+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    33

    Default How to paint with oil as solvent

    I have read about a technique in oil painting where solvents are not used and walnut oil is instead used to clean brushes (often described as the brushes remaining suspended in the oil when not in use).

    If I attempted to do this, how would I work with the principle of 'fat over lean' paint?

    I assume I couldn't make any type of wash layer for my under-paintings because this would require adding a lot of oil to thin the paint, and it seems like more opaque paint layers above it would be less flexible because they'd contain less added oil.

    Am I understanding this correctly?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    33

    Default

    I guess maybe this was a dumb question since I'm not getting any replies. This link talks about using oil only as a "solvent". I was just trying to understand if it's technically sound to attempt something like a wash for an underpainting if you have only oil to thin the paints. I suppose the answer is probably not (?).

    https://www.currys.com/template.htm?...O=TT-NOSOLVENT

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    98

    Default Painting without solvents

    Thank you for your questions.

    Yes, you are understanding this correctly. Painting without solvents is a viable option for painters who wish to paint directly, or alla prima, but painting without solvents has its limitations. Like you described, one of these limitations is creating thin washes of color, especially in the initial stages of a painting. Another limitation is when painters are exploring indirect or glazing techniques, where generally more medium is used to increase the transparency and expand the optical quality of oil colors.

    This is a role that solvents play in painting mediums - namely, to mitigate the fat content of straight drying oil to ensure the performance of paint layers and maintain the Fat Over Lean principle.

    Also, keep in mind that any drying oil can be used to remove color off of brushes. You want to be careful not to add too much drying oil to oil colors (making them too "fat").

    If you pursue painting without solvents, use oil colors straight from the tube in the initial stages of the painting and then use a moderate amount of drying oil or solvent-free medium in the top layers of the painting.

    Kind regards,

    Scott Gellatly
    Product Manager
    Gamblin Artists Colors
    AMIEN Moderator

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    33

    Default

    Thank you very much for your response and explanation, Scott! Much appreciated!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    384

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Gellatly View Post
    Thank you for your questions.

    Yes, you are understanding this correctly. Painting without solvents is a viable option for painters who wish to paint directly, or alla prima, but painting without solvents has its limitations. Like you described, one of these limitations is creating thin washes of color, especially in the initial stages of a painting. Another limitation is when painters are exploring indirect or glazing techniques, where generally more medium is used to increase the transparency and expand the optical quality of oil colors.

    This is a role that solvents play in painting mediums - namely, to mitigate the fat content of straight drying oil to ensure the performance of paint layers and maintain the Fat Over Lean principle.

    Also, keep in mind that any drying oil can be used to remove color off of brushes. You want to be careful not to add too much drying oil to oil colors (making them too "fat").

    If you pursue painting without solvents, use oil colors straight from the tube in the initial stages of the painting and then use a moderate amount of drying oil or solvent-free medium in the top layers of the painting.

    Kind regards,

    Scott Gellatly
    Product Manager
    Gamblin Artists Colors
    AMIEN Moderator

    While I do not wish to be seen contradicting Scott, who is my friend, or confuse any other reader, I would like to point out one unassailable fact: that oil painting as a media is over 500 years old and most of it predates the use of odorless mineral spirits or the excessive use of turpentine.

    So here's a question: how did those early painters get by without using lots of solvent?

    1. By using earth colors, which are innately oil absorptive and were more coarse and varied in their grind.(Sure, that may be what they had to work with, but this objection doesn't change my point.)

    2. By using grounds which were also more absorptive. A condition which would tend to draw down oil content out of a paint layer after it is applied.

    3. By the use of scumbling and/or thin dry-brushed application of paint in the early stages, and not quick washes of paint thinned with an oil or solvent. Nor did Ye Olde Masters immediately launch into a premiere coup application of paint. (Meaning, start off from the git-go by laying down thick juicy layers of color, which is a relatively modern way to paint that first made its appearance in the early to mid-19th century.)

    I am not championing any of the points I've expressed above as being superior to how the majority of oil painters work today. That would require making a subjective judgement and we don't do that here. I am just saying the Old Dead Guys didn't use anywhere as much solvent as we splash around today. And sure, how those dead artists may have used their paints did tend to dictate a certain look and feel, but then, the same holds true for how most of us work today.

    So here is something to think about: One doesn't HAVE to thin one's paint with a solvent to follow the fat over lean principle. Other factors can be exploited. It all becomes an informed choice once you learn more about it.

    G'nite all...
    Thomas Jefferson Kitts
    AMIEN Moderator

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

About AMIEN

AMIEN is the only unbiased source of information about art materials on the internet. Guaranteed. AMIEN is a resource for artists dedicated to providing the most comprehensive, up-to-date, accurate, and unbiased factual information about artists' materials.

Contact AMIEN

Administrator
Mark Gottsegen
Email AMIEN

All material on this site prepared by AMIEN is protected by Copright © 2006 - 2011.
All other copyrights are reserved by their respective holders.