Friday, July 20, 2007

Drying Times

Bands of Color, 2007, Oil on Panel, 30x40

Jayne asked me a question about whether my paintings are wet when I send them out and also about using varnish. So here is my very wordy answer to her quick question in the comments of my last post. Poor girl!

Most of the time I like to work fast. So over the past few years I have developed a manner of painting that facilitates that need I have, but is flexible enough to allow to plan and consider detail, which is another aspect of how I like to work.

And my one of my limitations right now is that, for the most part, I can only work during the day. Since I have always liked to work with glazes it was fairly easy to accommodate that sort of schedule, with just a few adjustments.

So to start with, I use oil paint straight from the tube, and in forming the image I end up wiping most of it off, so it is a pretty thin base. After having a lot of difficulties with the drying times at this stage (read here), I found that Gamblin paints dry faster and since they have a color that I like for the underpainting, I was able to switch over. It takes about two days for the underpainting to dry, so I usually do them on Fridays and then they are ready to go by Monday.

The rest of the color layers are mixed with liquin, and they generally dry overnight. Unless I do a thicker, more opaque layer. And there are a few colors and/or brands of paint that take longer to dry. But for the most part I paint a a layer or so on each painting each day. Which is why I paint in batches. By the end of a week or so, I have anywhere from one to a dozen paintings finished. Depending on scale of course. And my energy level. Heh.

Anyway, when I am finished with the color glazes, the surface has some spots that are shinier that others, because in some areas I use Liquin more than in other areas. So to even it out I brush a clear coat over the entire surface. This is not really for use as protection the way varnish is, it just evens out the dull spots and also brings out the color. A more matte finish would make the paintings look entirely different.

I have read conflicting opinions about using liquin as a varnish in some of the artist forums. But personally, I have always used it as a last coat (except for some experimenting in college) and have never had any problems with it. The pieces that I coated with Liquin 20 years ago in college, still look great (well except for a few dings from being stored poorly in garages, attics and barns over the years, but that's a whole different issue). I can rework the painting if I want to or repair it if necessary, without having to remove and then reapply varnish. The last coat dries overnight, although if I am going to pack it up for shipping, I try to wait at least a few days.

I know that most painters apply varnish, but I have to say that having to do that might be a deal breaker for me! I am way too lazy to deal with varnish. Guess that could be considered another one of my limitations. Heh.


GiselleG said...

Hi Tracy!
It's great to hear about your process. I am a huge fan of liquin as well. I love playing around with mediums, and will try out various things, but liquin I always come back to. I also prefer it because I paint out of my house right now, and I don't want stinky fumes in my house with two young children at home. You don't need solvents to work with it, or clean up. And I love that drying time.

Now I have a technical question for you...
how do you photograph your pieces for your blog? Do you just take them with a digital camera and then crop them and post them online? Do you use natural light in which to photograph them, or studio lights? Do you also take slides of your work, via a manual camera?

I usually have a photographer friend do slides for me, but have just been scanning in small paintings to post online. I haven't been happy with the quality of digital images of the larger pieces to post. I'm just curious about how you do it!

And Gamblin paints are great! Buttery consistency, good color. Yum! I have to say that my big indulgence is an occasional tube of Old Holland paint. Some of their colors are gorgeous.

drips of paint said...

hi tracy...

such good explanation...enjoy you process...nice to know that liquin gave you no problem even 20 years painting...

my own experience with liquin was limited to 1st I'll bear in mind what I hv learn here from you for the future.

I love the design and color sense of this painting.

I love old holland paint but way way too expensive for me

Jayne Rose said...

Hi Tracy,
Thank you so much for your detailed answer to my question. You are a very generous person.

I have been using water soluble oils for about 10 years now. Probably will never go back to the regular method because I don't have to deal with turp fumes. The consistency of these oils are the same (for me) as the regular oils and I will give Liquin a try with them.

Again, thank you so much for sharing your techniques and family life with us. What a hoot!

Tracy said...

Hi Giselle, I have been planning to write a post one of these days about how I photograph and document my images, so now I have a good reason to do that sooner rather than sometime! I'll do it this week.

And I love Old Holland! I have a few tubes of it and my current favorite blue is violet grey by Old Holland.

Tim, Thanks for the compliment about the painting and I am glad that the liquin info may come in handy for you sometime.

Hi Jayne, you are welcome. Like I said, a good post topic!

Also, you know, I don't use turpentine either. I rinse my brushes in turpenoid natural and then wash them with soap and water. So if you were to use oils again, turp isn't necessary.

Katherine said...

Tracy - great post - very informative and I'm sure of interest to others so I've referenced it in my weekly round-up this Sunday

Tracy said...

Wow, thanks for including me on your weekly round up post again, Katherine. I enjoyed reading Ed's discussion of his palette.