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Need some advice about oils

Discussion in 'Oils' started by Ferris, May 2, 2015.

  1. Ferris A Fixture

    Hi all,

    As a regular acrylics painter I would like to ask for some basic advice about oils, as I am considering to use oils on a future mounted project: How do you keep the oils coat smooth?

    I've painted in oils in the past but always had issues with brush marks. I probably used too thick a coat. But if the paint is kept thin, how do I get coverage?
    Some of you oilies' work is incredibly smooth, such as Carlos' or Brian's. How do you do that?

    Any advice will be greatly appreciated, thanks!

    Adrian
  2. Viking Bob PlanetFigure Supporter

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    I have used turpentine as a thinner, although it stinks to high heaven, with good results.
    Regards
    Ferris likes this.
  3. Claude Portsmouth Active Member

    Hi Adrian, I'm no expert and I am sure you will get better replies but the secret is in applying a good undercoat with Acrylics or Enamels very close to the final colour followed by thin washes of Oils. Essentially you are painting the figure twice.

    Claude
    mark126804 and Ferris like this.
  4. bwildfong Well-Known Member

    Country:
    Canada

    Hi Adrian,

    Don't know if I'm THE "Brian" you were referring to (I'm A Brian at least :)), but here goes:

    You've got the first part right I think - keep the oil coat well spread out, a little goes a long way. Claude's got the second key (at least for what seems to work when I paint) - apply a smooth acrylic undercoat that is very close to the middle tone of the oils you'll be using - that way if the oils are a bit thinly applied it's not as noticeable. If things get too thin, you can always gently stipple a tiny bit more oils on the thin places - better to add little bits gradually than to have to deal with brush marks later.

    Hope this helps,

    Cheers,

    Brian
    Ferris likes this.
  5. DaddyO A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    I always used a 'medium' to thin oils when I was using them.
    Genuine turpentine is nice for getting a matter finish, but I always found it thinned the paint too much, although it did help speed up the drying time. There are other options available - Liquin is a nice one, thinning the paint and allowing it to flow nicely, without making it too 'washy'. There used to be a chalky/waxy medium (who's name I've forgotten) which also helped matt the finish down as well as speeding up the drying time - pop into your local artshop and see what's about. Linseed oil is very popular, but slows the drying and gives a glossy finish so I only used it for canvas work.

    Lots of options . . .hopefully others will chip in with their favourites too :rolleyes:

    Cheers
    Paul

    ps - an undercoat of enamel or acrylic, as has been mentioned, is a good idea and means you don't need to ladle the paint on and will help avoid brushmarks
    Ferris likes this.
  6. megroot A Fixture

    Country:
    Netherlands
    As a oilman I can only say that if you have brushmarks you paint to thick.
    Here is how i paint.
    I let the oil soak at on a index card.
    After 15 minutes the oils is out and transfer the paint to a white tile. (my palet).
    Mixing all the colors that I need. Then comes the tricky part. How much white spirit has to be added. No turps because they can make the paint glossy.
    Usually I have a smooth paint, something like the acrylic paint of the Vallejo bottles.
    Aply this paint on the primed figure. I learned from Ivo Preda (we all know him ) that it is not nessecary to color the primer. You can paint with the oils on the primer.
    Paint the parts and let it set for about 15 minutes. Then i take a flat very soft brush (simmilar as brush that my wife use for bringing on the powder ) and whipe very gently the paint off. Cleaning the brush after ever y stroke on a cotton rig. I do that as long as i see brushmarks.
    After that I let it dry and start all over again. Then I gonna fill in the shades and highs.
    End with a total brushmark free figure and totally matt.

    Marc
  7. Carlos Figure Art Active Member

    Hi Adrian,

    There's a few factors, that once combined, help me achieve a really smooth finish. When painting larger areas such as busts or 75mm up, I always airbrush the basecoat over the primer, for clothing and flesh areas, for me, it has to be dead flat and smooth, the microscopic tooth to a Matt finish holds on to the oil basecoat, a semi Matt basecoat is good for rendering other textures such as wood as it facilitates streaking and is harder to get a smooth finish.

    I use oils straight from the tube, no thinning, no mediums, wet on wet, very similar to Brian, who I'm sure will drop in soon. I only thin my oils when painting detail with White spirits or Sansodor, I find Distilled thinner is real quality, but it breaks down the pigment too much along with underlying dry paint. I only use it for fine lining, but you need to be working over a totally dry layer of paint. I only do so much wet on wet, once dry I sharpen things up wet on dry, for this I only use Linseed oil, this facilitates the blending wet on dry. Thinner is added for detail etc ..

    Finally I use a dabbing motion once the very thin layer of paint is brushed out, this eradicates any streaks when worked over a dead flat finish. I use this wether it is for blending or applying the basecoat thinned or un thinned.

    Combined these give me a smooth finish. I find painting minis and canvass painting uses quite different approaches,when I painted the odd canvas it was a very different method. I use to prefer acrylics to be honest?!!

    Good luck with the oils mate : ) keep us posted on the progress.

    Carlos
  8. Ferris A Fixture

    Thanks a lot Bob, Claude, Brian, Paul, Marc and Carlos.
    That is very helpful.

    I'll use much less paint next time and see if that works.

    Does brush size have a lot of impact on smoothness by the way? I remember using relatively large sizes to smooth things out. Is that what you do?

    Thanks again,
    Adrian
  9. megroot A Fixture

    Country:
    Netherlands
    Yes, I use large brushes (the very soft) to whipe off the paint.

    Marc
    Ferris likes this.
  10. Tubby-Nuts2 A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Personally (IMHO) whilst using oils! the old adage of, 'Less is More', carries a lot of weight. Also 'Patience is a virtue', ..as this is also required. :D

    Regards,

    Mark
    Ferris likes this.
  11. kagemusha A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
  12. Tubby-Nuts2 A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Adrian! .. Do yourself a favour! Ron, (Kagemusha). Has replied to you.;)

    Knock out a PM, to him, and all your question's will be answered as regarding the use of oil paint. :D(y) ...

    Regards,

    Mark.
    Ferris likes this.
  13. Carlos Figure Art Active Member

    Adrian when I lay down the first oil base coat I tend to use as large a brush as I can, so with a bust and 16th scale I tend to use the smallest filberts I have, they are around 5mm wide Up to about 10mm, 35th scale I just use my series 7 minis no 2,3's. It does help using larger brushes at this stage to achieve a smooth base, but for me, the points mentioned earlier contribute more to a smooth finish. Once I start the wet on dry stages, adding in more lights and shade I use smaller brushes, but never really use anything smaller than a number One.
    Ferris, Claude Portsmouth and Eludia like this.
  14. Ferris A Fixture

    Marc, Mark, Ron and Carlos. Thanks for your advice, once again. It's really helpful. I will be giving oils a re-try using your pointers.

    Cheers,
    Adrian
  15. theBaron A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    It would be helpful, though, too, for questions and replies to be posted here for the rest of us to see. I'm always looking for tips, hints, advice, as I travel along the path ;)

    Prost!
    Brad
    Funky50, Eludia and Fokionas like this.
  16. Tubby-Nuts2 A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Brad,;)
    This aspect of painting has been covered 'many a time', and usually with controversial and conflicting advice.:rolleyes:

    All I was suggesting was to contact someone, such as (Ron), who has spent 40yrs, using this medium! and who is very clear and informative of it's qualities and pit-falls.

    The whole point of my suggestion, was to minimise any confliction and/or, confusion! .. Ron, has posted many a time on this subject matter .. only for these posts to be lost in the 'ether', that is now PF.

    What use is that?:(;)....

    Regards, as always,

    Mark
  17. kagemusha A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Hi Brad.....in response to your points....and Marks explanation....it would be difficult to condense and post the wealth of knowledge and experience I, and many other long term users of oils we have on this site, have garnered over the years.
    I personally use oils very differently to most....which is why I posted the link to my technique....which you are welcome to follow.
    I will be happy to try and answer any questions that you or others may have.

    Regards

    Ron
  18. theBaron A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    I'm not saying you're wrong in your advice; of course, Adrian can contact him directly. I'm merely pointing out that it can't hurt to continue the discussion in this thread, too.

    Prost!
    Brad
    Funky50 likes this.
  19. Ferris A Fixture

    Thanks again for the link to your how-to Ron, but I actually did remember your thread....so no worries Mark (and Ron), it's not lost in the ether! :)

    Hi Brad, I also like to read/study such discussions, even if they take place repeatedly. There's always something new in them, to me at least, and I think they form the essence of a forum such as PF. We can go to magazines to look at other people's beautifully painted figures, but for discussions we can only go to a forum such as this.

    Thanks for the support guys!

    Adrian
    theBaron and Funky50 like this.

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