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Author   Topic : "Oil Painting =Very Basic Questions="
jHof
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Joined: 23 Jun 2000
Posts: 252
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2001 3:55 pm     Reply with quote
I'm looking for some tips/tutorials/whatnot/slash/and other stuff about just setting up for oil painting. When to use Gesso, when not to. How the heck to you go from one color to the next with out having that other color still in your brush.

I started out buying some cheap oil paints and a couple (Cheap I would say.)brushes to play around with them. I really like the feel of them and all. But I just get so frustrated that to clean my brush I have to whip around my brush in the brush cleaning stuff, wipe if off, whip around more, wipe it off... ...10 minutes later It still has color in it. Bah!

Now maybe I'm to use two, seven, forty-two brushes or something? I'm hoping it's just that I don't know how to clean right. Or, do I really have to clean a bursh for 10 minutes to move on. Maybe thats why oil paintings are sopuse to take a long time???

I'm sure a lot of this is just trial and error stuff. I've never had any classes on oil painting yet, so I'm pretty funked out by it and it's process.

Thanks for any time you give to me and any others who learn something from this. And remember... don't eat green cheese.

[Edit: Meta-search-sijun-dhabih-forum-tags: Newbie Oil painting, Oil painting tutorials, beginning oil painting, funked out, getting started.]

-Hof

[This message has been edited by jHof (edited January 08, 2001).]
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quaternius
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Joined: 20 Nov 2000
Posts: 220
Location: Albany, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2001 5:44 pm     Reply with quote
Try pulling or wiping the paint out of your brush "before" you swish it around in the turpenoid to clean it. You'll use up lots of kleenex or paper towels, but that's part of the game. That's my technique anyway, as well as some very respected artists I know.
OR, some painters I know keep a handful of brushes with different colors going at the same time, then clean up at the end.

I've switched to Grumbacher MAX and Winsor and Newton water-soluble oils. Thin and clean up with water. Great stuff. Try some; I think they both have sample packs.

Give me another week and I may have some info. up on my Tripod site.
For now, good luck.

Q
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Quinnbeast
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Joined: 31 Dec 2000
Posts: 16
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2001 6:41 am     Reply with quote
hmm, well, I had about 10 weeks of oil painting at the end of my college course before i even started to do actual paintings..... I'm not sure it's that easy to describe it in a few words.

Firstly, you need some good cotton rags - an old T-shirt or two would do the trick. Try if you can, to start painting with the lightest colour first so that it has less effect if you want to use the same brush for another colour. Make sure you give the brush a good wipe, rinse it in the turps/white spirit and then give it another wipe on the rag. I find that removes enough paint to carry on with another colour.

After some practice, the whole thing you are describing stops becoming an issue because it's just something you learn to deal with, even though it seems a real pain at the moment. I tend to use several brushes of the same size if required, but obviously you have to buy the damn things first

The thing about oils is that you really need some proper lessons or guidance on how to use them and which additives to use. I can't say I've ever used gesso (it may be called something different over here in the UK) and to make things easier I would just manage without any extras while you figure out the paint itself. I personally use "Liquin" which helps to smooth the paint out and is useful for blending colours, and also for when you want to use the oil very thin (glazing etc, but that's complicating matters ) It also helps it dry quicker...

The problem is that you will get different suggestions form different people - The type of brushes to use, the type of paints to use, which additives to use, what sort of surface to paint on etc. It isn’t easy, and it sure isn’t cheap. For example, I found that by using decent (decent doesn’t always mean expensive) brushes was a huge help – they are made of hog’s hair and are very good indeed.

Maybe I’ll have to see about doing an “oils guide”:P

l8r, Quinnbeast.
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quaternius
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Joined: 20 Nov 2000
Posts: 220
Location: Albany, CA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2001 9:48 am     Reply with quote
Great advice from Quinnbeast. I've just put a few things up on my Tripod site in the tutorials area that might help point you in the right direction.

------------------
-Quaternius
http://quaternius.tripod.com/Forum
cubic44@yahoo.com
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Seeg
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Joined: 22 Dec 2000
Posts: 58
Location: Orem, UT, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2001 10:04 pm     Reply with quote
When I teach painting to my students there are some basics that I always start them off with.

Good paint and good brushes. There is nothing more frustrating than stiring around crappy paint with crappy brushes.

Limited palette. Start with only the following colors. White, Yellow Ochre, alizarn crimson, and Ivory black. Less color choices mean less mistakes. You can paint an amazing amount of color variations with those few colors.

Buy your brushes in three's of the same size. Then you have a brush for the darks, mid-tones, and lights.

Clean your brushes as little as possible when you paint. Each time you clean your brush it is about impossible to get all the turp out of the brush. It ends up making your paint wet and slick. If you must clean your brush, wipe it off on a rag first, wash it turp, and quickly wash it in acetone. Do not leave the acetone uncovered. Only uncover it when you rinse your brush. It will leave your brush free from and oily buildup. NEVER soak your brushes in acetone and don't smoke, etc when using it.

I usually have my students paint from dark to light. The reason is that it takes much less paint to lighten a color mixture than it does to darken an already light mixture.

Hope som of this helps.

If you would like to see my Oil paintings, go to www.seegmiller-art.com and look in the traditional galleries.

Good luck and let me know if you have any additional questions

Regards
Don
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spooge demon
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Joined: 15 Nov 1999
Posts: 1475
Location: Haiku, HI, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2001 2:30 am     Reply with quote
Hi Seeg,

Very nice suggestions!

Do you have any recomendations as to which grade and brand to buy?
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Seeg
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Joined: 22 Dec 2000
Posts: 58
Location: Orem, UT, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2001 5:30 pm     Reply with quote
There are two brands of oil paint that I can recommend without hesitation as the most bang for the buck. Gamblin and Graham are very good paints and relatively inexpensive. I use them both and they are favorably comparable with very expensive paint brands.
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quaternius
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Joined: 20 Nov 2000
Posts: 220
Location: Albany, CA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2001 5:56 pm     Reply with quote
Seeg -
You obviously really know what you're talking about and I think you're right on. Limited palette is the way to go. But like every artist, I have a few different opinions. Okay, show us your stuff you say! Yeah, yeah, Okay - one of these days when I have some time I'll pull out the oil-paintings, photograph 'em and get 'em up on the web so I can show I'm reasonably legit.

Until then, I generally recommend a slightly different palette to my students: Cad.yellow light (or pale) instead of yellow ochre - (yep it's more expensive, but even tho' yellow ochre is a more budget concious choice I think you can get cleaner colors with cad. yellow lt. since it's not already a bit neutralized like yellow ochre {personal opinion}),Mars black instead of Ivory black - because most Mars blacks are "blue-blacks", so you can still mix some very acceptable greens. Once everyone is getting the hang of it I'll often switch to Ultramarine blue instead of mars black, which still provides a nice dark "dark". There's other reasons too, but I'm sure you know all about them so I won't go into it here. However, the obvious benefits to this palette range are that you not only have the complete primaries, but a reasonably nice contrast range from light to dark - a bit more than yellow ochre provides.
I like the cad.yellow lt. because students can often lighten things quite a bit without immediately reaching for the titanium white and turning things "chalky" - creating some better habits I think. To each his own.

I like your three brush idea. I know several artists that use it. One of them uses several big jars - he puts a couple of inches of sand in the bottom of each jar, then can jam the brush-handles into the sand, grab another brush and keep painting. But I prefer to pull the paint off the brush I'm using, with a rag or kleenex and keep going. I probably throw away as much paint as I use.

Like you say, turp. is really for cleaning up your brushes at the end.
Especially for teaching, I've switched to water-soluble oils. It's real oil paint, doesn't dry any faster, you can treat it just like oils and use turp. or mineral spirits -- or you can clean up with soap and water. Clean-up with soap and water rates pretty high on my list. The less I have to get turp., mineral spirits, acetone, etc. on my skin - or breathe those things, the better. The paint doesn't seem to be quite as buttery as really good oils, but it's pretty close. Definitely close enough for students.

Spooge - if I might be so bold, until Seeg responds; the professional oil painters I know use either Sennelier, (Cezanne, Pissaro, Bonnard and Picasso; to name a few, preferred these - and they really are rich and buttery), Gamblin, or Daniel Smith Original Oils. I'm partial to Gamblin, but
I've switched to Grumbacher MAX and W&N Artisan for their water-solubility. Since my studio is connected to the house, the water-solubility seems to help somewhat in keeping the odors down, (maybe it's just in my mind).

jHof - I also moved my Forum stuff over to an old geocities account and have some additional notes on oils in the Tutorials there, if it helps.
Try this: http://www.geocities.com/cubic44/

Q
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Seeg
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Joined: 22 Dec 2000
Posts: 58
Location: Orem, UT, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2001 7:06 pm     Reply with quote
Nah, I'd love to see your stuff but make no judgments about your knowledge. That is the beauty of art, everyone has valid points and their own way of doing things.

I love cad yellow light and use it extensively. I tend to use it when I am painting very pale complexioned skin. Though I limit my students to four colors, at my studio I use the following for most of my painting.
Old Holland Titanium White. This is the most opaque, heavy bodied white I have found outside of the lead based paints.
Cad yellow light. Graham or Gamblin
Yellow ochre.
Cad red light.
an earth red...venetian, light, mars etc.
Permanent Alizarin. Gamblin
Burnt Umber
Ivory Black
Ultramarine blue (sometimes thalo blue)
Thalo green

I will add different colors as the painting dictates. I like Winsor Newton Artist Grade Purple Madder Alizarin. A very deep reddish purple. I use raw umber extensively in flesh tones.

I find it interesting that you find Mars black cooler than Ivory Black. I am the opposite )

I do find that specific colors vary from brand to brand. You will eventually find the colors in the brand that you can't live without.

I must admit that I know very little about the water soluble paint. I have never used it.

Whatever we do, the most important thing is to keep painting...

Don
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quaternius
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Joined: 20 Nov 2000
Posts: 220
Location: Albany, CA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2001 9:21 pm     Reply with quote
Don -
Thanks for sharing your larger palette - like any artist I've spoken with, I know it changes from time to time also.

On the black paint issue, looks like we're both going for a bluish-black. Funny how we get stuck on some things. Ever since I began painting those many years ago I've always thought of Ivory black as being a warm black, {where did that come from?}, but you got my interest going,(besides not wanting to misdirect students) so I pulled out a number of tubes for a quick comparative test.
Dan Smith Autograph Oils - Ivory black DOES appear blue-black, hmmmm...
Daniel Smith Original oils, again, Ivory black appears cooler than the Mars black.
Grumbacher MAX, Ivory black looks warmer than mars black.
Holbein Aqua-oils - Mars black is definitely blue.
That's very sobering - but actually, I agree with what you wrote - colors can vary substantially from brand to brand. I've always found that to be true, but haven't really stopped to take a look at the ivory black issue before.
Since I've been recommending water-solubles for classes, looks like I've been okay - but just wrote a mental note to be even more specific on the manufacturers in the future.

jHof -
I just came across a great book by Thomas S. Buechner called "How I Paint - Secrets of a Sunday Painter" - it is so good I had to buy it. He's written the book I would have liked to have written myself. Believe me, he's more than just a Sunday Painter! Fabulous tips and techniques for the beginner as well as the pro and more importantly, the "why" of painting. Get it if you can.

What an amazing Forum this is!

Q
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