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Weird Texture on my oil paintings

edited October 2017 in Painting
I'm not sure what is happening and wonder if anyone else has experienced an issue with the texture turning more rough as the paint dries on your oil paintings?  I have a couple of hypotheses  and they are 1.  I am using Viva paper towels to smear on my canvas/panels so it could be lint?  2.  I am using my fingers more to blend and work areas and wonder if I am "rolling" up paint particles to cause such a weird surface.  Those are the only two things I am doing differently in the past couple of months and I notice a big difference in the beading on my surface structure - it seems to get more rough as the previous layers dry.  I have been using mostly Geneva oil paints which are creamy, buttery, smooth - it seems that when I paint "thin" with little paint on my brush and try to work it or blend, I am doing something odd and the texture gets more and more rough and beading as I try to blend with my finger or Viva.  It is happening on fine linen as well as cheap canvas and nice panels.  I will post an example of a work in progress of a copy of a
Michael Klein painting as that is the most obvious.  What am I doing to cause this unsightly beading?


  • Actually I like the texture effect :)

    It could be something on the Viva paper towels, I'd be wary about anything that could rip tiny bits off and get into the paint. Maybe even a chemical reaction?

    Maybe you could do a small test on another canvas board, one with just brush blending, one with fingers and one with Viva paper towels and see if there is any differences :)
  • dencaldencal -
    edited October 2017

    Looking as closely as I can it seems that the white paint has all the roughness.

    What sort of brushstroke are you using - push, pull or scumble?

    Did you use clear gesso that dries with a toothy surface?

    Are you following the fat fat over lean rule?

    Keep in mind that polymers shrink as they dry, giving more prominence to the support texture and peaked ridges of oil paint.

    Roughness can be a desirable attribute in a painting. If that is not what you intend start with a smooth Ampersand Gessobord or Dibond panel. Lightly oil out before you start painting and get some SDM for your non Geneva paint.

    Are any of your colors past their use by date, slightly set up in the tube?

    Worth remembering that a few coats of varnish (or resin) will cover a multitude of sins.


  • OK, I will call this an experiment.  I also firmly believe that accidents happen for a reason - perhaps that flower painting wanted to be rough and beady :).

    I actually love texture and am not afraid to paint with oleogel with a large palette knife as I did on this huge 30x40 poppy painting I did about a year ago.  I love thick, texture on some of my paintings but this is very different.

    so, the above examples are still a nice, lovely flow of beautiful, thick paint.  it isn't little beads.  I think it must have something to do with my viva or finger smudging.  
    the roses I am trying to do are ugly beads and it is getting worse, the more I paint.  I definitely see it get worse with the drying also so that is interesting.

    @dencal you're like a genius scientist!  To answer some of your questions, I always use fat over lean.  I don't use any gesso whatsoever, ever.  My washes on my canvases, panels and linen are thinned a tad with mineral spirits for a fine wash.  I have a mixture of cardboard color mixed (Geneva) in a jar that I will sometimes use to paint/prep/stain a structure but never gesso.  I am using mainly Geneva but have been using some of my other tubes (Rembrandt) of titanium white and that is thicker.  I have been very generous with the paint and will sometimes roll the side of my brush with very light pressure to just get the color to tint some areas.  I have been plowing the petals in with a brushstroke that is very weird for me (as I was following an instructional video - it's like holding a loaded brush sideways and pushing with the tips of the bristles first).     Maybe I am getting too much air in the paint by wiggling the brush like this??  

    Michael's flowers are gorgeous, mine look horrible.  I have been pushing the paint around like this in my other paintings that are having the same issues so maybe I will experiment with paper towel, finger blending and then pushing the paint around to see where the beads are coming from.  thank you for your suggestions.  I need to get to the bottom of it.
  • Scientific experiment solved - One hypothesis proven without question.

    Viva paper towels are the culprit.  They have either changed their formula or I bought a bad 6 pack.  

    I lightly rubbed a piece of sky on a large boat painting I am working on and the hundreds of beads appeared immediately. It's like they roll around instantly in the sticky, wet paint and become embedded into the painting - all with the color of the paint absorbed.  It is weird because it doesn't look like lint when it happens because it takes up the color immediately so looks like paint beads. 

    I had to spend about 15 minutes picking and trying to dry brush them off.  No more wiping the canvas in any way with my Vivas.  They used to be fabulous.

  • Definitely don't use them anymore!

    Are there any kind of polyester (i.e. non-ripping, but also non-reactive) towels you can use on your canvas?
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