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Old 10-14-2019, 05:45 AM
Proportional_Walnut's Avatar
Proportional_Walnut Proportional_Walnut is offline
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Post Beginner Confusion

Hello WetCanvas! As you can see Iím a new member and this is my first post! Considering this may I apologise in advance if this isnít the right sub forum to post this question in.

Iíve recently starting painting and drawing, oil painting to be precise, I first started with Bob Ross and I really enjoyed it and Iíve improved leaps and bounds from my first. Bob Ross has ignited the love of art and as a result of this, Iíd like to pursue more Ďtraditionalí methods, portraiture, non-Bob Ross landscapes, and be able to execute original ideas whenever they come!

So, my problem is at the moment is materials, and Iím very confused / frustrated with the equipment side of things.

I have all the Bob Ross brushes, a simple ĎPlein Airí Rosemary and Co, all the Bob Ross paints, liquid clear, liquid white, Michael Harding Refined Linseed Oil, Liquin, Bob Ross OMS + Bucket and some Jacksonís Artist Oils.

This is where the confusion arrises, I have always used Liquid White and Liquid Clear, because I was doing Bob Ross. Iím not sure if I should use these mediums still for my adventure into more Ďtraditionalí methods as mentioned, would I couch the canvas with Liquid White or Clear for a portrait? Or should I discard the Liquid mediums entirely, I actually quite like the way it works as a medium, but I havenít had much experience with others.

Iíve tried Liquin, but I really donít like the gummy/quick drying properties so Iíve not touched it since. Iíve got straight Refined Linseed Oil as mentioned but I donít find the flow lasting for very long, as if I keep needing to add medium which Iíve heard I shouldnít do as I should keep the medium to an absolute minimum.

So sorry for the long winded story, so here are my questions

#1. Should I continue to use my Liquid Clear / White mediums for traditional paintings / wet on wet portraits, landscapes etc or stop using them?

#2. What medium would you buy if so? Something Like Michael Harding Oil Medium? Something preferably non toxic. Not too interested in fast drying mediums. Iím not confident in mixing my own medium hehe!

#3. Can I use my dirty odourless mineral spirts on a under painting? Theyíve sat for weeks and itís still brownish

#4. Regarding toxicity, are you yourself worried about the toxic subject or solvents for cleaning and mediums? I have ventilation but Iím just wondering if other members use non toxic specific alternatives, or less so like Gamsol or lavender Spike? Should I wear a mask when cleaning brushes?

#5. How do you administer medium? Pre mix amounts into all the paint on the palette? And then on subsequent layers introduce more medium for a fatter layer?

#6. Would you invest the extra once my paints run out in some high quality paints? Such as Michael Harding or keep with what Iíve got? Same with the brushes, would you invest in better brushes or keep cheap?

Thank you, so sorry again for the waffle, I have no one else I can ask, no family or friends that paint, only myself. If thereís anything else youíd recommend I look into or purchase let me know!

Thank you for your time!
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:10 AM
Ribera Ribera is offline
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my 2Ę. . .

2.) ďMedium per se, not necessarily even required, although if ya wanna
alter your paintís feel, understandable. One could simply utilize the paint
straight out da tube, though, but most have a marked preference from a
different feel at different times.
3.) Whyíd ya utilize dirty O.M.S. if ya didnít have to?!!
Just drain the sludge out and keep usiní it for itís proper purposes again
and again. Just drain most that ďbrownishĒ stuff away.
4.) As far as solventís concerned, I, as well as a great many others, prefer
O.M.S. to turpentine (unless weíre utiliziní resins which require the greater
strength of genuine turpentine to break it down); it dissolves at a much
slower rate, so moí of utilized to paint with - less breathed in.
5.) I keep mine in a cup on the side - and utilize it when required.
6.) Superior quality of brushes might be a worthwhile investment - and
might turn you into a better painter, so to speak.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:34 AM
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Tony11214 Tony11214 is offline
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Brooklyn, NY
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Re: Beginner Confusion

1, Stop.
2, Get some refined linseed oil (not raw), turpentine, Dammar varnish, and an old jelly jar. Mix 2 parts oil, 1 part turps, and like 1/4 part dammar. keep it in your jelly jar.
3, Dump the old thinner. Buy some cheap turpentine, hardware store turps is fine.
4, Open the window a little. Put paper towels, etc, that are wet with turps or medium or paint in an air tight container. When you throw out this stuff, make sure it's in an air tight container, or zip-lock bag with a little water in it.
5, If you want the paint you're using to be a little thinner while your painting a section, add a little medium to the mixed blob of paint on your pallet.
6, When your paints run out, buy some artist grade paints. If you want to save some money, and you don't expect to keep your completed work around for 20 years, buy student grade paint. Buy good brushes as they are needed.
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Old 10-14-2019, 02:27 PM
KEVIN$ KEVIN$ is offline
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Posts: 219
Re: Beginner Confusion

I'm realistic about what will happen to my paintings as I learn to paint and the reality is - they will probably end up in the burn barrel or given away for free. Even if given away they will probably be thrown away at some point. Since they won't ever be priceless works of art I use whatever paints work the best as I learn how to paint. I find that sometimes the B.Ross wet-on-wet paints and technique work great for making skies and clouds so sometimes I use those paints/methods. Other times I won't. It simply depends on the affect I want as I learn.

So, I say use whatever you want as you learn. As you learn you will probably change your technique and your paints and hopefully will create those works of art that we all wish we can create.


Kevin Slaby
2002 Mustang - 902hp
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Old 10-14-2019, 04:37 PM
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DAK723 DAK723 is offline
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Rochester, NY
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 12,540
Re: Beginner Confusion

1. There is no reason to make a definitive decision regarding starting with a thin layer of medium (liquid clear) or medium plus paint (liquid white). Many painters having nothing to do with Bob Ross's technique start a painting this way as it makes it easier to move the paint around compared to working on a dry canvas. You may find it works well for landscapes, but doesn't work well for portraits. Your experience will answer this question best - not what anyone says on the internet.

2. A medium is primarily used to change the handling properties of the paint (as well as altering drying time, which you indicate is not a priority). If you started with the Bob Ross method, then you probably are used to using no medium. This is perfectly OK and what I do 90% of the time. Most mediums you buy are a combination of an oil and a solvent, so if you are looking to go solvent free, then you are more limited in your choices, but there are some. If you have no problem with the way paint handles without medium, then you don't need to use any.

3. Usually if you let your jar of OMS sit, the "sludge" settles to the bottom. That should be clear enough to use. If it is not there yet, wait longer.

4. I use Water Mixable Oils (WMO) to avoid using solvents, although you can (fairly easily) use traditional oils without solvents. If you do a search for "solvent free oil painting" you should get lots of info on how it can be done.

5. I rarely use mediums, but when i do I am not very scientific about how I administer it. I usually just dip my brush in and mix it into my paint piles on the palette. If you let your layers dry sufficiently before starting the next, you don't have to get too fussy with fat over lean. Using approximately the same amount of medium in each layer is fine.

6. This is totally up to you in terms of your budget. You can always buy a couple tubes of higher grade paint and see how that works (same with brushes). You can mix all brands and grades of paint, so no reason to make a big change all at once.

Hope this helps,

Don Ketchek, WC Guide - Pastels

My Blog My Art Gallery My Photo Gallery
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:17 PM
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ronsu18 ronsu18 is offline
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Posts: 1,443
Re: Beginner Confusion

(betwixt parenthesis, in tiny letters; about the oms. with a bristle draw firmly along the inside of the jar and see if the residue is on the jar? question is based on experience. the refractive quality of oms is odd.)
C&C welcome

Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist. - Picasso
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Old 11-13-2019, 04:36 PM
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Proportional_Walnut Proportional_Walnut is offline
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Re: Beginner Confusion

Thank you all! Much appreciated.
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Old 11-13-2019, 10:14 PM
JCannon JCannon is offline
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Re: Beginner Confusion

Many people experiment with various medium concoctions and then settle down to the old reliable: Oil plus OMS. I tend to use just OMS in the first layer.

If the OMS in your cup is too grotty (does anyone still use that word?), toss it. I use cheap hardware store eco-friendly OMS for cleaning brushes and "good" OMS for use in mediums. Being cheap, I pour the good stuff sparingly into my little metal cup and replace when I see any indication that the solvent might discolor the paint.

Whether you should buy "snob" paint depends on your budget. I'm poor, but I still have some "snob" tubes (Williamsburg and Langridge -- and maybe M. Graham has a toe-hold in this category) and would love to get more. For the most part, mid-level paints (W&N, Shiva, Utrecht and so forth) work fine.

I've always argued that, as a cost-cutting measure, one can safely purchase certain naturally highly-pigmented colors from the student lines. By this, I mean pigments like Diox Violet, the Pthalos, the Mars colors, PR177 (often sold as Permanent Alizarin Crimson). Prussian Blue may belong in this category, although I love Prussian so much, I prefer to go at least mid-range on that one.

For the cads, the quins, Ultramarine, Cobalt, Cerulean, pretty much all yellows, Manganese Violet, earth greens and the darker browns, I recommend at least a mid-range paint. All versions of Naples Yellow, cheap and pricey, have their uses.

White is a special case. I think it's a good idea to have a large tube of inexpensive but decent Titanium White while also experimenting, over time, with pricier offerings.

If you segue into a style in which you glop on a LOT of paint, you'll probably prefer to go as cheap as possible. Quantity, not quality.
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