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Monday, February 16, 2015

New Discoveries February 2015

I love new discoveries! Anything that makes the painting process easier, less painful, or best of all: results in a more beautifully constructed finished piece, is just cause for a celebration.  And who wants to celebrate alone? I'm here to share. Without further delay, here they are.

I'm sure many of you have experienced this annoying phenomena: you lovingly and carefully varnish your painting. You spend a day or so feeling pride and accomplishment - wow a coat of varnish brings your work to a whole new level of beauty. But a day or so later, you notice several annoying dry spots in areas that make your beautiful varnishing job not so nice. Much to your chagrin, you discover these spots persist even after adding a second, or even third, coat. 

After years of research, I finally think I've cracked the code to this mystery, and I'd like to thank Sadie Valeri, and Gamblin Studio Notes for helping me out (all information gleaned from their fabulous blogs referenced below). The answer: you need to prepare the surface BEFORE the varnish goes on. The method, "oiling out,"is relatively easy and results in a beautifully even surface.  

Oiling Out Method
- Galkyd Painting Medium
- Gamsol Odorless Mineral Spirits
- Small, shallow bowl or cup to mix and later dip into
- Brush, sponge brush or makeup wedge to apply mixture
- Lint free rag
- Gamvar Varnish 

1. Mix up a 50/50 Galkyd Painting Medium and Gamsol Odorless Mineral Spirits in small cup/bowl.
2. Apply mixture, using sponge or other applicator you find effective, to a dry painting. I cover the entire painting with this mixture.
3. Let dry a few minutes.
4. Take a lint-free cloth and wipe it off - although not entirely.
5. Proceed with varnishing (my favorite: Gamvar). 

Oiling Out is also extremely effective when you go to work on an unfinished painting that has dried out in areas, which makes it difficult to "read" and doesn't seem to take additional paint layers very well. Apply this mixture only in areas you plan on working on. Don't just apply it and let it dry on top. Please note, that I've described the method I use, but do visit Valeri and Gamblin Studio's blog for more detailed options. 

I'm so sorry, Viva, but Scott has bested you in the competition for the oil painter's most trusty paper towel. This is the nearest to cloth I've found, and as an added bonus, is cheaper than Viva! Although Target and your grocery store doesn't seem to carry Scott Shop, it is available at hardware stores, and even better, COSTCO. I highly recommend. 

Lord, I thought I'd never stop this horrible obsession-driven tendency. I have dozens of overworked, got the life blood sucked right out of them, pieces (some quite large!) that make me feel awful. They're all stored in a sad closet, much like the land of misfit toys that will never see the light of day. I keep thinking I might be able to use them for, what, I'm not sure.

Just when I thought I'd never ever stop this cycle, I finally kicked the habit. I am happy to report I haven't added any to the sad collection in quite some time. Understanding what drove me to work and noodle past the point of effectiveness led me to an easy solution. The reason I kept working on paintings I darn well knew I needed a break from:


Well, no shocker there. If I stopped painting I'd have to clean the house, or face some other mundane boring task. So I came up with a pretty obvious solution: working on several paintings at once. Having a couple of works going at the same time allows me to step away from one when I need to, but still be able work on another piece that is fresh to my eye and mind. Therefore: I can keep PAINTING!!! Interestingly, I've discovered that if I'm not working on at least five paintings concurrently I find myself getting into trouble.

Trust me, if you're not visiting these blogs, you're missing out on so much. I am extremely grateful for the information these artists share. If you read, watch their tutorials, I guarantee you will receive an expensive workshop's worth of information.

David Gray   David Gray also has a post discussing "oiling out" as it relates to working on paintings in progress, using a mixture of 50/50 Gamsol & Walnut Oil that is very helpful.

Sadie Valeri (where I culled a lot of info regarding varnishing)

Gamblin Studio Notes

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