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Need some help

I'm currently working on a large commission. There is a lot of black. My issue is some of the black is shiny and some of it isnt. It's drying very strange compared to what I'm used to. I feel like part of the issue is parts of the painting is thicker paint than the rest. Could that be the cause? I' going to start on a new canvas what can I do to prevent this as much as possible. I don't mind if it does it a little. But it looks pretty bad. 


  • You oil the canvas which may even it out.  Basically brush on linseed oil over the entire canvas and wipe off excess.  that may alleviate some of it.
  • jdbunch39

    Pretty common with some types of black, ivory or lamp. The cause is variable drying rates, showing a mosaic of variously polymerised surface patches. Arises from variation in substrate absorbency, variation in mixes such as mediums and pigment thicknesses.

    Try Mark’s chromatic black 60 ultramarine blue and 40 % burnt umber.

    All will be well if, as Jeff suggests, you oil out. In any case it will be uniform glossy after varnish.


  • I have figured out one way of painting large areas of black and having them stay very uniform in glossyness and blackness. Gesso the canvas or board with 4-5 coats, sanding between each coat, and then after applying the final coat which is tinted with brown or black acrylic paint to act as the stain colour, wet sand it (use normal sandpaper... 150-300 grit works fine... with water) and then let dry, and then lightly dry sand with 150 grit or 300 grit paper.

    I've done this method for a few of my paintings with black backgrounds and it's very nice to paint on and the black stays uniform. I don't know if this helps in your current situation but in the future it might. 

    Without wet sanding the black always dries spotty until varnished or oiled out. 
  • FlattyFlatty admin
    You will get that affect and it's normal. Once you varnish it will be fine. 
  • FlattyFlatty admin
    Here is a painting that has been drying for several weeks. Check out the upper right. That will disappear just as soon as it is varnished
  • See but I had a painting look like that and once I varnished it, it increased that messed up look.
  • Great painting btw. I feel like I'm actually looking at the items.
  • Thanks for all the tips. Wow I've learned a lot from you all already. I'm happy to be part of this forum. I hope one day to actually take a class from Mr. Carder
  • FlattyFlatty admin
    Oh! Well I know for sure one of my past painting looks a bit like that without /low lighting. You can see it in the glare. Once it is lit up I cannot see it at all? Perhaps it will be the same for you??
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