September 10, 2007

Hankering ...

2005 - River Run 3 - Oil - 36x36

Getting the urge again... a longing for oils. Arg! I've had such bad luck with them, I'm chemically challenged (passed High School Chemistry only because I typed for the teacher.) Consequently a really big faux pas a bunch of years ago resulted in chipped paint on several works due to my inability to follow all the rules that come with oil paints. I can remember the fat over lean part (usually) but all the mediums and additives and how they interact baffles me... or at least seems to be of little concern to me once in the throes of the challenge.

But oh... the look you can get with oils! The richness, the smooth transition from color to color or value, the ability to move it around in such a provocative way... how it beckons me! A couple of years ago I buckled and made a big order from Classic Oils, assured by e-friend Elin Pendleton to require no additions, just use as is. I painted several works which I was perfectly satisfied and can't really say why I didn't continue with them. (See above painting.) Probably some kind of deadline came up and I had to get back on my regular horse and ride it in. But there they are... calling to me...

No real deadlines now... I could play and maybe get a better grasp on the medium but seems I've got all these really big canvases stretched (big is relative, I know) and the idea of exploring on them with oils is intimidating to say the least (there's no changing your mind with oils like there is with acrylics.)

Reading up on the possibilities of painting oils over an acrylic base seems to indicate it's an okay thing to do (this is what got me into trouble before) and suggest that you put a coat of matte medium down before moving to oils... anyone have experience with this?

9 comments:

self taught artist said...

I like this painting, I can see what you mean about oils vs acrylic...seems very daunting. I hope you have fun reaquainting yourself with oil!

Annette Bush said...

Karen
In the reading, Mark seems to say,"Use a panel or glue canvas to panel, put the acrylic down, let it dry for a least a week, follow good/correct procedures with the oil and expect some cracking anyway." Just goes to show; you gotta know your stuff. I think you should go for it.

BTW, were you interested testing it out for Golden?
AAB

Shelly said...

That painting is absolutely gorgeous.

Re acrylics and oils: I'm no kind of expert, but I've put oil over fairly thin application acrylic, even without an intermediary layer of acrylic medium. According to my painting teacher, that's Allowed. So far, those paintings are holding up fine. I would not unstretch and roll them, though, because that would just be tempting fate.

Also, you could stretch some smaller canvases, if the larger ones are an intimidating commitment.

About the only other thing I can say is try not to be afraid of making mistakes, at least not to the extent that it stops you from experimenting. The worst you can do is make a mess, and making a mess is not necessarily a bad thing.

KJ said...

Good comments but problems... I don't want to deal with the weight of large panels so that's out. The idea of painting lightly in acrylics before changing to oils seems self defeating... why bother? Just as easy to paint in oil washes, would dry about as fast.

My urge is to reach a point in my process with acrylics (layering until I see what I really want in the painting) then to switch to oils for the finish. Golden suggests that their heavy bodied acrylics are basically pigmented gesso and would take oil over them... and they also mention a layer of acrylic matte medium would give enough tooth to satisfy.
I'll give it a try on a small piece but there's no real way to test it except via time.

Daphne said...

First of all, I'll refrain from gushing, but again, I love this painting...

Anyway,I usually use Golden mediums but I found an older jar of Rheotech, matte gel and although I'm not putting oils on top I can tell you that the roughness that it made is evident. In fact, there's a photo of it on today's post. Just zoom in on the first photo where things are looking quite awful.

Rebecca Crowell said...

I just wanted to mention the joys of painting with Dorland's wax medium (or other cold waxes I guess, I have only ever used Dorland's.) By mixing your oil paints with the wax, you equalize them in terms of fat/lean, making this a non-issue. There are no set ratios of medium to paint, so it's easy to play around with all kinds of mixtures and to build up transparent layers. I go through gallons of the stuff!

KJ said...

Now that you mention it, I was going to give cold wax a try... my to-do list is much longer than my memory, sad to say. I think I'd be better off to not layer the mediums... at least not now. Too much unknown risk. I'll order a trial size of Gamblin's version.

Tracy said...

Wax would be good for you to try and I have to suggest Liquin, which has always been my fave.

When I was in college, I did underpaintings in acrylic (monochromatic, with no medium) and then painted over them with oil, and they have held up fine. Eventually I found that doing the washy underpaintings in oil was more effective and I enjoyed it more.

Look forward to seeing what you do here! And I really love the piece you posted, it's beautiful.

KJ said...

I've ordered a big load of Gamblin cold wax and a hefty dose of their Galkyd painting medium, which I suspect is pretty much like Liquin. Which, btw, was part of my formula when I had the chipping problem, but I'm now certain that it was mostly due to painting over old acrylic paintings with oil... which is why I step carefully into that water.