Category Archives: Art Supplies

The Economy Is Tough But There Are Options For Practicing Painting.

Students are always looking for inexpensive ways to practice. Heck, even us older instructors like saving money. These suggestions will save you money…..

Hi Darrell, I am enjoying the art instructional DVDs I purchased from you recently so much! My husband even became interested in painting, although he had never really tried it before. My daughter, who has had a passion for art since she was 2, (she’s 24 now,) is also impressed. She is very much into fine detail, but she tried your technique the other day when she was here, and she had so much fun with it!

Anyways, I was hoping you could answer a question about re-using canvases. I bought some large oil paintings at a garage sale and the paint on one was not thick at all, so I painted over it with white acrylic paint and was hoping to use it for oil painting. Will this work? It could save me some money, since I lost my job and I’m struggling to buy the supplies I need for painting. Thanks. Sue

Hi Sue

There are lots of choices for inexpensive practicing surfaces…. But let me first thank you for your kind words. I’m very touched how your entire family is learning to ‘paint along.’ It’ll be great fun, and yes you all can do this.

You can paint over your old paintings and redo, redo, redo…. Here are some of the many way I’ve practiced

1. Just what you suggested except I used regular paint as opposed to acrylic. Gesso and acrylic will peel off of oils. Now if the canvas is intended only for practice and you don’t want to keep what you paint, then this is an excellent surface to paint on.

2. Canvas Sheets. Your local art stores often sells ‘pads’ of Canvas paper. This is special paper designed to look and feel like canvas. You use them just like canvas. Only I mask tape the canvas paper onto a real canvas. This gives me the touch and feel of canvas without the expense. Paper Canvas Pads comes in various sizes…..I use a 11″x14″ and 16″x20″. Quantities are around 10 to 25 per pad.

3. Masonite boards. A lot of people (including the old masters) paint on these surfaces, and you do lose the ‘bounce’ of canvas. Prime with household paint or acrylic, sand, prime again. You can cut Masonite sheets up to any size you want.

4. Canvas boards. Just like Massonite with the exception these boards’ surfaces have canvas paper glued to them. Now you get the look, but not the feel of canvas. This is very popular for many students, especially when painting with acrylics. If you’re using acrylics, remember the paints always level, so you can cover a painting with white paint or gesso, let dry and you essentially have a new canvas. After 7 coats of practice, I’ll put a final painting on this canvas and then select a new canvas board..

5. The Big Scrapper. I’ll buy a good canvas for practicing and each session when I’m done, I’ll scrape off my practice or painting and wash the surface with Odorless Mineral Spirits on paper towels. But don’t let the painting dry. Remember it’s a practice canvas so scrape it each time when you’re finished painting. Presto ready for me the next time I want to paint. This is by far the cheapest.

When I first started painting I used the big scrapper and then #2 for keeping works. I also bought a lot of canvases. Today I still use the canvas sheets and scrapping.

To come up with lion scenes for our Wildlife Series, I must have painted 15 different lions, lioness and cubs. Painting all of these exceeded $200 on canvas and that’s expensive. I kept my costs down on the studies I did by using canvas papers where I was trying to reduce the time, steps and complexities of certain animal features.

Enjoy….Darrell

Oval Dining Mats For Oval Cutouts

This tip just in from Bernice Lingenfelter ….

I saw the question from one of your students about how to do the oval cutouts which is a problem I was also having. Oval canvases are so expensive I chose to just place an oval inside of the less expensive rectangular canvas. I have a tip that works for me. I buy the oval table mats that one uses at the table under their plates. I buy them in different size ovals. They work great. The only problem is finding them in the sizes you want but if you keep looking it can be done and they can be saved and don’t take up much room. I place the mats onto sheets of sticky back shelf lining paper and trace the outside oval onto my sticky shelf paper and cut out the interior of the oval. Works great for me.

Thank you again for everything. Bernice

PJ Franklin is such a joy to speak with and she sent the following suggestions which has compelled me to quickly send them to you.

Hi Darrell,

I get perfect ovals two ways and both are much cheaper than buying an oval canvas.

1] buy a oval plastic place mat, and trace around it on your contact paper.

2] buy an oval mat used for framing, they come in several different sizes.

Thanks,

PJ Franklin

Wilmington, NC

Frozen Paint Tip From Michelle

Hey Darrell,

I have several sets of your videos also and have been painting for years! When I read your article on how to preserve paints, I just wanted to add,

If you put your pallete of paint you didn’t use (as soon as you are finished with them) take the pallete and put it in the freezer until you are going to use it again.

The paint doesn’t dry out for sometimes weeks. Just a little trivia hope it helps.

Michelle B.

Oil Painting Mediums: Fat Versus Lean!

Darrell, I have three questions on mediums if you could help me?

Betty.

Sure Betty, my answers are below your questions.

I noticed that you can mix your own medium with 20% linseed oil and 80% odorless turpentine (turpenoid?). Would you consider this a Fat medium or a Lean medium.

(This is the fattest medium you can get. One should never use over 20% linseed oil, or it takes many forevers to dry. Lean is less and less linseed oil By adding driers or additives, Cobalt or Japan driers, you can make the medium even leaner.) For commercially available mediums (pre-mixed, store-bought) I prefer the Archival Oils Lean Medium. In fact, I use this quite a bit and especially for flowers, tall ships, portraits, wildlife, still life and increasingly with landscapes and seascapes.

You should use fatter mediums if you will be spending several days working on a single painting and want to keep the paints already on the canvas soft for mixing and blending purposes.

You should use a leaner mediums when its important that your painting be painted in “stages’ and the canvas needs to dry between stages. For example, I paint portraits and wildlife in 3-4 stages. It’s important that my canvas be dry between stages. If I use a fat medium, It could take 1-3 months to complete a painting whereas with a lean medium I can complete this type of painting in 3-4 days.

Liquin in a lean medium, I think; what is Winsor Newton Glazing medium?

I do not use Liquin, but my understanding is its on the fat side taking several days for a painting to dry. Perhaps one of my students may have some input on Liquin. Generally speaking, a glazing medium is pretty lean and its frequently mixed with other materials to make it fatter. For instant, I’ve seen it used in wildlife and portrait paintings to keep paints wet. I’ve frequently used glazing medium to study its abilities for portraits and wildlife portraits, but that was primarily to use up the supply I already had. I am not a great fan of glazing mediums. I found that Glazing medium can get really lumpyt. Where I will use a glazing technique is for finishing wildlife and portraits once they’re completed and dry. While oil painting my preference is for a lean medium.

What are some other Fat mediums besides the Bob Ross’s brand?

The general rule I use is that most oil painting mediums are fat unless specifically marked lean or fast drying.

After publishing the above answers, one of my students, Goldie, added this comment.

I have both the Liquin Fine detail and the Archival Lean mediums….and if I were to compare the two I would say that the way it dries tells me that the Liquin fine detail is “fatter.” It takes almost 3 days to be touch dry whereas the Archival Lean medium dries in one day.

I have not tried the regular Liquin. I guess because I started in Acrylics I like the Archival medium the best. Funny when I do acrylics I kind of hate it when I can’t go fast enough or blend, and then in Oils I get upset when I am in marathon mode and it is not drying fast enough so I can try the next step.

Getting All of The Baby Oil Out Of The Brushes When Cleaning

Question: I use baby oil to help keep my bristles soft on my paint brushes. Is it necessary to run the brush through paint thinner prior to using them the next time I go to paint. A lot of times, my brushes are dry before using them. (in other words the baby oil is dry on the bristles). Is it still necessary to run the brush through the thinner prior to using my brushes?

Darrell’s Answer: If the brush is dry, then use it as is. If you find the baby oil is still in the brush, what I like to do is take a soft absorbent paper towel, like Viva, and dry my brush by scrubbing the brush into the paper towel. IF the brush is soaked and its a large brush like a 1″ or 2″ brush, I’ll first beat them in the brush beater rack. Then I’ll wipe dry the brushes using the paper towel to make sure I’ve gotten the final bit of baby oil out of it. I do not use thinner to clean my brushes anymore.

Paints, Brushes, Old Canvases, Brands ….

Early this afternoon I received the following question from Larry K regarding, paints, brushes and canvases. I thought you all would enjoy hearing the questions and my comments.

Darrell, I bought your Basic Technique series a while back and I am enjoying them very much. I have some questions for you.

1. You say to try and paint every day, but how do you manage your paints? If you leave them out won’t they dry out? If you put them away, it can take longer to put them away then the time you spend painting.

2. How long should an oil painting take to dry

3. I have three canvases that I made an attempt at painting. They are now dry. For practice sake can I put some medium over it?

4. I noticed that you use Bob Ross brushes. Is it necessary to use those 2 and 1 inch brushes or would say a Shipmate bristle brush as well?

Thanks, Larry

Hi Larry,

1. Yes, painting every day helps to really perfect your skills. I’ve put together an interesting work area. The palette is direct to my left. The easel is straight in front. Between the easel (but next to it) and the table holding the palette is a small 5 drawer taboret on wheels. My paints are in the top three drawers. I put out the paints I need for the day on to a paper palette. I paint for a while and return the next day. During the next day’s painting I use the same paints unless they’ve dried out. In this later case, I just add more to the amount I believe I’ll use. I put out only the paints I believe I’ll use that day. And I use them each day until they dry out. All paint colors take different amounts of time to dry. If you’re not going to be painting for a few days, then some of my students have this to offer: “Use a paper palette and cover the paints with a second sheet of paper (or saran wrap if using a wooden palette) and put it in the freezer until ready to re-use. It works!”

2. Depending upon the time of the year, humidity, weather, type of mediums used your canvas could take up to one month to dry or as little as 2 days to dry.

3. Absolutely, but if you know early on that you’re not going to keep the painting, than scrape it off and clean with odorless turp.

4. Shipmate bristle brushes work very well, but do not last as long. I frequently use them.

Where Did You Get That Oh Soooooo Cool Tube Squeezer

Darrell,

I was watching the DVD on Tall Ship Preparation and you showed a Tube Squeezer that really looked neat. I went to Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Lowes, Menards and nada. Can you tell me how to get one of those. If you can sell me one I would appreciate it. Thanks again. Jerry Schray

Hi Jerry.

I got it from Dick Blick’s on-line Store. It was $20-$25

Enjoy,

Darrell

Removing Mold From A Painting

received an email earlier today from Dr. Rooma of Singapore. I don’t have experience removing mold from a painting, but if you have found a way, let me know and we’ll publish it.

Hi Darrell,

I had a query and I hope you will be able to help me out with it.

I stay in Singapore. It being an island, the climate is always full of moisture and very humid. Off late I have noticed moulds grow on my paintings!! Can you suggest ways of preventing that? What should I do about the paintings which already have white stuff growing on them?

I don’t varnish my paintings…… will varnishing help in this case?

Hope to recieve your reply soon. 🙂

Thanks and have a nice day!

Regards,
Rooma.

lynn10 said,

While I don’t have any experience in this, I wonder if a MARINE varnish would do the trick since it’s made for boats, things around water, etc. Might be worth a try anyway.

Kathleen said,

The first issue is to stop the current mold from growing without damaging the painting. This can be accomplished by drying the mold either through placing the painting in a room with a dehumidifier, or, place the painting in a car trunk. Once the mold is dry, you will be able to tell that it flakes or cracks, you are ready to remove it.

To remove the majority of the dried mold, try blowing cool air from a hairdryer or fan. Use a very soft brush to gently remove the remaining mold. It is important to use a very gentle touch so that you do not remove paint.

For the experimentation of it, I tried applying white vinegar (a natural mold-bacteria fighter) directly to a practice painting. There was no apparent affect. However, I do not know if there would be any unforeseen long-term damage.

Once this is accomplished, you may need to apply an oil or sealer over the painting.

Good luck!

Kathleen

I Just Got Oil Paint On My Clothes.

Wow, you didn’t mean to, but that paint, that wet, ugly paint just jumped up and soiled your clothes. Is there any possible way to remove I’ve tried everything from burning to using Oven-Off to using atomic debris remover.

But what I have heard that works (I’ve experienced it myself) is the following.

When you get home or after your work in the studio is complete, remove your freshly oil stained clothes, spray an oil and grease cleaner & remover (OxiClean was what we used) on them and lightly work the cleanser into the spot (s).

Then using OxiClean soap, immediately put the soiled clothes into your clothes washer. Results diminish rapidly if you do not clean until 8 or 12 hours later or more.

My wife & I love this tip.

After publishing the above tip, I received this note …

Question: Funny you should write about how to clean paint stains out of your clothes, Darrell. This has already happened to me. I had on a really nice Christmas green sweater and was moving my painting to another easel to dry and I got Titanium White mixed with a little Prussian Blue on the underneath of my sleeve. I didn’t know it right away either but the only thing I could think of to do was take a paper towel dipped in odorless thinner and soaked the area and rubbed, rubbed, rubbed. Immediately afterward I sprayed the area with Shout stain remover soaking it with it. I let it sit overnight and laundered it the next morning. My beautiful green sweater was restored and saved! While the thinner may be totally unsuitable for some clothing it worked great on my delicate sweater. Just wanted to share this with you and thank you for your wife’s thoughts on using the Oxy-clean.

Darrell’s Answer: Your quite welcomed. The main thing is acting right away when you’ve discovered paint on your clothing. Waiting or not inspecting your clothes at the end of a painting session allows the paint to dry rendering them virtually impossible to clean. This tip is for cleaning oil paints out of clothing. Anyone with experience removing acrylic paints from clothes? This past week, Darlene in Florida, shared with me that she uses alcohol to remove acrylic paints. What’s your secret?

Tower Betty said,

I have used the Pink Soap to remove oil paint from my clothes. I just rubbed it in and then I washed in the washer and it came out. Good luck.

Patty said,

I use Dawn’s Power Disolver to get the paint out of my clothes and it works great. Just spray it on and throw in the washer.

linda said,

The Dollar Store sells a spray called “Awesome”. It works fantastic for removing oil paint from your clothes. It is my main stain remover now.

Getting All of The Baby Oil Out Of The Brushes When Cleaning

Question: I use baby oil to help keep my bristles soft on my paint brushes. Is it necessary to run the brush through paint thinner prior to using them the next time I go to paint. A lot of times, my brushes are dry before using them. (in other words the baby oil is dry on the bristles). Is it still necessary to run the brush through the thinner prior to using my brushes?

Darrell’s Answer: If the brush is dry, then use it as is. If you find the baby oil is still in the brush, what I like to do is take a soft absorbent paper towel, like Viva, and dry my brush by scrubbing the brush into the paper towel. IF the brush is soaked and its a large brush like a 1″ or 2″ brush, I’ll first beat them in the brush beater rack. Then I’ll wipe dry the brushes using the paper towel to make sure I’ve gotten the final bit of baby oil out of it. I do not use thinner to clean my brushes anymore.