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10_15_04-w I received a couple of questions this morning and I believe everybody would enjoy having the answer.

The first from Irene who asked about a varnish to spray on a painting when it was completed. What should she use and should she use it? The second question was from Ann asking about sizes of liner brushes and what’s the smallest size she could obtain since she’s doing a lot of detail work.


The reason cited for using the protective sprays are to preserve the intensity of color and to protect the finish of the painting itself.

Personally, I don’t use the sprays since most sprays require that the oil painting be absolutely dry before application. The recommended time is six months to a year to allow sufficient drying. I also find that by hanging a wet painting right away, its out of harms way so there’s little need for additional protection. I have a wall in my studio with lots of hanging hooks and so its a simple matter to hang a half dozen drying painting. Perhaps one day I’ll make a short tip video on how to make a painting rack to allow for drying.

Colors also fade a bit when they dry. And different colors fade a little more than others. I find red to fade faster and more than any other color. That’s why I use it in sky colors and mountains, etc… If I had a bit too much, I know it’ll fade a bit over the upcoming year. Now remember pink is not tinted white. Pink will dry a little duller pink. So paint the colors you want on your canvas without consideration for fading.

There is one spray I’m aware of that can be applied while the painting is wet and that’s the finishing spray under the Bob Ross brand name. But I’ve found that on hard, smooth surfaces, such as glass, that your paints will run on applications.

Bottom line….. if you’re inclined to spray your paintings, follow the directions on the spray you’ve purchased. Test before you use on one of your prized paintings.


Liner brushes come in all sizes. Often called script liners, I’ve seen them from size 4 down to 3, 2, 1, 0, 00, 000, …. ten zeros. They also come in different lengths as well. A script liner is longer than a liner brush, which is longer than a round brush.

What size do you need?

That depends upon you more than anything………….and the condition of your brush.

A #2 script liner is a fine, fine brush and really useful for just about any kind of detailed work PROVIDED we adhere to three basic practices.

1. Keep the brush clean. I use script liners that are typically made of sable hairs. After each use, I carefully clean my brush with either Orange pumice cleaner or the Chroma brush cleaner. I’ve also used the Bob Ross brand of brush cleaner and the Martin F. Weber brush cleaner with equal success. By gently massaging the brush with the cleaning solution between your thumb and forefinger, you’ll work out all of the paint deposits, solvents and chemicals that have accumulated in the hairs and under the metal ferrule binding the binding the brush hairs. Once thoroughly clean, I rinse out the cleaning solution using baby oil and lightly dry with a paper towel As I dry, I reform the brush tip so the brush will dry coming to a perfect point.

2. Develop a light, light touch. To be able to paint fine detail, you’ve got to develop a light touch. A hard touch forces a lot of paint off the brush onto the canvas in a very short amount of time. This generally results in lines that are much, much thicker than we’d like. Our first inclination is to get a thinner brush to compensate. Try developing a lighter touch. Heck, I don’t care if I make straight lines, I just want very, very thin crooked lines.

3. Use a large quantity of thinner or medium. When using a liner brush you want your paint mixture to be as thin as ink. Otherwise, the paint will not transfer from your brush to the canvas without pressure. So if you do not see a line when you glaze over your painting surface and have to apply more pressure, add more medium or thinner to the paint. When loading the brush to be paint, begin with a clean dry brush and roll just the tip of the hairs in the paint. Then go to the canvas.

4. Finally, if you find your liner brush separates at the metal ferrule and will not come to a point, you’ve got a couple of options. Clean the brush. The reason the hairs are separating is that there is dried paint inside of the metal ferrule that is forcing the hairs to spread out. Winsor Newton makes an excellent ‘soaking’ brush cleaner. Leave your liner brush soaking in this solution for 1 to 2 hours and re-clean as directed in step #1. If this fails, than load lots of paint into the liner brush to force the hairs to a point. It’s almost like caulking, if you will. Then you can load your brush as described in step #3.

I trust this information will help you Ann. But feel free to try different sizes liner brushes until you find the one that pleases you the most.

I also received a note from Charlie, a new subscriber, I’d like to pass along…..

Dear Darrell,

I have never painted with oils before now, and I am having a blast!

I have watched and studied your DVDs and he YouCanPaint site. The morning exercises especially is so helpful. I was surprised when I started improving. I painted a beautiful mountain seenary that my husband just raved about. Now I have to admit that made me feel very good.

Now I am trying my hand at the Roses, and the basic flower. I just finished Four Poppies and gave it to my granddaughters for their bedroom. They loved it even though it wasn’t perfect.

Thank you, Darrell, for sharing with us.

I do love the site.


(Editor’s Note: Thank You Charlie for your kind note and if anyone is interested in joining the, I’m offering a Christmas special at $19.95 by clicking here … )

Ann Sherrod of LA sent me a photo of a brand new painting she has created …..

How many different animals do you see?

Picture 006

And a bit of fun with before/after photos…..

Who is that unmasked man?

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