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Topic: Getting Started with Oils  (Read 990 times)
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« on: October 08, 2013 06:25:00 PM »

Okay, so I did a small oil painting a long time ago, and I've recently started a much larger one. About two days in I realized I have no idea what I'm doing. There is a lot more to working with oils than I first thought, so I decided to ask some of you more experienced painters for help.

1. What is 'fat over lean'? Should I be using paint thinner or oil to dilute my paint?
     The first painting I did I used my dad's shop paint thinner and it seemed to work well, but my art teacher (who admits he doesn't
     like or know oils well) says I don't need it and only need oil for diluting and cleaning.

2. What type/quality of paint thinner and/or oils should I use? What are mineral spirits and turpentine?
     Like I said before, I'm currently using commercial paint thinner and my teacher has me using vegetable oil.

3. Cleanup
     Cleaning my brushes and myself has been a nightmare. First I used paint thinner on the brushes, but I'm not sure if that should be going down the drain. Most recently I've tried getting the pigment off with oil and then washing the brushes in soap and water. I want my brushes to last as long as possible, so I need to know how to keep them conditioned properly. Also, how do I get paint off my hands? Right now I just wipe the majority off with a rag and let the rest wash off gradually.

4. Disposal
     Can oil paints, solvents, and oils be washed down the drain? Or should I be disposing of them some other way?

Overall, I just need help putting together a proper oil kit, I guess. Any help you guys can offer me would be greatly appreciated Smiley

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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2013 08:19:56 AM »

1. Lean means thinned with mineral spirits or turpentine, fat means eg linseed oil.  Most painters do a wash with paint diluted with mineral spirits, then paint mixed with linseed oil over that once its dried.  I would consider straight paint out of the tube to be the fattest of the fat.

2.  Turpentine, mineral spirits and paint thinner all achieve the same thing (solvents).  Go with mineral spirits for the price, and less fumes.

3.  Brushes: swish around in solvent, squeeze into a rag, then wash with dish soap and a little bit of water in the palm of your hand.  I do sign painting with enamels, and I rinse them in mineral spirits, squeeze out, then dunk in transmission fluid so they never dry out.  That's when they die.  I've heard of storing them in vegetable oil or vaseline as well.

4.  Don't put thinners and oils down the drain.  Thinner:  I use 2 jars.  One I keep all my murky thinner in.  It will settle out and you can pour off the clean stuff into another jar to use.  When you're done painting, swirl it up really well and pour back into your storage jar.  You will eventually end up with a big puck of mud in the bottom which you can let dry out and toss in the garbage.  If you really need to get rid of solvent or oil, pour it into a paper towel and leave it in a well ventilated area or put it in the garbage.

Hope this helps
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2014 10:06:40 PM »

I think these videos can help you and will answer lot of your questions:


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