. For this reason it is advisable to note on the back of the support what the make of type of final varnish used. If this is not done, the conservator will try several kinds of remover on the narrow edge of the painting that is usually covered by the inner edge of the framing so that an error in remover choice will not show when the painting is returned to its frame.
Now consider what happens to areas of the original paint that have dried, then been covered with retouch varnish, but not painted over when the artist finishes the painting. If the retouch varnish is the same type of varnish as the final varnish, it will also be removed. The paint that was under the removed retouch varnish will now have the same dried paint appearance as the paint applied after the retouch varnish was applied. The entire painting may now be covered with a fresh coat of final varnish.
While I have your attention, question: What happens if you put a sealing coat of final varnish over fresh oil paint? Answer: The oil paint will not get the oxygen required for drying and remain soft for a long time. Over time it may slowly run "down hill" ruining the painting. That is why a thinly painted work needs to dry for a year, and a thickly painted work may need two years.
Question: Is there any way to overcome this? Answer: Yes. Alkyd paints are usually dry to the touch in a few hours, and are dry enough to varnish in about a month.
Question: Is there any other advantage to alkyd paints? Answer: Yes. With ordinary oil paints, each color will dry at a different rate. Some colors dry rapidly, others slowly. If you put a fast drying paint over a slow drying paint the fast drying paint will form a hard cover. As the slow drying paint under the hard cover gradually receives oxygen it expands, causing the fast drying paint to crack. Cracking may make your paint look much older, but when the fast drying paint peals off the painting does not look good. So what does this have to do with alkyd paints? All colors of alkyd paint have the same drying rate. Paint any color over any color and no cracking. Also, the alkyd medium remains slightly flexible when dry, reducing any tendency to crack.

Danny van Ryswyk
07-30-2011, 05:17 AM
So what does this have to do with alkyd paints? All colors of alkyd paint have the same drying rate. Paint any color over any color and no cracking. Also, the alkyd medium remains slightly flexible when dry, reducing any tendency to crack.

Russell, I think your Alkyd paintings will survive the ends of time.

Ron Francis
07-30-2011, 08:23 AM
And what's bad about alkyd paints? They dry so quickly!

Russell W. McCrackin
08-01-2011, 03:39 PM
And what's bad about alkyd paints? They dry so quickly!
I guess I'm in too much of a hurry, so I like the fast drying time of alkyds. However, if I wish to slow it a little, I mix in a little of M. Graham's Walnut Alkyd Medium mixed with a very small amount of mineral thinner. The result is a slightly more fluid paint that stays open for a little longer, and after dry to the touch still has enough texture to hold the next layer of paint.
At this point I feel you might wonder how I come up with my ideas, since my "Art Career" only started in 1996. Somehow I ran across a book that was the best $40 I ever spent. "The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques" by Ralph Mayer. I now find the list price to be $45, but it is available for less if you do an internet search. I won't say "Trust Me" but I do recommend it. The fifth and latest edition came out in 1991, and contains very little about alkyds. WN put out a very good paper on alkyds shortly after they started making them. I have been using WN alkyds for more than twelve years and am still learning how to use them, but that would be true for any kind of paint.

Gareth Hawker
08-25-2011, 04:16 AM
Re: The speedy drying of Alkyd paints - post #20.

Ron,

I too find that alkyd paints dry too quickly. I have found that mixing them half and half with oil paints, or adding linseed oil, slows the drying and makes the paint more manageable. I have also tried out various mediums, such as alkyd mixed with linseed oil and stand oil. I mix the medium into the paint using a palette knife, before I start to paint with a brush.

Recently, however, I have returned to using Copal Varnish. Even though It is supposed to darken drastically, the quality of the paint is so much nicer than when using alkyd as a substitute, that I feel justified in using it as standard.

Gigalot
06-05-2015, 05:42 AM
I can strongly recommend not to make your paint layers soluble in cleaning solvents. Do not use those fixatives, sprays and temporary varnishes, people are talking there. Using those stuff without care, you can just destroy your painting.
Your glazing will be removed, become cloudy, or destroyed during any cleaning process with any solvent, because doing this, you are adding soluble substances between layers and on top of paint layers.

To prevent damaging, go to a Gamblin site and read there.
Watch Gamblin recommendation, how to oil out you paintings:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvY_rl1dmkU

rltromble
06-05-2015, 11:50 AM
Pulling up a 15 year old thread, that must some kind of record.:rolleyes:

Gigalot
06-05-2015, 01:41 PM
Pulling up a 15 year old thread, that must some kind of record.:rolleyes:
This thread was started by Archeology people. :wave:

KaikaisCanvas
06-05-2015, 02:39 PM
They had internet in 2000? :eek:

dcorc
06-05-2015, 02:43 PM
They had internet in 2000? :eek:

Yes but it used to take longer to upload oil paintings than it did to paint them.

KaikaisCanvas
06-05-2015, 02:58 PM
Yes but it used to take longer to upload oil paintings than it did to paint them.:D

They had digital cameras in 2000? :eek:
(sorry, I couldn't resist).

stapeliad
06-05-2015, 06:32 PM
They did. I had one. Or maybe that was 2001....

stapeliad
06-05-2015, 06:32 PM
This thread should go back to oblivion.