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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Florida
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    29

    Default oiling out vs retouch varnish

    I used linseed oil (rubbed on with my finger) to retouch two small portraits. I wanted the surface to stay wet a day or two so did not want damar retouch which dries too fast. However, the linseed oil, thinnest coat I could manage, stayed sticky for several days. That was ok: I waited it out. However, now the irritatingly slick surface in the retouched areas is a problem. I want to work on the paintings further. I wish I could sand the slick surface with 600 grit paper to restore some tooth. But this is too scary on a stretched canvas which doesn't lie flat. Is there some way to take away the glassy shine without sanding and without removing the paint underneath? A tiny dilute amount of turpentine? Or, apply wax medium or maroger on top of the dried linseed oil?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Chagrin Falls, OH
    Posts
    1,362

    Default oil as a retouch

    Quote Originally Posted by pineywoods belle View Post
    I used linseed oil (rubbed on with my finger) to retouch two small portraits. I wanted the surface to stay wet a day or two so did not want damar retouch which dries too fast. However, the linseed oil, thinnest coat I could manage, stayed sticky for several days. That was ok: I waited it out. However, now the irritatingly slick surface in the retouched areas is a problem. I want to work on the paintings further. I wish I could sand the slick surface with 600 grit paper to restore some tooth. But this is too scary on a stretched canvas which doesn't lie flat. Is there some way to take away the glassy shine without sanding and without removing the paint underneath? A tiny dilute amount of turpentine? Or, apply wax medium or maroger on top of the dried linseed oil?
    pineywoods belle,

    Linseed oil is slow-drying binder, not a retouch varnish. If you want to try sanding it to reduce the gloss, you are going to have to wait several months -- just use a block of wood underneath the area you sanding. The reason the film stayed sticky for several days might have to do with the environment: Is it very humid where you live? That can sometimes inhibit drying.

    Next time, try a matte varnish, diluted with its solvent to retouch viscosity. The fast drying is an advantage -- no dust will settle on the surface of the painting.

    Or, instead of linseed oil, use an oil/alkyd painting medium. Retouch, and then wipe it off with a soft cloth. It should dry overnight -- which will give you some time to paint into the damp film if you wish.
    The AMIEN Staff

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    29

    Default Can't wait several months

    Thank you, Mark.
    I must deliver these portraits on Oct. 13th. So-- I'll have to do something right away in order to finish them in time. The oil is not sticky any more, but still glassy. I believed it when I read in a reliable book that "oiling out" with linseed oil is sound practice. Why would anyone want to paint on glass?

    I was wondering if either a wax medium (or wax varnish) or something else could be safely applied on top of the linseed oil for reworking. Or perhaps one of your "next time" options will work to remedy "this time." Could I apply diluted matte varnish or oil/alkyd medium on top of this glassy linseed oil?

    Finally, once I'm able to rework the portraits in some way- perhaps just painting on top of the linseed oil (?) I would like to even out the entire surface with retouch varnish. Is that a safe option? I have two retouch varnishes: Spray damar and Krylon Kamar. Is either of these preferable as a temporary varnish?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Chagrin Falls, OH
    Posts
    1,362

    Default "Oiling out" and retouch varnishes

    Quote Originally Posted by pineywoods belle View Post
    Thank you, Mark.
    I must deliver these portraits on Oct. 13th. So-- I'll have to do something right away in order to finish them in time. The oil is not sticky any more, but still glassy. I believed it when I read in a reliable book that "oiling out" with linseed oil is sound practice. Why would anyone want to paint on glass?

    I was wondering if either a wax medium (or wax varnish) or something else could be safely applied on top of the linseed oil for reworking. Or perhaps one of your "next time" options will work to remedy "this time." Could I apply diluted matte varnish or oil/alkyd medium on top of this glassy linseed oil?

    Finally, once I'm able to rework the portraits in some way- perhaps just painting on top of the linseed oil (?) I would like to even out the entire surface with retouch varnish. Is that a safe option? I have two retouch varnishes: Spray damar and Krylon Kamar. Is either of these preferable as a temporary varnish?
    pineywoods belle,

    "Oiling out" is now universally denigrated. If you want to work on these paintings now, the safest option is to use the "oil/alkyd medium wipe on/wipe off" technique. Adding any other type of medium such as a wax is only going to make the paintings' construction more complicated -- and you ought to be aiming for simpler.

    A retouch varnish to even out the surface appearance is a good idea. You have to be sure the paintings are sufficiently dry on top, so keep them in a warm and dry environment while they go though the initial stages of drying.

    If the spray damar container reveals the solvent in the can and it's gum Turpentine, then do not use it: gum Turps is quite hazardous. Use the Krylon Kamar, whose label might say that it contains an acrylic resin. In any case, spraying is also hazardous -- be sure you do this spraying under conditions of excellent ventilation and/or wear personal protective equipment.
    The AMIEN Staff

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    29

    Default Oiling out denigrated in my book!

    Thanks Mark. I won't be "oiling out" any more. I'll try the wipe-on, wipe-off technique. I know you can't recommend brands, but I have some Archival Classic Medium which says "alkyd-based, slow drying." It seems to be what you suggest.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Chagrin Falls, OH
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    Default "slow drying" oil/alkyd mediums

    Quote Originally Posted by pineywoods belle View Post
    Thanks Mark. I won't be "oiling out" any more. I'll try the wipe-on, wipe-off technique. I know you can't recommend brands, but I have some Archival Classic Medium which says "alkyd-based, slow drying." It seems to be what you suggest.
    pineywoods belle,

    We think using a slow drying oil/alkyd medium would defeat your purpose.

    In addition in the case of the product you cite, "archival" is a mis-used marketing term. "Archival" means "of or about archives": it has nothing to do with durability. We immediately suspect shenanigans when such terms are mis-used.
    The AMIEN Staff

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