It's now a couple of months since I've started oil painting.

I've noticed a distinct difference in the reflective qualities of different areas of the canvases as they are drying. Some parts are sunken and matte, others still retain their sheen.

One canvas I worked on over four days has kept a brilliant gloss. The difference? I covered the surface with a fine layer of painting medium before I started each day.

I have heard that one should 'oil out' a canvas when you are finished, if the surface shows signs of 'sinking'.

My questions are:

How do you do this?

How long after you are finished should you do it?

What medium do you use?

Should you do it to all your canvases, whether or not they show signs of 'sinking'? 

Any comments and answers will be much appreciated. 

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Hi Michael.

I can't help with oiling out, as that is not something I ever did when I painted with oils. The differences in sheen occur because of different pigments. I can't remember what colours do what, but they do behave differently. As you said some will retain a sheen while others hava a matte appearence when dry. What medium you use and how much also affects the sheen. My solution to these differences was simply to varnish the painting after I had given it time, (a few months), to dry completely.

Thanks, Richard, for your input.

Oiling out seems to be something that not many people do... But then again, because it is a process that happens after the painting is complete, so maybe they do it but they don't talk about it in the 'how-to' videos I've seen on the Internet.

I was also thinking about people who sell their work. Do they wait until a work is dry (six months), before they can varnish it and put it on the market, or do they sell as soon as it's touch dry and hope the buyer looks after the piece?

I think we are all just excited to get onto the next painting, and we don't think too much about what happens when we are done. :)

By the way, you're Rockscape and other paintings were very encouraging for me to get into the little acrylic rock landscape I did. Thanks!

Yes, Michael, varnish is the answer. You can go as glossy or matte or in-between as you wish! Not only does it even out the glossiness of the pigments, but it brings back some of the vibrancy lost due to drying. Just be patient and let the work dry completely! :-)

Thank you, Darya, for commenting.

I'm looking forward to seeing what the paintings look like after six months, and then varnishing. The vibrancy of the colours is important. I'll be patient. :-)

Just got this email, thought the content might be beneficial to others as well, and relates to your question, Michael.

Carolyn B,

(Via "Artists network)

Making Art: Oils, by Ed Brickler

In preparation for varnishing, place the painting on a flat, dust-free surface in a well-ventilated area. ~EB

You may or may not know that after creating an oil painting, you must varnish it. In his book Making Art, which covers a variety of media for those who want to expand their knowledge, Ed Brickler explains the reason for varnishing, the two types of varnishes, and shares which type he prefers. 

 

It's necessary to varnish an oil painting in order to protect the paint film. Since resin is the essential ingredient of a varnish, it's more convenient to purchase a varnish than to make your own. There are traditional varnishes made with traditional resins, the most common of which is damar. There are also modern varnishes made with modern resins.

 

Modern varnishes are also called picture varnishes, but there are many proprietary names when it comes to varnishes. The best way to distinguish between traditional and modern formulas is to check the label. If mineral spirits or petroleum distillate are listed in the ingredients, then it's a modern or picture varnish. I prefer modern varnishes because they don't yellow or become brittle, and they're removable with mineral spirits.

 

The first varnish that should be applied to an oil painting is the retouch varnish. Retouch is a traditional varnish that has a lot of solvent and a little bit of damar resin. It's applied as soon as the oil color is dry to the touch. It's meant to protect the painting and bring all the colors up to an even sheen. Retouch varnish can also be used between the layers of a painting.

 

After six to twelve months, depending on the thickness of the paint film, a final varnish will need to be applied. A final varnish is also a mixture of a resin diluted in a solvent, but it's much more concentrated than a retouch varnish.

 

Best Practices for Varnishing

• When using any type of matte varnish, make sure the varnish is at room temperature. Otherwise it could bloom, causing shiny and dull spots on your painting.

• Varnishes are also available in spray form. When using a spray varnish, lay the painting flat in a dust-free and well-ventilated area. To prevent puddles and runs, apply a light coat in one direction. Let that dry and then apply another light coat in the other direction.

• A final varnish should always be removable so that a painting can be cleaned or restored later on.

Thanks Carolyn,

This is an in-depth answer. I will follow this suggested route on a test painting. We live in a particularly dusty environment, so this should help.

But, I still need to know about 'oiling out'. It's more wanting to understand the differences, and, I guess, wanting to know what others do.

As far as varnishing is concerned, the idea to use Retouch Varnish as a first coat is interesting. The issue there is that it becomes a part of the paint surface. I'm concerned by the writer's use of the word 'should', in the sense that it is an imperative to use Retouch Varnish when as soon as your painting is dry to the touch. That worries me.

Anyway, I suppose that I shouldn't be too precious about this. 



Carolyn Brunsdon said:

Just got this email, thought the content might be beneficial to others as well, and relates to your question, Michael.

Carolyn B,

(Via "Artists network)

Making Art: Oils, by Ed Brickler

In preparation for varnishing, place the painting on a flat, dust-free surface in a well-ventilated area. ~EB

You may or may not know that after creating an oil painting, you must varnish it. In his book Making Art, which covers a variety of media for those who want to expand their knowledge, Ed Brickler explains the reason for varnishing, the two types of varnishes, and shares which type he prefers. 

 

It's necessary to varnish an oil painting in order to protect the paint film. Since resin is the essential ingredient of a varnish, it's more convenient to purchase a varnish than to make your own. There are traditional varnishes made with traditional resins, the most common of which is damar. There are also modern varnishes made with modern resins.

 

Modern varnishes are also called picture varnishes, but there are many proprietary names when it comes to varnishes. The best way to distinguish between traditional and modern formulas is to check the label. If mineral spirits or petroleum distillate are listed in the ingredients, then it's a modern or picture varnish. I prefer modern varnishes because they don't yellow or become brittle, and they're removable with mineral spirits.

 

The first varnish that should be applied to an oil painting is the retouch varnish. Retouch is a traditional varnish that has a lot of solvent and a little bit of damar resin. It's applied as soon as the oil color is dry to the touch. It's meant to protect the painting and bring all the colors up to an even sheen. Retouch varnish can also be used between the layers of a painting.

 

After six to twelve months, depending on the thickness of the paint film, a final varnish will need to be applied. A final varnish is also a mixture of a resin diluted in a solvent, but it's much more concentrated than a retouch varnish.

 

Best Practices for Varnishing

• When using any type of matte varnish, make sure the varnish is at room temperature. Otherwise it could bloom, causing shiny and dull spots on your painting.

• Varnishes are also available in spray form. When using a spray varnish, lay the painting flat in a dust-free and well-ventilated area. To prevent puddles and runs, apply a light coat in one direction. Let that dry and then apply another light coat in the other direction.

• A final varnish should always be removable so that a painting can be cleaned or restored later on.

See if this helps on both the question of Retouch Varnish and the oiling out. (This has been helpful for me as well...too long between serious painting sessions, and even then moved on to the next one instead of preparing the finished one properly.

 

Oiling Out to Even the Gloss or Shine on a Painting
"I have a water-mixable oil portrait that won't be ready to varnish for some months yet, but some areas are glossy from glazes and some areas are flat from lack of glazes. Should I try to bring the entire work into the same gloss range by glazing the other areas now?

Or, if I decide to go with a matte varnish rather than a gloss, will it 'kill' the high gloss areas and give the painting the same gloss all around? Alternatively would a gloss varnish give the entire painting the same gloss?" -- Chandler
Answer:
Painting and Technical Advisor for Winsor & Newton, Paul Robinson, says: "What I would advise is that you even out your sheen before varnishing by 'oiling out'. Oiling out is the application of an oil medium to a painting which has sunk (become dull), or lost its oil to the layer underneath. The most common causes for this are an over-absorbent, cheap ground or the use of too much solvent or water and insufficient or no medium.

"When the colour is dry, oil painting medium should be sparingly rubbed into any sunken areas with a clean cloth. As you have used a water mixable oil, I would recommend Artisan Water Mixable Painting Medium which is a water mixable version of the traditional medium. Wipe off any residue and leave to dry for a day or two. If smaller, dull areas remain, repeat the process until the painting has regained an even sheen.

"In general varnishes should not be used for the purpose of recovering the lustre of a dead painting. A decent varnish would still show the difference in sheen from one area to the next."1
If you oil out with just an oil, rather than oil/solvent mixture, it may take a while to dry. Be sparing with it, not to puddle it on your painting.
Gamblin recommends oiling out using "a liberal coating of 1:1 Galkyd Painting Medium and Gamsol Odorless Mineral Spirits to a dry painting"2 to either the whole painting or just an area, leaving this to be absorbed for about two minutes, and then wiping off the excess.
Inserted
from a href="http://painting.about.com/od/oilpaintingfaq/f/oiling-out.htm">http://painting.about.com/od/oilpaintingfaq/f/oiling-out.htm>

And on Retouch Varnish:

Definition:
Retouch varnish is a temporary varnish you can apply to an oil painting when it is touch dry rather than fully dry. Unlike 'normal' or 'final' varnish, retouch varnish allows an oil painting to continue to dry. When the painting is eventually dry, you can apply a final varnish over the retouch varnish (be sure to brush any dust off first!).

Retouch varnish evens out the gloss of a painting, and protects the painting if you want to exhibit or ship it.

Inserted from a href="http://painting.about.com/od/artglossaryr/g/definition-retouch-varnish.htm">http://painting.about.com/od/artglossaryr/g/definition-retouch-varn...>

*My niece is an accomplished artist and she ships her painting after using the Retouch Varnish along with an instructional note as to how to apply the final varnish. Otherwise they have to wait that 6 mo. to a year. (If she has a contact in the area where her client is, she has been known to make arrangements with that fellow artist to complete the varnishing and she reciprocates later down the road.)

Thank you, Carolyn!

This is the definitive answer for me.

Now I have a method to follow. I feel comfortable about oiling out or using the retouch varnish. 

Thanks so much for doing the research.

Carolyn Brunsdon said:

See if this helps on both the question of Retouch Varnish and the oiling out. (This has been helpful for me as well...too long between serious painting sessions, and even then moved on to the next one instead of preparing the finished one properly.

 

Oiling Out to Even the Gloss or Shine on a Painting
"I have a water-mixable oil portrait that won't be ready to varnish for some months yet, but some areas are glossy from glazes and some areas are flat from lack of glazes. Should I try to bring the entire work into the same gloss range by glazing the other areas now?

Or, if I decide to go with a matte varnish rather than a gloss, will it 'kill' the high gloss areas and give the painting the same gloss all around? Alternatively would a gloss varnish give the entire painting the same gloss?" -- Chandler
Answer:
Painting and Technical Advisor for Winsor & Newton, Paul Robinson, says: "What I would advise is that you even out your sheen before varnishing by 'oiling out'. Oiling out is the application of an oil medium to a painting which has sunk (become dull), or lost its oil to the layer underneath. The most common causes for this are an over-absorbent, cheap ground or the use of too much solvent or water and insufficient or no medium.

"When the colour is dry, oil painting medium should be sparingly rubbed into any sunken areas with a clean cloth. As you have used a water mixable oil, I would recommend Artisan Water Mixable Painting Medium which is a water mixable version of the traditional medium. Wipe off any residue and leave to dry for a day or two. If smaller, dull areas remain, repeat the process until the painting has regained an even sheen.

"In general varnishes should not be used for the purpose of recovering the lustre of a dead painting. A decent varnish would still show the difference in sheen from one area to the next."1
If you oil out with just an oil, rather than oil/solvent mixture, it may take a while to dry. Be sparing with it, not to puddle it on your painting.
Gamblin recommends oiling out using "a liberal coating of 1:1 Galkyd Painting Medium and Gamsol Odorless Mineral Spirits to a dry painting"2 to either the whole painting or just an area, leaving this to be absorbed for about two minutes, and then wiping off the excess.
Inserted
from a href="http://painting.about.com/od/oilpaintingfaq/f/oiling-out.htm">http://painting.about.com/od/oilpaintingfaq/f/oiling-out.htm>;

And on Retouch Varnish:

Definition:
Retouch varnish is a temporary varnish you can apply to an oil painting when it is touch dry rather than fully dry. Unlike 'normal' or 'final' varnish, retouch varnish allows an oil painting to continue to dry. When the painting is eventually dry, you can apply a final varnish over the retouch varnish (be sure to brush any dust off first!).

Retouch varnish evens out the gloss of a painting, and protects the painting if you want to exhibit or ship it.

Inserted from a href="http://painting.about.com/od/artglossaryr/g/definition-retouch-varnish.htm">http://painting.about.com/od/artglossaryr/g/definition-retouch-varn...;

*My niece is an accomplished artist and she ships her painting after using the Retouch Varnish along with an instructional note as to how to apply the final varnish. Otherwise they have to wait that 6 mo. to a year. (If she has a contact in the area where her client is, she has been known to make arrangements with that fellow artist to complete the varnishing and she reciprocates later down the road.)

I use LUKAS Oil Painting Mediums - Varnishes which I have bought from JerrysArtarama's Store a year ago. It is a best varnish for Oil painting. It gives a great sheen and gloss to your painting.

My name is Ann Young I use PS for photo restoration works for more than 7 years. I'm a Pro digital artist. I work in professional editing company FixThePhoto since 2013. Earlier I was a freelance photo editor. I like to do everything which is related to photo manipulations, but I prefer portrait editing the most. If you want some more information don't hesitate to write me. 

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