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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • How long should we wait before painting on top of a painting in progressApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2016-12-18 02:22:48 ... Most recent comment 2016-12-18 11:22:00
    Oil Paint
    How can we best paint slowly to get a good structure in the painting? Meaning indirect painting such as subsequent corrections, revising the design, altering a colour,  glazing, scumbling (when you want the lower layer to be firm enough not to lift but you want to do it as soon as possible) or adding finishing details in fatter paint?

    Beyond starting with thin fast drying pigments or fast dry modified matte paints and observing critical pigment volume or fat. Beyond that, we mix different pigments with different drying times and change our minds. Which pigments are notorious for moving more as they dry? As a general guide for an average situation (knowing there are multiple variables including pigments and additions, weather and ground) how long is too short? eg skinned over paint that's still wet below shouldn't be painted over as it's still in it's active phase of weight gain and loss as it dries (is this typically 3-4 weeks for a thinnish, moderate drying time pigment in linseed oil with no driers or alkyds added?) How long should we wait before painting on top of a painting in progress? thank you

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerUnfortunately the best way to tackle this question is to approach things on a case by case basis. For example, giving a blanket answer here would not be helpful as it would not necessarily apply to another artist's working technique. If you have a painting that you are working on and would like advice relating to that particular piece we can do our best to help answer the "when is it ok to begin revising" question. Other than that there are simply too many variables (some of which you have listed above) to be able to give a definitive timeline that would apply to every single combination of support, size, ground, paint, pigment, and possibly varnish that may be present. In general, the "fingernail test" is probably a reasonable approach to determine when one may or may not be able to begin adding subsequent paint layers, that is if your fingernail leaves an impression after gently pressing into a moderately thick paint it is probably too soon to begin re-working the composition. But again this is not always a foolproof method.
    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2016-12-18 13:45:17
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentIt's a question for general ongoing painting practice everyday
    2016-12-20 02:21:42
  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerSure...but even still given all of the factors that may or may not play a factor it is impossible to create a set of hard and fast rules but it IS possible to offers suggestions on a case by case basis. As for your question about which pigments are notorious for moving more as they dry there are some that should be avoided in lower lakes for example can be very slow drying but then again so can carbon black, the latter being a common pigment used in underpainting in some instances. While it is not advisable one can certainly use these pigments in underlayers...what we would suggest doing to combat potential issues is to do what you stated above....apply the paint relatively thinly or use faster drying mediums (alkyds). Again if there is a particular pigment/medium combination you are worried about we can certainly try to tackle that issue.
    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2016-12-20 04:37:03
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentIn the de Mayerne manuscript, it was reported that in the Gentileschi studio, "Amber Oil of Venice" was added to white passages in the initial layers to prevent lifting, to reduce staining from subsequent layering, and to preserve luminosity of the underpainting. It's not known what exactly was in this "Amber Oil" but many have assumed it was a cooked oil varnish with fossil or semi-fossil natural resins. Alkyd mediums deliver many of these benefits- quick initial drying, solvent resistance and less staining of light colors in layered techniques. I recommend experimenting with some of the excellent alkyd mediums available until you find something you like. As the Moderator points out also, the addition of alkyd will significantly help manage variations in drying behavior between pigments, so you can hopefully feel a little more at ease with your materials. Matthew Kinsey, Utrecht Art Supplies
    2016-12-20 16:44:59

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