My First Lesson Was Great, Except I’ve Got Holes!

This is my first use of oil paint ever. I tried your techniques today and all went well until the end of my session when small holes appeared all through the areas I had painted and now i can see the black acrylic. What do you think I did wrong???


a) The acrylic was painted on a week ago.
b) The clear was “syrup” like in consistency, I lightly wiped off the excess. (Not well enough perhaps?)
c) I applied a thin (watery like, perhaps too much solvent?) application of Prussian Blue.
d) I then started painting.

Can you help?

Thanks, Dave

Hi Dave,

You made perhaps only one mistake.

1. Paint on acrylic black or gesso black and let dry (normally 1/2 hour is about all it takes to dry)
2. Cover the canvas with medium clear and yes, you must wipe the excess off so that only a very, very, very thin coat of clear remains.
3. Cover the canvas with with a light coat of prussian blue (no medium or thinner used….paint only) From your letter, I think this was perhaps the error you made.
4. Start painting.

The separation you experienced is probably due to one of two items……

A. Too much medium clear on the canvas when doing step #2. By not wiping the excess off, the clear will run leaving holes in your painting as it dries.
B. Using thinned prussian blue with a thinner based medium, or just thinner itself. This causes a chemical reaction with the medium clear and holes will appear in the paint as the thinner reacts with the medium.