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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • imprimaturaApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2019-05-07 12:28:08 ... Most recent comment 2019-05-09 12:38:12
    Oil Paint


    I'm having problems with underbound imprimatura since I upgraded to artist quality oils. I guess part of the "problem" is the higher pigmentation of my new oils. I can't seem to achieve a bound yet semi transparent layer of paint. I'm diluting burnt umber with mineral spirits. I've recently had the same problem with an opaque venetian red ground I layed out on another canvas. In that case I oiled out the entire canvas. I tried to do the same with the raw umber imprimatura, but in rubbing the oil I ended with a brown surface and my underlaying drawing completly lost.

    Am I using to much solvent? How can I achieve a semi transparent imprimatura that is bound enough?

    Thank you for your valuable advice!


Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    I have encountered this phenomenon as well. Despite opinions to the contrary, there is a point where heavy dilution with a solvent will create a film that is too friable even though the paint layer would have been fine if applied neat. I would add a bit more linseed oil to the diluted paint to counteract this. Do not overdo it or you will have an imprimatura that is too fat for a preliminary layer.

    Brian Baade
    2019-05-07 18:21:40
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Thank you Brian for your answer. I will try adding more oil to the mix. I still worry that the sizing/priming of the canvas I'm currently using is to absorbent. I use five layers of acrylic gesso and two of an alkyd based oil ground, both made by Zecchi (a manufacturer from Florence). The finish is extremly matte and feels I would say arid. Would you recomend rubbing a bit of oil into the last layer of oil ground, before the imprimatura, in order to make the surface less absorbent? 

    2019-05-07 19:00:17
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    I would not suggest that procedure. If you are going to apply the imprimatura immediately after oiling out, there is no reason to not just simply add a bit of extra oil to your imprimatura before application. However, if you intend on oiling out and letting it oxidize/dry before applying the imprimatura, you are adding a gummy, fatty oil layer which will set beneath a more rigid and more pigment rich layer. This is a recipe for cracking and possible delamination.

    Brian Baade
    2019-05-08 00:20:49
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Ok yes that woudn't make sense, thank you. What is your opinion on my priming system? Is it possible for an acrylic gesso+alkyd ground to be to absorbent? 

    2019-05-08 10:02:18
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    I would not think that your ground would be too absorbent although I can’t say for sure. I have personally found alkyd-oil primers manufactured for use for fine art painting tend to be less absorbent and glossier than their straight oil counterparts, BUT, I have not tried them all. In theory, your priming system should be fine.

    Brian Baade
    2019-05-08 12:38:56
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Thank you Brian, adding a just a bit of linseed oil to the imprimatura worked really well. Just wanted to share for anyone who might be having the same problem. 

    2019-05-09 12:38:12

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