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Old 12-12-2009, 10:45 AM
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Can anyone assist me on this? (Liquid Clear)

Hi,
I am posting this question at the risk of rehashing an old thread. This is not my intent.
My challenge I am facing is this: I am working on an oil painting and decided to use Liquid Clear for the first time. The painting is drying inconsistently, some glossy areas and some areas that are hazy. Of course it is one of my best efforts ever of a seascape and I would love to salvage it. Does anyone have any suggestions I could try? Thanks.
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Old 12-14-2009, 08:23 AM
dcorc dcorc is offline
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Re: Can anyone assist me on this? (Liquid Clear)

There is no problem in asking a question, that's what we are here for

(Sorry for the delay in replying, unfortunately your post was inadvertantly copied to an area of the site under development - I've now moved it to the Oils Forum)

There are several previous (sometimes heated!) discussions on "Liquid Clear" and "Liquid White" here:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=884
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=53181
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=53284
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=325118
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=122626

Skimming quickly through these several things become apparent. The first is that these are proprietary mixes and the exact formulation is not publically available.

However, the intended use for these is as a "couch" - to lubricate the surface for painting into - and with that we can draw some conclusions and make some recommendations.

The second thing of note is that "liquid clear" may be prone to yellowing, and thus should be used with caution and only on areas which are to be painted over.

It is possible to couch using oil, such as linseed oil, walnut oil, or safflower oil; or using a mixture of oil and solvent - such as any of the above plus a solvent such as OMS (Sansodor or Gamsol, for example), or stand oil plus solvent. With any of these, the aim is to apply absolutely the minimum quantity - to spread it as thinly as you possibly can (which is where the solvent, preferably one with little "bite", little tendency to redissolve any previous layer, comes in useful). All of these may yellow to some extent, linseed more than the others (note that stand-oil must be diluted to a workable viscosity). The quantity of "couch" used should be small in comparison to the amount of paint applied onto it (and thus the exact constitution - which of the oils is used - shouldn't actually be that important, as it will ultimately only contribute a very small percentage of that paint-layer).

When an oil-painting is drying, it is normal for there to be some variation in the extent of glossiness from area to area, and this is best resolved by final varnishing. If there is wide variation, then this is a reason to examine one's approach - dull or "sunken" areas are associated with some pigments (particularly umbers), with excessive use of solvent and over-thinning of the paint, or with the use of excessively absorbant supports; very glossy areas are associated with excessive use of mediums, particularly "fat" mediums.

Very dull or sunken areas may be oiled-out with the couch medium (bearing in mind the issues of yellowing, and of not introducing excessive amounts of oil, and flopping from one extreme to the other), or a thin retouch varnish may be used to bring up the colours temporarily (yellowing is an issue with overenthusiastic use of retouch too); or repainted with a less lean paint (an option often not considered); or simply wait for final varnishing.

Can I add one last thing - the usual love/hate Bob Ross thing has been flogged to death - see, for example, the threads I've given links for, above (and there are lots more on BR) - so can I wearing my Mod hat, direct that we're not going to rehash it all, all over again in this thread. If you've got useful, relevant info to add, which will actually help the original poster here, then fine, feel free to join in. If you're looking, instead, either to bash Bob Ross, or to bash a Bob Ross basher, your post won't survive long, as we've been there, done that, got the tshirt, oh-so-many times before. Sorry if this sounds tough, but sometimes it needs to be said.


Dave
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:04 AM
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Re: Can anyone assist me on this? (Liquid Clear)

Liquid clear, liquid white and liquid black have a long open times if I remember correctly. I am thinking weeks, but it has been a long time since I tried the stuff. The best thing to do at this point is just wait and let it dry. Then you could re-paint the areas, oil it out or try some spar varnish to even out the gloss.
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:07 AM
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Re: Can anyone assist me on this? (Liquid Clear)

Thank you so much for your help. Although I've been painting for 25 yrs there has to be some growing pains at times. I think that part of the problem is that Liquid Clear does not play nicely with paint thinner. The paint began separating and leaving canvas showing through and while trying to "fix" that problem it snowballed. I would normally just let it go and start a fresh project, but this one is worth salvaging if I can. I am probably going with the temporary spray varnish technique and finish with varnish in 6 months. This seems the best idea so far. Thanks again.
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:28 AM
dcorc dcorc is offline
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Re: Can anyone assist me on this? (Liquid Clear)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rltromble
Liquid clear, liquid white and liquid black have a long open times if I remember correctly. I am thinking weeks, but it has been a long time since I tried the stuff.

Ah, now that's interesting, Robert - I wonder if there's some clove oil or a similar antioxidant in the mix, to keep it open that long?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SheRok
I think that part of the problem is that Liquid Clear does not play nicely with paint thinner. The paint began separating and leaving canvas showing through and while trying to "fix" that problem it snowballed.

Hmm - another interesting observation - so its cohesive rather than adhesive (that is, happier to stick to itself rather than other things) - which swings us towards stand-oil as a likely ingredient?

One thing you may find helps is the addition of a small amount (say, 5% by volume) of a resin to the mix, such as a small amount of damar varnish or some venice/larch turpentine, as these will provide some additional adhesiveness.
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:10 AM
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Re: Can anyone assist me on this? (Liquid Clear)

Quote:
Originally Posted by SheRok
Thank you so much for your help. Although I've been painting for 25 yrs there has to be some growing pains at times. I think that part of the problem is that Liquid Clear does not play nicely with paint thinner. The paint began separating and leaving canvas showing through and while trying to "fix" that problem it snowballed. I would normally just let it go and start a fresh project, but this one is worth salvaging if I can. I am probably going with the temporary spray varnish technique and finish with varnish in 6 months. This seems the best idea so far. Thanks again.


First, as some have already mentioned, the proprietary, Bob Ross Liquid Clear has one important property, and that is that it remains open (wet/workable) for an extraordinary length of time. That is one of the most important characteristics of it, since it is engineered to have paint applied into it, while it is wet., and for a long time.

No one but the manufacturers truly knows what the ingredients are, but since it doesn't have much of a smell, (precluding such items as Oil Of Spike, or Turpentine), its solvent must be some sort of slow-drying, mineral spirits, and some rather slow-drying, drying oil, such Walnut Oil, or even Poppy Oil.

What you are experiencing with the paint separating and "leaving the canvas," is beading. This is the same sort of beading as that noticed when water drops bead up on the surface of a glossy, freshly-waxed car body. And, the cause is the same--surface tension. That is the same phenomenon that causes a steel needle to float upon a smooth surface of water, without sinking.

I have dealt with this beading for my entire career in oil painting, as do most of us who paint with a layered method. Whenever I apply some sort of liquid medium, or even paint to this sort of a dried, smooth, glossy, hard surface, beading seems to be the order of the day. It happens almost routinely, and is nothing that I would deem "wrong". It is just a normal condition which needs to be managed when painting in oils.

Dave mentioned the addition of a resin (I use Venice Turpentine) or a balsam, which helps promote better adhesion, breaks the surface tension, and helps to eliminate the beading or "pulling back" of the medium/paint, when applying it to a hard, shiny surface. The addition of a resin usually helps to prevent this beading quite well.

However, even the addition of resin does not always prevent the beading. In such cases, I literally massage the medium into my surface of the dried underpainting with my fingertip, until the beading stops. Some have even recommended doing this until the surface becomes "warm" from the friction. Well, I have never taken it to such an extent, but I can almost guarantee that if you massage the medium (whatever medium it may be) into the surface, using a rubbing action, the beading can be entirely eliminated. Of course, I then apply paint into this fresh application of a very thinly-applied medium.

I always use a bit of resin as an ingredient in my medium, and it takes the place of the Onion, Garlic, or potato with which the old masters would rub the surface of their paintings, and it accomplishes the same purpose--to break the surface tension, to promote better adhesion, and to prevent beading.

In terms of interesting semantics, I have actually noted this "beading" refered to as "trickling" in some old art books. At the time, I wondered what it meant, but when I began painting in layers, and glazing, I soon found out, and just as quickly decided to learn how to prevent it.
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:16 PM
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Re: Can anyone assist me on this? (Liquid Clear)

well said, Mr. Martin. SheRock has plenty of significant info now.
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:38 AM
buteman buteman is offline
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Liquid clear medium.

I would like to try to duplicate a product called " liquid Clear " seems like they stick Bob Ross's image on a can of this product then charge ten times what it's worth.
By the way that was a quote from the nice young lady that works at the local art store.
My understanding is that this product, for the most part, is a combination of linseed oil and turpentine, anyone have any suggestion eg, ratios etc.

Thanks,

buteman.
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:29 AM
dcorc dcorc is offline
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Re: Liquid clear medium.

Buteman - I have merged your thread with a previous one on this subject. Please read the thread from the top. If you still have questions, please feel free to ask.

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Old 01-18-2011, 12:18 PM
buteman buteman is offline
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Re: Liquid clear medium.

Quote:
Originally Posted by buteman
I would like to try to duplicate a product called " liquid Clear " seems like they stick Bob Ross's image on a can of this product then charge ten times what it's worth.
By the way that was a quote from the nice young lady that works at the local art store.
My understanding is that this product, for the most part, is a combination of linseed oil and turpentine, anyone have any suggestion eg, ratios etc.

Thanks,

buteman.

My humble apologies indeed, I had no intent in mind of " whacking " Bob Ross, I merely quoted a most pleasant young lady with whom I have had dealings with at my local art store.
Certainly enough information regarding Bob Ross's products specifically liquid clear and liquid white.
In my part of the world ( interior of B.C. ) there is only one outlet that actually sells the two above mentioned items.
I had to try the liquid white, the cost was ( in my opinion ) very high, $ 29.99 for a 16 ounce can.
I found absolutely no difference between that product and what I had used prior which was titanium white mixed with linseed oil and a small amount of mineral spirits.
I planned on preparing a canvas, a coating of black gesso then it called for a very small amount of " liquid clear " worked into the canvas once the gesso had dried.
I had read over a great deal of information regarding liquid clear but still have been unable to come up with formula that would provide a reasonable substitute.
As far as out of pocket expense, after checking the price of liquid clear I have been able to determine that a liquid with a label stating " Product of Scotland " and " aged 18 years " is by far much cheaper that Mr. Ross's liquid,,,,,,,Scotland, land of my birth. have a nice day everyone.
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:33 PM
dcorc dcorc is offline
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Re: Liquid clear medium.

Quote:
My humble apologies indeed, I had no intent in mind of " whacking " Bob Ross, I merely quoted a most pleasant young lady with whom I have had dealings with at my local art store.

I didn't take it as such, that wasn't what I was referring you back to, but rather the discussions about constituents and links to other earlier threads.

I've never handled liquid clear, personally, but I'd suggest that its likely to be linseed oil and mineral spirits, possibly with some stand oil to increase viscosity and levelling, and with the effect of slowing drying - if liquid clear is as slow-drying as some have suggested above, it may also contain a few drops of clove oil (which is a powerful antioxidant, which therefore markedly slows drying).

I'd start with 40% linseed, 10% stand, 50% mineral spirits - it should be a simple matter to make up small samples varying the proportions and test them for yourself. If adhesion is a problem, add in 1-2% of damar varnish.

I'd also point out to you that while Bob Ross has got a lot of people painting over the years, a lot of his techniques and materials are somewhat adapted or different from mainstream oil-painting practice and approaches. There's a lot of information now available about traditional oil-painting approaches, for example on this site


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Old 01-18-2011, 04:48 PM
buteman buteman is offline
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Re: Liquid clear medium.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcorc
I didn't take it as such, that wasn't what I was referring you back to, but rather the discussions about constituents and links to other earlier threads.

I've never handled liquid clear, personally, but I'd suggest that its likely to be linseed oil and mineral spirits, possibly with some stand oil to increase viscosity and levelling, and with the effect of slowing drying - if liquid clear is as slow-drying as some have suggested above, it may also contain a few drops of clove oil (which is a powerful antioxidant, which therefore markedly slows drying).

I'd start with 40% linseed, 10% stand, 50% mineral spirits - it should be a simple matter to make up small samples varying the proportions and test them for yourself. If adhesion is a problem, add in 1-2% of damar varnish.

I'd also point out to you that while Bob Ross has got a lot of people painting over the years, a lot of his techniques and materials are somewhat adapted or different from mainstream oil-painting practice and approaches. There's a lot of information now available about traditional oil-painting approaches, for example on this site


Dave

I thank you for your reply, I last painted in Senior Secondary School up in Lanakshire that was in 1963 if my memory serves me correctly.
I started again a couple of months ago ( weather is not the best these days for my great passion,,,,( golf ).
Initially I struggled with application and blending, a chance encounter with a professional artist and I joined his classes as a student.
He taught wet on wet, I found it pleasant to work with, our canvas consisted of landscapes and I found it so easy to blend my skies and water on the wet canvas.
So much has changed over the years notably materials, now at my local art store there are four grades of oil paint and a countless selection of mediums.
I'm sure you can appreciate the fact that as a pensioner I do have to be somewhat frugal thus the request regarding liquid clear ( or substitute ).
In any event I do enjoy my time at the canvas, it is a learning process and without question in my search for knowledge I'm sure I will conclude that joining " Wet Canvas " was an excellent step in the right direction.
Again thank you.

Regards,

buteman.
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:59 PM
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Re: Liquid clear medium.

As long as the thread has been re-opened, I thought I'd confirm for any future reader that liquid clear does indeed react to thinner - almost like oil and water, the thinner causing the paint that's on the liquid clear to separate. This can be used to create funky effects, if you wish. But if you don't want funky effects, don't let thinner come into contact with liquid clear on the canvas.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:00 PM
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Re: Liquid clear medium.

If my long term memory serves me correctly, I seem to remember the problems with using the Ross liquid clear came from laying down too heavy a layer onto the canvas. Caution was always given to leave barely a sheen of it on the canvas, even wipe off excess from the surface if it became too slick. While I do remember it slowing drying time, it was not excessive unless the liquid was applied too heavily.

There are a number of formulas in the WC search forums for making both liquid clear and liquid white. Hope this helps.
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Old 07-22-2012, 03:19 AM
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Re: Liquid clear medium.

What I've learned is, as Aires said, wipe it down if you apply it heavy, and really be careful to just put a bit on...

And as others have said above, Clean your brush and DRY it completely before painting on it, if liquid clear mixes with any thinner, it will separate and make a mess of your painting, so after you clean a brush, wipe it down and make sure its bone dry before using it...

I find liquid clear dries really fast as opposed to liquid white & black... I finished a painting the other day, and 2 days later its bone dry (Used liquid clear.) It tends to get really sticky almost like a resin of some sort when its drying. Liquid white has much more open time, but if you use too much, your painting will never dry, so use all of these mediums very sparingly.

Other than that, it can be a good medium for bringing out colors and even for creating fine details.
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