Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Ask Stape, retouching with Liquin?
I was wondering if it is good to use Liquin instead of linseed oil for oiling out and if you see any problems with this? If you don't see any problems with this, do you think it's OK if I oil out a painting with Liquin where I've used only linseed oil as medium? I have read somewhere that Liquin yellows less than linseed plus I like how much faster it dries (than linseed), but I was worried about cracking and other bad effects it might have in the long run. I would like to give my paintings an even finish without the matte parts. I have tried brushing on retouching varnish, but it was very inconsistent in that some paintings became sticky.
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Oiling out means to restore the gloss to the surface of a painting that has "sunk in". When a painting sinks in, areas have gone matte during drying. Some colors and dark passages are prone to this. I think the first choice would be to spray it with retouch varnish from a can or with a mouth atomizer. I think it better to spray a fine coat of retouch rather than to paint it on, as you will get a thinner coat.
Assuming the painting is very dry, I believe you could put a little Liquin on a paper towel and rub it onto the surface of the painting to restore its even gloss. I have no idea how much linseed oil you are using when you say it is your medium. I would suggest you go very easy on that if you intend to add more layers of paint. It is advisable to have fatter layers on top of leaner layers. But you knew that.
I have used Liquin to oil out a painting many times without a problem, but I have not done it over linseed oil, but I think you will be OK. Perhaps you might use Liquin as your medium, I like it very well. If you want more gloss, try Gamblins alkyd medium, Galkyd. That would eliminate the problem of using two different sorts of mediums. I think alkyd is less likely to crack than other mediums, it has a flexible rubberyness to it that I believe will reduce cracking. I don't feel straight linseed oil is a particularly good medium. If you want to use a natural, traditional medium , I would suggest 1 part stand oil, 1 part damar varnish and 4 to 7 parts turpentine, it must be turps, not mineral spirits though. Get the real stuff, the hardware store turps has dropped in quality and now smells like death. On the next painting I think you might want to rethink your medium-retouch varnish system and avoid making a habit of using the Liquin over linseed oil, it seems a little too complex to me, simple is usually better, and the fewer varieties of mediums in a painting the better.
I have never had a painting crack, and I have been very careless about the fat over lean dictum on some occasions. I am not dismissing that advice, just saying I have never had a problem, and I have paintings going back nearly forty years. I have seen paintings crack that I believe was the result of using the the old copal mediums ( now unavailable), and I have seen paintings crack that were painted extremely thickly. Those paintings were probably worked on in such a way as to add a new layer of paint day after day after day. They might have been as thick as a nickel in places. I am suspicious of "academic" methods that are super thin and made more from oil or medium in glazes, than from paint .Overly diluted paint, particularly if cut with thinner, is more likely to be a problem.
There are people who are really fixated on making paintings that they believe will last forever. Sometimes they make paintings that will last for centuries that never should have been made in the first place. As I am a working professional painter, I try to be sensible, but I am not grinding my own whiting or making rabbit skin glue on a hotplate. I try not to paint too thickly and I often paint on panels which don't loosen and tighten under the paint like a canvas. I think rigid supports are always better if you want to avoid cracking or other problems like being dented or torn , but they get too heavy when larger than about 20 by 24.