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catintraining
01-17-2007, 02:59 PM
Help.

I'm new to oil painting, and I'm doing it on my own. I've got a selection of Winton oil paints and Bob Ross paints. So here are my questions:

1. What are some good books to consult?
2. Are the Winton oil paints really reliable? Are they as good as or better than the Bob Ross paints? I realize since I'm new, I'm not really ready for the artist's oil paints by Winsor and Newton or Gamblin, but are they really worth the extra money for a beginner?
3. What is the best non-toxic way to clean the oil paint from the brushes? Do I use thinners like Gamsol or Natural Turpenoid, or would just using baby oil suffice? I've been surfing around, and I read that some artists like to use baby oil to clean the oil paint from their brushes. But, doesn't the baby oil ruin the ferule of the brush? And, does baby oil really get the paint out? When I think about it, a few of the paints I have are not listed as non-toxic--not that I'm planning on ingesting them--so would it even be worth it to want to go the non-toxic route. Perhaps it would be better to just use Gamsol thinner.
4. Does baby oil really thin the oil paint as well as odorless thinners like Gamsol, or would I just be creating a mess on the canvas?
5. Is it best to paint with a medium, or to just wait the requisite number of days for a layer of paint to dry? What are the best mediums for oil painting? For example, which medium is better: Galkyd Lite and the other Gamblin mediums, or the Liquin brand of mediums? Can I use the Gamblin mediums with Winton Oil and Bob Ross paints? Can I use the Liquin mediums with the Bob Ross paints?

The reason I'm asking about the non-toxic way to clean is because I have an inquisitive cat who may want to express her inner cat on canvas. I don't want to poison her or myself with harmful fumes from thinners and mediums.

Okay. Can you tell I don't know what I'm doing?

Any help would be appreciated.

catintraining
01-17-2007, 03:33 PM
Hey mods,

I hope I posted this question in the correct forum. I wasn't sure if it should be Cafe Society or this. If I didn't post it in the correct forum, would you please move it?

Thanks.

mnemosyne
01-17-2007, 05:16 PM
Oooh, can I tack on a few questions too?

My mom wants me to "start oil painting again" seeing as once, in 1987, when I was 6 years old, I painted something she really liked as part of an art class I took every Saturday.

So she bought me paints and some canvas and some brushes, but I really don't know where to start and I feel stupid about it. I have a book that covers mixing colours and perspective and the techniques like that (and I know some basics), but none of the actual practical stuff.

So...

I plop some different colours onto my palette and I want to start mixing. What do I USE? The spatula, or a brush? How do I clean my brush off between colours if I want to use the same brush without either washing it entirely and waiting for it to dry, or smudging colours with what I had before? I know oils take a long time to dry, but roughly how much can I paint in one day (I'm a total beginner, remember, so what I'd want to paint is largely trial and error, no great chef d'oeuvre!)

I don't even know how to use the mediums... how to you mix those in? I forget what type the two small bottles I have are, but they don't seem like they'd be something to pour onto the palette... you do dip your brush in, grab some paint, then start applying it to canvas?

Clearly I need to take a class at some point, but seeing as I have no money to spare right now, that won't happen!

And everyone, please, answer the OP's questions first... I don't want to hijack this thread, but seeing it made me think that I've been meaning to ask!

Thanks!

Miss Purl McKnittington
01-17-2007, 07:59 PM
The reason I'm asking about the non-toxic way to clean is because I have an inquisitive cat who may want to express her inner cat on canvas. I don't want to poison her or myself with harmful fumes from thinners and mediums.


I reported your post to have it moved, since I think you'll get better results if it's in CS, and you're really asking for opinions, not factual answers.

I really can' t help you with your more specific questions, since I've only ever painted with acrylic, but it's best to keep kitties away from your workspace. Cat hair gets in the paint, they lick canvases, and trying to clean paint out of cat fur is damn near impossible, however charming your cat may think his blue period is.

mnemosyne, it's best to use the palette knife to mix paints, since you can mess up your brushes if you use them roughly and get too much paint against the ferrule. Multiple brushes are best, too, but you can keep a little jar of paint thinner to clean your brush and a jar of water to rinse, if you like.

garygnu
01-17-2007, 08:48 PM
1. What are some good books to consult?
In no particular order:
Fill Your Oil Paintings with Light & Color (http://www.amazon.com/Fill-Your-Paintings-Light-Color/dp/1581800533/sr=8-12/qid=1169086980/ref=pd_bbs_sr_12/102-5260455-1196922?ie=UTF8&s=books)
The Oil Painting Book (http://www.amazon.com/Oil-Painting-Book-Techniques-Watson-Guptill/dp/0823032744/sr=8-6/qid=1169086980/ref=pd_bbs_sr_6/102-5260455-1196922?ie=UTF8&s=books)
Problem Solving for Oil Painters (http://www.amazon.com/Problem-Solving-Oil-Painters-Recognizing/dp/0823040976/sr=8-5/qid=1169086980/ref=pd_bbs_sr_5/102-5260455-1196922?ie=UTF8&s=books)

**Go to a real art supply store and browse the book selection and talk to the person/people who work there that use oils about the books and the rest of your questions.**

2. Are the Winton oil paints really reliable? Are they as good as or better than the Bob Ross paints? I realize since I'm new, I'm not really ready for the artist's oil paints by Winsor and Newton or Gamblin, but are they really worth the extra money for a beginner?
Wintons are OK. It's a good student grade, but a student grade nonetheless. The art store I worked at (for 8 years) didn't sell Bob Ross paints, so I can't comment.
Gamblin is really good, and really, really good for the price. Winsor & Newton Artist Oil Colours are probably not worth it for you, especially the really exensive colors. Artist grade paints don't have any filler, and the oil-to-pigment mix is stronger. It's less a problem than with watercolors, but cheap paint can be difficult and frustrating to work with.
3. What is the best non-toxic way to clean the oil paint from the brushes? Do I use thinners like Gamsol or Natural Turpenoid, or would just using baby oil suffice? I've been surfing around, and I read that some artists like to use baby oil to clean the oil paint from their brushes. But, doesn't the baby oil ruin the ferule of the brush? And, does baby oil really get the paint out? When I think about it, a few of the paints I have are not listed as non-toxic--not that I'm planning on ingesting them--so would it even be worth it to want to go the non-toxic route. Perhaps it would be better to just use Gamsol thinner.
I recommend using Gamsol or Turpenoid (not Turpenoid Natural, it's no more than a brush cleaner). You can use baby oil if you want, but you must remove as much paint as possible from the brush with a painting knife and/or paper towels, and clean the brush afterward with soapy water.
Consider trying water-soluble oil paints like Winsor & Newton's Artisan line. Don't let anyone tell you they're not real oils, they are, and underpriced at that.
4. Does baby oil really thin the oil paint as well as odorless thinners like Gamsol, or would I just be creating a mess on the canvas?
I woudn't use baby oil as a painting medium or thinner for the actual painting itself.
5. Is it best to paint with a medium, or to just wait the requisite number of days for a layer of paint to dry? What are the best mediums for oil painting? For example, which medium is better: Galkyd Lite and the other Gamblin mediums, or the Liquin brand of mediums? Can I use the Gamblin mediums with Winton Oil and Bob Ross paints? Can I use the Liquin mediums with the Bob Ross paints?

Best is, of course, a personal preference. Colleagues have endorsed Liquin strongly, and one really liked Galkyd. Try a variety and find one you like the feel of. Gamblin makes a chart that details their line and each product's working properties; Winsor & Newton has something similar. Oil mediums should all work with all oil paints regardless of brand. (Regular oil mediums can be mixed with water-soluble paints and stay water-soluble if under 30% of the mixture. Even with water-soluble oils, don't use water as a medium.)
For fun and something different, try impasto medium or wax medium from Dorland or Gamblin.

TimeWinder
01-17-2007, 09:54 PM
Sorry I'm late, day job got in the way. garygnu covered a lot of this ground, though.

I'm a big fan of water-soluble (or water-miscible, same thing) oil paints. They're true oils with a "soap" molecule bound in, which makes them clean in plain water. Unlike an acrylic, though, they don't have water as an essential component, and aside from the extra molecule, these are true oil paints, and work like them. There are several brands, and I haven't found any that I don't like (you can mix and match for colors).

You can thin these with water up to about 30-40% (and I do). If you want to thin more than that, you'll need to use some sort of conventional (odorless, probably) thinner. Even so, changing from traditional oils to water-miscible ones lowered my consumption of thinner from a few cups per painting down to a few tablespoons worth.

Definitely go with non-toxics: they usually have an "AP" or "Non-Toxic" seal on them. This is serious stuff: painters die of cancer at rates well over the general population. If you have to go to stuff not explicitly labelled non-toxic, avoid things with cadmium, lead, and other heavy metals in ingedients (they'll be listed). Note that "Hue" in the name usually means a non-toxic reformulation even if the name still contains the heavy metal: "Cadmium Orange Hue" likely contains no cadmium.

You don't want to get a cat near oil paint. Trust me on this.

Some other tips: Oils take literally months to "dry" (oxidize, really). Don't cover or varnish them for a year after you paint and you should be OK. This long wetness period is one of the advantages of the medium--it allows you to adjust colors on the canvas, without having to mix every little thing.

Mix the mediums in with the painting knife. Different mediums use different mix ratios, but start at about half of what you think the smallest reasonable amount is -- especially with impasto (thickening) agents.

Brush cleaning was the hardest thing for me to learn. The trick, as
garygnu mentioned, is to use the liquid as the last step -- clean the brush first with paper towels or toilet paper, until it's as clean as you can get it. Then use the water (or thinner if you're using traditional oils): swish it against the edge of the container, wipe on a paper towel, and keep repeating until you don't see any color except the stain of the water itself. I usually replace the water after 5-6 cleanings: I keep a small "washing" basin, a tub of fresh water to refill it from, and a second tub to dump it out into (ice cream buckets work well for this, as do those heavy plastic buckets from generic cat litter).

Keep still another small container of liquid for thinning; don't thin with your cleaning liquid (especially white).

There's a sort of art snobbery against Bob Ross techniques, but frankly, it's how I got started, and it's a good way to get comfortable with the canvas and paints. Plus, he's on PBS all the time, so you can always get a lesson. Once you're over the "gosh it's hard to get started" hurdle, you'll be able to evaluate books much more easily. The "Fill your Oil Paintings with Light & Color" book is a classic, and I like "All About Techniques in Oil" because it's full of basics, but honestly I haven't found a bad book.

Rico
01-17-2007, 10:42 PM
<mod>

Canvassing the mods, we oil think this should be artfully and turpen-timely moved to Cafe Society.

:D

</mod>

catintraining
01-18-2007, 04:32 PM
mnemosyne, I appreciate your question since I don't know anything about painting. I think you can get palette cups to put the mediums in. I use the palette knife to dip a little medium into the paint on the palette. Timewinder's response make sense. Since I'm new to painting, I'm not sure how much you can paint in a day. Oil paints, depending on what color and and what they contain take from 2-12 days to dry. Adding mediums like Liquin or Galkyd speeds up the drying time so that the first layer of paint dries in 24 hours. I believe the water-based oil paint dry faster than regular oil paint. Break a leg painting.

Miss Purl McKnittington, thank you for contacting the mods.

Rico, thank you for moving the thread.

garygnu & Timewinder, thank you for your helpful comments. I was wondering about the Winton Oil paints because on one website I heard people saying that they've successfully substituted the Winton Oil paints for the Bob Ross paints. They're cheaper and in some instances with the stronger colors like Prussian Blue easier to work with than the Artist Oil grade of paint.

Thank you for clarifying the AP and hue designations. I had wondered about those. I've read that cadmium and lead based paints are toxic so I want to avoid them.

The tip on how to clean brushes was very helpful too, and I'll check out the books you reccommended.



I would like a little clarification on a few more questions if you or other people could provide it.

1. Please specify why cheap paints are so difficult to work with. What's wrong with student oil paints? The Winton Oil paints have the same lightfastness rating as the Winsor and Newton Artists Oil colors. Are you saying that the Winton Oils will fade after awhile, or are you saying that they are more difficult to mix and get true shades and tints because they have more filler in them?

2. Can I recycle canvases? For example, if after I've covered a canvas with the student grade of oil paints and I don't like my first effort and that painting dries in one year, can I paint over that canvas? Would I have to varnish it first, then apply several new coats of gesso over the dried painting and then start a new painting? Will the varnish and new coat of gesso seal the oil paint beneath it so that the new painting won't leak into the old painting? I hope that question makes sense?

3. I'm not sure about working with the water based oil paints because doesn't water ruin your paint brushes? I've read consistently that it's not good to wash the brushes with soap and water because that ruins the brush and messes up the ferrule. People recommend cleaning brushes with either thinner or baby oil.

4. Are the Griffin Alkyd Water-based Oil paints Artist Grade or student grade?

Other people who have oil painting questions, please don't hesitate to join in the discussion. It helps me learn since I'm not sure what questions to ask half the time.

Also, if other people want to share their oil painting experiences, that's fine too.

garygnu
01-18-2007, 05:39 PM
1. Please specify why cheap paints are so difficult to work with. What's wrong with student oil paints? The Winton Oil paints have the same lightfastness rating as the Winsor and Newton Artists Oil colors. Are you saying that the Winton Oils will fade after awhile, or are you saying that they are more difficult to mix and get true shades and tints because they have more filler in them?

The ratio of pigment (the color itself, which is the expensive part) to oil is lower, so you get weaker hues compared to artist grade, which usually uses the lowest possible mixture of oil for a given pigment. On top of that you get filler, the combination can lead to poor working properties like streaking, gummyness, etc. This is less of a problem with cheap pigments like siennas and umbers.
2. Can I recycle canvases? For example, if after I've covered a canvas with the student grade of oil paints and I don't like my first effort and that painting dries in one year, can I paint over that canvas? Would I have to varnish it first, then apply several new coats of gesso over the dried painting and then start a new painting? Will the varnish and new coat of gesso seal the oil paint beneath it so that the new painting won't leak into the old painting? I hope that question makes sense?

I've "recycled" acrylic painted canvas, but oil would make a fresh coat of gesso stick poorly. Canvas isn't all that expensive, though. If you want, you can gesso the back side and paint on that.

3. I'm not sure about working with the water based oil paints because doesn't water ruin your paint brushes? I've read consistently that it's not good to wash the brushes with soap and water because that ruins the brush and messes up the ferrule. People recommend cleaning brushes with either thinner or baby oil.

Acrylics and watercolor paints are cleaned with soap and water, and there's nothing different about the glue in the ferrule. The best advice is to make sure you don't get paint so far up the bristles as to touch the ferrule. I personally wreck my brushes when I paint, so damaging them while cleaning them is their least worry.

4. Are the Griffin Alkyd Water-based Oil paints Artist Grade or student grade?

The Girffin line are alkyds, and they're not water-soluble. You still need a thinner to clean them. They are artist grade, but not quite as nice as the Artists' Oil Colours. My father liked them and used them with good results. Alkyds dry faster than oils, in days rather than weeks and months, but not so fast as acrylics (minutes to hours).

catintraining
01-24-2007, 01:15 PM
garygnu, thanks for your response. Very helpful again. :D

Okay, I've been looking around at water miscible oil paints, and I've found 2 that might be possibilities: Winsor and Newton Artisan and Holbein Aqua Duo.

I have a few questions about these if you or TimeWinder or anyone else can help:

1. From what I've heard, even though the Artisan paints like Cad Red Hue say they're AP Nontoxic, someone volunteered the information that this paint still has Cadmium in it. Is that true? If so, why is it labelled AP Nontoxic?

2. What does AP and CL mean? I figured CL means "Contains Lead."

3. Does AP alone mean the paint is Nontoxic, or does it have to say AP Nontoxic? Some of the Bob Ross paints say AP on them, but none say Nontoxic.

4. For the Artisan Titanium White paint, it says that it contains lead. How do I go about washing the paint out of the brush with soap and water, then? Will wearing rubber gloves suffice? Also, I'd be washing the paint out of the brushes in a sink I use to wash dishes and things? Is this safe?

5. Are there other water miscible White paints that have no lead or other toxic stuff in them that I can substitute for the Artisan Titanium White and use with the Artisan paints?

6. For the Holbein Aqua Duo paints, it says that the paints dry within 24 hours? Is that correct for all of the paints? I know that usually the paints dry at different rates depending on what's in them. But since there's this whole water thing, I'm not sure.

7. If I wanted to do an impasto effect with the Holbein Aqua Duo paints, can I use the Artisan Impasto medium, or do I use the Galkyd gel or the Liquin Impasto stuff? I think I can just use water to thin the Holbein Aqua Duo paint to do fine detail, or I can add some oil to it. Can I use the Artisan formulated stand oil to think the Holbein Aqua Duo paints?

8. Someone also told me that the Holbein Aqua Duo paints have no toxic stuff in them. The paints say "no health label needed" on them. I'm just double checking on this because the whole AP Nontoxic stuff with the Artisan paints was so confusing. Are the Holbein paints completely Nontoxic? Again, I'm not going to eat the paint, but I do have a very nosy cat who may try to.

I do hope this thread is helping to educate people about oil paints. As much as I love the Joy of Painting shows, I think I'm a little upset with the Bob Ross franchise at this point. Ross made oil painting seem like it'd be so easy, and perhaps it is once you can figure out all this stuff about how not to poison oneself and one's pets, but I never knew I'd need to get a degree in chemistry before I could paint! :D

catintraining
01-24-2007, 01:21 PM
Oh, one more question.

Can I mix the Artisan paints with the Holbein Aqua Duo? For example, can I use the Holbein Aqua Duo white to make a lighter tint of the Artisan yellow paint? Or, can I paint one layer with the Artisan paints, use the Artisan painting medium to speed the drying time--how much does the Artisan painting medium speed up the drying time of the Artisan paint?--and then when that layer dries, paint the next layer with the Holbein Aqua Duo paints?

garygnu
01-24-2007, 03:37 PM
garygnu, thanks for your response. Very helpful again. :D ...
You're welcome. It's one of my few areas of expertise.

1. From what I've heard, even though the Artisan paints like Cad Red Hue say they're AP Nontoxic, someone volunteered the information that this paint still has Cadmium in it. Is that true? If so, why is it labelled AP Nontoxic?
A paint labeled "Cad Red Hue" is unlikely to contain actual cadmium because the "Hue" as used here is a mix of cheaper pigments to get close to the real thing's hue (meaning color tone and saturation). To be sure, look for the color index number. Cadmium Red is "PR113" or "PR108." Here (http://www.rexart.com/colorindex.html) is a very good list of pigments and their numbers, but most labels now include the names after the numbers in very small print on the back side of the label.

2. What does AP and CL mean? I figured CL means "Contains Lead."
3. Does AP alone mean the paint is Nontoxic, or does it have to say AP Nontoxic? Some of the Bob Ross paints say AP on them, but none say Nontoxic.
This (http://www.dickblick.com/customerservice/healthsafety/) explains health and safety labels on paint. "CL" stands for "Caution Label." I'm not sure what AP stands for, but it means it's non-toxic. Even CL labeled stuff can be handled in a way that is safe (i.e. don't eat it), but I understand if extra precautions need to be made due to your cat.

4. For the Artisan Titanium White paint, it says that it contains lead. How do I go about washing the paint out of the brush with soap and water, then? Will wearing rubber gloves suffice? Also, I'd be washing the paint out of the brushes in a sink I use to wash dishes and things? Is this safe?
5. Are there other water miscible White paints that have no lead or other toxic stuff in them that I can substitute for the Artisan Titanium White and use with the Artisan paints?
I've never been sure why lead is added to W&N oil Titanium Whites. The Holbein Duo and Van Gogh H2Oil Titanium Whites both appear to be only PW6 Titanium Dioxide. Try those. If it makes you feel better, the lead content in W&N's stuff is small and supposedly non-soluble.

6. For the Holbein Aqua Duo paints, it says that the paints dry within 24 hours? Is that correct for all of the paints? I know that usually the paints dry at different rates depending on what's in them. But since there's this whole water thing, I'm not sure.
I only see that description on the Holbein stuff. I know Artisan dries just a bit faster than traditional oils, but not anywhere near that fast. Holbien may have mixed some alkyd in to speed up drying time, but I don't know.

7. If I wanted to do an impasto effect with the Holbein Aqua Duo paints, can I use the Artisan Impasto medium, or do I use the Galkyd gel or the Liquin Impasto stuff? I think I can just use water to thin the Holbein Aqua Duo paint to do fine detail, or I can add some oil to it. Can I use the Artisan formulated stand oil to think the Holbein Aqua Duo paints?
This one I'm not entirely sure about, but it all should work together. The water-mixable part is the same, and differences in drying times should even out if mixed together properly.

8. Someone also told me that the Holbein Aqua Duo paints have no toxic stuff in them. The paints say "no health label needed" on them. I'm just double checking on this because the whole AP Nontoxic stuff with the Artisan paints was so confusing. Are the Holbein paints completely Nontoxic? Again, I'm not going to eat the paint, but I do have a very nosy cat who may try to.
None of the Duo colors have anything but the AP label, so it all should be safe. Same with Van Gogh H2Oils.

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