Other whites you
might like to try are decorators' white, which is much cheaper than
either flake, zinc or titanium. It is made from lead, is much coarser
and dries rather quickly. Pure lead white can be bought in lumps from a
builders' supplier and softened to the desired consistency with linseed
oil. This is the purest white you can get, but is much coarser than tube
white and has to be stored carefully otherwise it will harden very
quickly. It has its own qualities which are quite different from the
finer ground tube colors and would be very useful if you liked thick
impasto. It is also cheap in price.
You can also use
undercoat white, the sort used for priming, that comes in tins. It is
quite safe to use, though it is usually thinner in consistency and often
dries matt so that the result has a tempera finish. Undercoat dries
quickest of all. Paintings done this way are often referred to as
If you want to try
out a tin of white but find it too thin, leave the lid off for a few
days. It will soon thicken. There may be a skin or deposit of oil on
top. Pour this off and you will find that the paint underneath is quite
good to paint with.
A good white should
be pleasant to handle. It should not behave like toothpaste or crumble
like cream cheese. Try out as many kinds of white as you can lay hands
on until you find one with all the good qualities: opacity, consistency,
good in mixtures and nice to handle. And it should dry well too. A white
that stays wet too long is not a good white.
Oil Paint Handling Tips:
Because of its nature, oil paint isn't so easily removed as watercolor.
Have plenty of clean rags handy. Wear an overall, smock or an old shirt.
If you aren't able to have a studio or room set aside just for painting
in, and have to use the living room or a bedroom, protect the floors
with newspaper and cover up any furniture near by.
paint tubes should always have their tops on,
otherwise they will harden and spoil.
arrange oil paints on your palette in the same order so that you'll
eventually be able to pick up a color without looking at your palette.
before mixing. Choose which color/hue to mix, then decide exactly which
colors to use. Avoid poking into several colors on the palette. Start
with the lighter color, using a palette knife to scoop a generous
amount, then add the other color. Mix and add from here, keeping the
mix in one place with a brush without spreading too far out on the
palette. For brighter, cleaner mixtures, mix with a knife.
containing lead, cobalt, and manganese accelerate the drying process.
You can mix them with other colors to speed up drying. They are
absolutely ideal for under layers.
mixing mud! 2-3 colors + white, or 3+ colors = mud. Aim to use 2
colors, rinsing brush in between picking colors, then wiping blade with
paper towel or paint rag.
Black dries much slower than other oil paints, so avoid using it for an
under-painting or sketch.
using linseed oil in whites and blues as it has a marked tendency to
yellow when used with light colours. Poppy oil is recommended for use
with light colours as it has the least tendency to yellow. The only
disadvantage with poppy oil is that it does dry slower.
proportion of oil should be increased for each subsequent layer in an
oil painting. As the lower layers absorb oil from the layers on top of
them, the upper layers can crack if they dry faster than the lower ones.
linseed oil for an under-painting or in the bottom layers of any layered
oil painting, as it dries the most thoroughly of all the oils.
paintings should not be dried in the dark. This can cause a thin film of
oil to rise to the surface, thereby yellowing it. A yellowed surface can
sometimes be removed by exposure to bright daylight.
Cleaning away a layer of oil paint or oil varnish can be done using
alcohol, which is a powerful solvent.
paint on your palette forms a lot of wrinkles when it dries, you have
added too much oil.
test whether a bottle of white spirits or mineral turps is suitable for
oil painting, put a small quantity on a piece of paper and allow it to
evaporate. If there is no residue, stain, or smell once dry, it should
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