Saturday, March 3, 2012


Oil on 8x8 Gallery wrap canvas
If you're interested in purchasing this painting, please visit my Gallery

 Ok, so I tried oils again today. I guess it's hard trying a different medium whatever it might be. I have questions for fellow artists who have used oils, such as:

Do you tone your canvas beforehand? I noticed that the color was being mixed with whatever I put on top. Do you tone and then wait until it dries?

How do you work on details if the paint is wet and it gets all mixed up?

Do you use more than one brush or do you clean in turpentine between colors?

Do you do anything else than turpentine (or equivalent) to clean the brushes thoroughly?

Any pointers for a new oil user would be greatly appreciated!


  1. I love the golden colours in the this boat,and the reflections!! Sorry Karen,the last time I attempted oils was in school,and I got no help at all so I was put off by them.I think I will give them a go one of these days. You're doing great,I'm sure you will find all your answers,and then i can ask you. : )

  2. It is a beautiful piece you created Karen!. I always tone my oils with acrylic color as an under painting. It helps the oil layer to remain strong on top. I use just a single brush and keep cleaning it up with turpentine.Some times I use a dish washing liquid :-)I usually go for details after leaving the painting to dry for a while, leaving it just a day helps a lot, hope this helps :-)

  3. Lovely reflections and color palette Karen.

  4. This is a beautiful painting, Karen! Love the colors and reflections!

    I tone my canvases with a mix of Gamsol (odorless mineral spirits) and burnt umber. Once the canvas is covered, I carefully wipe most of it off with a paper towel. If you want to see a bit of colored under-painting, the acrylic washes do work well very well.

    I use three brushes, and I clean them in Gamsol between colors. After I've finished painting for the day, I clean them in Pink Soap (Mona Lisa brand.) The Pink Soap also works miracles for getting paint out of clothes, etc.

    I use the medium recipe that Carol Marine gave us at her workshop. It is 2 parts linseed oil, 1 part stand oil and 1 part Gamsol. It really aids in drying and gives your finished paintings a nice gloss. You only need to use a tiny bit of this with each painting. I made one "recipe" over a year ago, and I still have about half of the jar left. A little goes a long way.

    I try to paint the most "precious" areas of the painting first. Precious meaning the areas that you want the paint to remain pristine and the color pure. In this painting, it would be the boat and the reflections, and I would have probably began with the white stripe. Then working from light to dark. Then, the background and at the very last, I add the highlights. Standard oil painting technique suggests that you will paint from dark to light with oils, but that doesn't really work well with alla prima.

    I ordered Utrecht oils. Utrecht offers great sales on a regular basis, and the oil colors have the nicest texture that I've found.

    I'm excited that you're trying oils, Karen. I switched over from acrylics last year, and I really like them. They are messy, but they do have a luminosity that I enjoy. I hope this helps you. If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask. We are all learning together! :)

  5. Thank you all for the nice comments and the helpful pointers. I have to say that trying oils is challenging and I just miss the ease of acrylics. I will keep working at it regularly though!


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