Too Fat!

I have been working on my oil painting collection and I thought I would share a little known method for making your oil paintings better, and more permanent. Modern oil paints suffer from an over abundance of oil in the paint, and this causes problems - widely varying drying times, yellowing, wrinkling, cracking,... When I learn of oil painters thinning their paints with even more oil,... Ahhhh!

The Old Masters like Leonardo Da Vinci did not use straight oil paint as we do but created a mixture of drying oil (linseed or walnut) and a resin to mix with the pigments - a resin/oil paint. This type of paint has more even drying times and so makes cracking less likely, it dries clearer for more vibrant colors, and is less yellowing over time.  As far as I know Schmincke Mussini paints are the only modern paints made using this method.

Most of us don't have the skill and experience required to make our own resin/oil paints from scratch, and the Schmincke paints are very expensive and hard to find.  So I have a trick that I use that is an excellent way to make your regular oil paints better.  

I use several different brands of high quality professional paints and here's what I do with with each color before I start painting:  I let them sit on an absorbent towel or paper for a few minutes so that some of the oil is soaked up. 


You can see in the above image that the oil has indeed soaked thru the paper towel.  I then transfer this 'lean' paint to my palette and replace that oil with some good quality alkyd medium.  Voila!  A simple way to make resin/oil paints that will give you much better results, and more permanence, for your creations.  

The paintings of the Old Masters have endured for us to appreciate because they understood the properties of their materials and how to use them to ensure that their art would last.  It is also worth noting that we have easy access to very high quality paints and mediums that are much better in many ways than those used by the Old Masters.  So let's make sure we get it right so future generations will be able to enjoy our work as well.