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So today, briefly, we’re going to talk about What Ursula Has Learned About Oils So Far. (I have done exactly two paintings, and started two others, so take this with a grain of salt, mind you.) This is probably fairly technical and may bore people who are just here for the naked mole rats, but if you lived through the squirrel opera, I figure you’re bullet proof, and I know some people seem to find these helpful.

First off, oils like something with a tooth. I could be wrong, but they seem to like something with a little bit of texture to grab on to–they’re behaving badly on clayboard, but wonderfully on gessoboard. (My mother backs this up.) Now, I prefer as little tooth as possible when I paint–I like clayboard more than gessoboard, and hot-press paper over cold-press, so this is taking some getting used to, but it seems to be true.

Related to this, don’t mess with it when wet on clayboard, if you don’t want to pull it right off the board. That was the big problem I had–going over something, it stuck to the brush rather than the hyper-smooth surface, and I wound up with bare board. (Mental voice: “Don’t mess with it. You shouldn’t mess with it. Okay, that’s enough. Okay, stop now. Okay, you ruined it. Good job!”) On gessoboard, all you risk is blending until something gets soft and murky colored, but the paint doesn’t pull away.

Oils tend towards transparency (or maybe it’s just all the Liquin I’m using.) Be sure the acrylic underpainting, if you use one, is where you want it, because there’s a lot less leeway to paint over dark bits with oils unless you want mondo layers. I’m trying the latest without any underpainting at all, just to see how that goes.

Whites are less intense and blend easily into the rest of the paints when wet. Highlights may have to wait until dry. On that same topic, Titanium White should not be stiff and chunky. This is a problem. A big tube of Permalba white is a happy thing.

It is worth laying out 7$ for the little brush cleaner jar with the mesh doodad and the bottle of brush cleaner. God, is it worth it.

And that’s what I know so far…

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