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Old 04-06-2009, 06:06 AM
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geneguynn geneguynn is offline
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Spray paint + oil paint

Hey guys. I'm a long time reader but a first time poster :-)

I'm an oil painter and am very comfortable with keeping everything archival. I've recently started experimenting with more and more layering effects, working with oil on top of watercolors, inks, acrylics, etc.

I've been experimenting a lot with spray paint especially, and specifically montana gold spray paint. I'm wondering:

a) how archival is spray paint?
b) can I put spray paint on top of my oils?

I'm thinking it will be fine, because as far as I can tell the Montana spray paint is lacquer based, not water or acrylic. I've also heard about a brand of spray paint called Plutonium G which is oil-based and recommended for 'artists' use'.

Anyone have any experience with layering spray paints with oils, and any insights into my concern for archival stability?

Gene Guynn (.com)
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:13 PM
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Einion Einion is offline
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Hi Gene, welcome to the site and the Studio Tips forum.

Just as a start there are many artists who consider painting in oils over acrylics to always be a bad idea. So that'll give you some idea of the subjectivity of the whole archival thing

Originally Posted by geneguynn
a) how archival is spray paint?
No way to know for sure. If it's a concern I think you'll have to do more research and inevitably this will come down to you conducting your own testing.

Originally Posted by geneguynn
b) can I put spray paint on top of my oils?
You can but of course the question is whether you should i.e. whether it's stable.

There's no assurance of stability, especially if you're putting it on top of oil paint of any significant thickness and if you're not waiting for it to fully cure before you spray on it (i.e. waiting maybe six months and longer, just as one is supposed to with varnish, but not for all the same reasons).

If you're painting on stretched natural canvas of any type one of the major issues - just like with the oils themselves actually - is how the paint responds to changes in dimensions as the fabric goes through taut/slack cycles.

Originally Posted by geneguynn
I'm thinking it will be fine, because as far as I can tell the Montana spray paint is lacquer based, not water or acrylic.
Water-soluble over oil-based isn't automatically the bad thing it's usually thought to be - you can for example paint in acrylics over oil-based primers quite successfully (once oil paint is fully cured the oil in it is no longer oil, it is a kind of polymer; and the paint is often no longer oily in a true sense).

Because you want the spraypaint to become permanently a part of the painting (unlike varnish) it's probably a good aspect that it'll bond, even link to, oil paint underneath (which it'll tend to do when put on top of just-dried oils). However the different natures of the two paints - which may change for either medium as they age - could very well be the direct cause of an issue; my gut feeling is this is almost a certainty.

Do you know if your colour is off in hue, value, chroma... or all three?

Colour Theory & Mixing forum WetCanvas Glossary Search Tips Advanced Search Acrylics forum Acrylics - Information Kiosk
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Old 04-07-2009, 03:17 PM
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Mark Sheeky Mark Sheeky is offline
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Re: Spray paint + oil paint

Montana is advertised as lightfast for over 10 years. I think they'll mean outside on walls. On spraying on oil; idea; apply an acrylic resin varnish (removable gloss oil painting varnish) over your oils and spray into that while it's still wet. That should create a good bond. It might remain soluable too which is not necessarily a bad thing because a restorer could potentially remove the top layer and respray in future centuries. I'd stick to a solid substrate though, definately.

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Old 04-10-2009, 02:51 AM
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nit-wit nit-wit is offline
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Re: Spray paint + oil paint

How about using an airbrush to spray on oil paint and replicate a spray can effect?

You can ask the airbrush forum about any reliability issues that this may throw up?

You'd should at least be able to control the fat over lean problem.

Or even go for the poor man's airbrush: the artist's aspirator - which is basically two pipes hinged at right angles, one end is dipped in liquid (in this case paint), the other is blown through - simultaneously creating a vacuum to suck liquid up and an airflow to propel the liquid outwards (ie. a spray). you may get light headed with this method. And atomising oil paint may not be too healthy either!


Last edited by nit-wit : 04-10-2009 at 03:01 AM.
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