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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Gerhard Richter Paint ApplicationApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2017-07-03 13:45:56 ... Most recent comment 2017-07-08 18:20:28
    Oil Paint Paint Additives


    I would like to apply oil paint on canvas (large scale) in thick smears similar to Richter, but am looking for some insight into the best practices for this approach to avoid problems such as wrinkling, cracking, excessive drying times, etc. 

    Do we know if he is altering his paint from tube consistency? Would this be recommended and if so what additives/ amendments? 

    (Implict question: I know you recommend rigid supports for thick paint, but is there a practical solution for large paintings, say 4 x 6 feet?)

    Mille Grazie

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Tate Conservator Rachel Barker gave a great interview in 2011 on Richter's technique ​that explains some of this:

    The preparation of his paint is briefly explained- it's apparently strained to remove any solid bits that would interfere with smooth application- but it sounds like it's assumed that the artist leverages knowledge of the drying properties of the colors themselves to avoid problems in layering.

    Matthew Kinsey, Utrecht Art Supplies
    2017-07-03 19:20:52
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​Thanks Matthew,

    You are a real asset to this forum

    Brian Baade
    2017-07-04 15:19:04
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Thanks so much for pointing me to this article. 

    Much more respect to Richter, though I must admit I am a bit skeptical of his ordering of pigments by drying rates, especially since his revealed underlayers are often very chromatic and transparent pigments, but indeed they seem very soundly made. 

    It seems straight oil paint is too thick to strain through muslin, but perhaps at near industrial quantites it works.

    If one were to use thickly layered paint in this manner, would you recommend ammending the paint in any way?


    2017-07-05 17:33:54
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​Matthew may have some suggestions but I refer you back to the blog's statement here: "There is undoubtedly an element of chance in the results of this technique"....I think this technique really requires a lot of playing around and testing. I would not attempt to mess with the paint you are using unless you have had a few go's at trying to re-create this method. When you do please report back..we are interested to hear how it goes and might be able to help you troubleshoot.

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-07-05 21:36:56
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    It's hard to "reverse-engineer" a technique as individual as this. That said, one point I took from this interview is that the squeegee is very significant, both in achieving the pictorial goal as well as in how the paint film is structured. I remember when I first observed how surprisingly thin the paint was on a Goya, compared to how textural it appeared in reproductions. Modern painters often, I think, don't understand how much subtractive work with a knife was done by earlier artists. If there are any real "lost secrets of the old masters", paint "mechanics" might be among them.

    Matthew Kinsey, Utrecht Art Supplies
    2017-07-06 17:10:08
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Insightful comments as always. I´ll keep you posted- Cheers

    2017-07-06 17:28:06
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​I keep hearing that idea of reverse engineering of the painting in my head, and I am seduced by that idea. However more to the heart of my inquiry, I am looking for recommendations based on your structural knowledge of paint films on nest practices in oil painting thick wide spead layers to avoid alligatoring and delamination. I know you've already answered how Richter might do this, but perhaps have other ideas...Ciao  

    2017-07-08 03:34:22
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Hopefully someone who has tried this painting technique, step-by-step, will weigh in eventually....but unless I am mistaken none of the moderators have attempted this unique technique of painting....therefore it is difficult for us to give sound advice on what to do and what not to do. I do hope you will write back in and tell us how your experiments go...if problems arise we can go through the list of materials you decided to use as well as your technique...but hopefully none will!

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-07-08 18:20:28

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