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Old 04-10-2018, 06:09 PM
JRSlattum JRSlattum is offline
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Approach to larger work (paint drying between sittings)

Hello guys,

Long-time lurker. The Wet Canvas community has been a cornerstone to my "self" learning... my teachers!

I'm a traditional indirect oil painter. Often working on top of an umber underpainting, completing an entire layer/surface in one sitting at a time, letting that dry, then continuing to the next layer. These sittings can go up to 20 hours straight sometimes. Which can be exhausting. So this leads me to my question.

I'm looking for a new approach to my method, to reduce these long sittings into smaller more frequent sessions. Especially when it comes to working on my first extra large canvases / murals. Instead of finishing the entire layer/surface, I'd like to finish certain elements (as close to completion) on the current layer, then step away for the day. This means this section might dry overnight, then painting right next to it on a new section (still technically on the same layer). Once the surface is entirely covered (several sessions all creating the first color layer), I'd like to begin a new finishing layer on top of that (one section / session at a time). A bit of a hybrid of window-shading. I'd just switch to acrylics but it's just not oils.

I suppose I'm looking for pointers... issues/concerns to consider. I could see how edges might need to be smoothed to consider smooth transition into the next section, to avoid build-up ridges. Of course, fat over lean considered as well. Any tips for mural painting in oils would be welcomed.

Attached is a simulated process example. Each one of the 7 shots representing a separate day.

Thanks you guys!
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Old 04-10-2018, 06:26 PM
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DAK723 DAK723 is offline
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Re: Approach to larger work (paint drying between sittings)

I don't work large particularly, but once I lay out the composition (usually in one sitting) I often work in sections. For a landscape, for example, I may paint the sky and a background land color and let that dry. In my next session I may paint the clouds. And let dry. In my next session I may paint background mountains and trees in the center of the painting, and let dry. In my next session I may pain in the foreground, and let dry. in my next session I may paint details and dark accents throughout the painting. I consider each of these painting sessions to be a new layer, even if I cover only 10% of the canvas. I have never worried about where the edges of the different layers meet or that i may have 5 layers on one area and only 2 in others. Letting each layer get good and dry, I just use a similar amount of medium so I don't have to worry much about fat over lean.

Not saying that there aren't better ways of doing it, but I see no reason to cover the entire painting in each session, nor any problems if you don't. Maybe I've been lucky, but I see no issues.

Don
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Old 04-10-2018, 08:38 PM
JRSlattum JRSlattum is offline
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Re: Approach to larger work (paint drying between sittings)

Thanks for the feedback. Hard to find information on the subject; however, I have a feeling I'm being too careful with archival/conservatory concerns.
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Old 04-10-2018, 09:34 PM
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Delofasht Delofasht is offline
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Re: Approach to larger work (paint drying between sittings)

The method you propose to work in should be fine with no need to worry, I would just take photos of the work on my phone and annotate on the picture where I had left off at and whether I needed to be careful of using fast drying paints over any of the area finished for the day. There are no real issues with working segments of a painting at a time, a huge number of extremely successful paintings have been made in that manner.
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Old 04-10-2018, 09:50 PM
JRSlattum JRSlattum is offline
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Re: Approach to larger work (paint drying between sittings)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delofasht
I would just take photos of the work on my phone and annotate on the picture where I had left off at and whether I needed to be careful of using fast drying paints over any of the area finished for the day.

Super sharp idea!

Will be using the same jar of premixed medium for the current layer and will add a bit more fat on the official 2nd layer
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:06 PM
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Ellis Ammons Ellis Ammons is offline
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Re: Approach to larger work (paint drying between sittings)

You can expect cracks at one time or another painting in layers. It's just the nature of oil paint. Painting on a rigid support, using the same medium throught the painting, using alkyd, giving each layer time to cure before painting on top of it, all ways to make your painting less likely to crack in your lifetime.
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Old 04-11-2018, 06:26 AM
AllisonR AllisonR is online now
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Re: Approach to larger work (paint drying between sittings)

I really like your painting. Strange, unusual, in a good way.

On large paintings I just continue the next day where I left off. I don't think there is anything specific one has to do. You'll get used to working that way through practice. And you'll find out what works best for you. For example one person would work background one day, mid-ground next day, foreground next day. A different person would work baground, mid ground and foreground in one area one day, then move to another area next day... You'll have to find your own method.
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