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Finishing up a painting that has dried.

rudayorudayo -
edited January 2018 in Painting
Worked on a painting over the Christmas holiday, got bored, has since dried. Was still in initial stages, but now having a hard time getting newer layers to adhere. What should I do to get started again and complete it this time?

Do I sand it to get some tooth?
Do I scrub into it with Turpenoid with a paintbrush to get some tooth?
Do I do both?
Do I paint over it with linseed oil and let it stand for a day?

Please help....



  • Sanding is a bit harsh for a first step.  Instead, go the grocery story and guy a small pack of "SCRUBEES."  Not sure that's how it's spelled.  It will abraid the surface but won't leave cuts that may become visible in the paint.

    As a first step, you might try oiling out and then try applying paint.  This would be my first step.  If you have no luck with this, lightly abraid the surface with your scrubee.  If that doesn't help, go to a pet supply story and buy a small package of Cuttlefish bone.  Break off the sharp, hard edge all the way around and then abraid your paint surface with this.

    So, steps from least to most abrasive are:  1) oil out;  2) Scrubee, and 3) Cuttlefish bone.

  • Thank you for your prompt reply.

  • @rudayo ; I like the oiling out idea mentioned above.  I use refined linseed oil.  I'd only oil out the area that you will paint over in one sitting--not the whole canvas.  If you oil out the whole canvas, you will probably be doing so repeatedly for the next few weeks.  I've learned that repeated oiling out causes the oil to permanently attach to the canvas in between the brush strokes and paint lays on top of this muck instead of the paint layer.  This should work very well for you.  Summer
  • Hey @rudayo   Welcome to the forum.  You will get so much helpful information here - I agree with @Summer and @broker12 .  I have a lot of experience with trying to finish dry paintings (I have what could be considered a problem in that I start and don't finish immediately a lot of paintings) - I'm not sure the size you are dealing with but a lot of people just use a spray re-touch varnish - spritz and carry on - I can't remember the brand as the thread it was mentioned on is now gone.  I usually use liquin with a quick rub as I have a ton of liquin - linseed oil is beautiful but I have to always be careful not to add too much - I have to kind of scrub that in - I'm sure there are many more ways to skin a cat.  

  • Omg! @Julianna I am so guilty of the same. For me its too much early praise from onlookers at the beginning of a painting that it feels complete. "So why finish?" and then stop. And they nag at me, the paintings, that is. You know the feeling? Lol. But I don't know how to start again. And when I do, the paint doesn't adhere. So many paintings need to get finished. I am afraid of breaking them---or what they could have been. Lol. Wow, sound like a parent, don't I? Lol
  • @rudayo ; I don't understand why your paint isn't adhering?  You can never ruin a painting unless you poke a hole in it (a teacher once said) - :).  Seriously, the only time I've had paint not adhering was when I was first getting used to oil primed linen.  Are you using too much medium?  Can you scumble?  If you have a photo, that would be lovely.  What kind of paints are you using?  Again, welcome!

  • Welcome, @rudyo.  I've not had the experience myself becuse that is the stage where I throw it away. However arguablely good each method is, I think @Movealonghome has the best suggestion. It fits in with what other experienced painters have said. You'll have to load your brush well like Mark does for it to work. Another solution is the touch up varnish (Gamvar) and very, very lightly sand that if the first option doesn't work for you. If  worse comes to worse  you can re-stain and paint over the used canvases. Even Monet and Renoir did that. Good Luck but I would not try skinning the cat with a Cuttlefish bone.
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