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Gritty, dark, oil separation

I am trying to set up a proper studio and paints a la Carder method so I have been mixing SDM with cad yellow, burnt umber, alizarin crimson and now ultramarine blue and I discovered my darker colored paints, even when freshly opened from the tube, have this crusty dark separation. The crimson was really bad but I discovered a hole in the tube which must have caused it to leak. In fact all of the tubes ultimately had tears by the folds as I emptied the tubes.

This is the cap in a brand new ultramarine. And this is a reputable paint manufacturer. Is this common?

Suffice it to say, I am emptying tubes and mixing with SDM so the paint will last.



  • PaulBPaulB mod
    That looks like linseed oil to me.
  • @tgarney - S-slow D-dry M-medium
    Mark Carder recommends that we mix a combination of ingredients to make a medium that will create a supple, slower to dry oil paint. 
  • oil separation is quite common. Out of necessity I bought one titanium white tube from another reputed manufacturer and safflower oil kept coming out for more than five sessions. Now it is behaving properly.

    If your paint has too much oil then scrape the paint and put it on a piece of paper and after a minute or so scrape it back and put is on your palette or wherever you want that to be. I guess this is not such a big problem. this happens.
  • Thanks @Kaustav ;
    This photo doesn't do it justice but it's the gritty texture that develops that I'm more concerned with, especially if it affects the paunting
  • Renoir

    Most brands of oil paint comprise 30% to 50% oil. If they have been hanging by their tops in a store display for say, twelve months the heavy pigment and light oil naturally gravitates and separates.
    Often, a gush of almost clear oil precedes any pigment when squeezing paint out of a tube.

    As recommended by Kaustav, paper will absorb any excess oil. On the other hand you can add oil on the palette and recombine with your knife.

    To keep your tube tops clean and improve the seal, place a small square of saran wrap on top of the tube and replace the clean top

    Shouldn't be gritty though, what brand are you using? Even my cheap stuff aint gritty.


  • Where do you get Saran Wrap? I’ve never heard of it,
  • Veronique 

    I speak and spell in American on the DMP Forum. The equivalent to Saran Wrap is Cling Film or Glad Wrap, the stuff you wrap your sandwiches with. Available in every food store.


  • @dencal both tubes with the "gritty" texture at the mouth and cap. It looks like somehow the oil 'crystallized'.which I know is not possible.  I just want to avoid purchasing paint like this again. I was able to wipe it out with a cotton swab from this cap, but my alizarin crimson paint must have leaked most of its oil. Even with sdm it is incredibly thick and sometimes seems to have texture.

    In retrospect, I bought both of these from the local crafts & arts/projects/farm/school store. It's actually a large catalogue store that houses a small retail. It's nice to have in a pinch, but maybe I need to just purchase from the main art catalogues here in the states: Dick Blick, Jerry's Artarama. 

  • One last bit: I mixed my paints with SDM and have them snuggly tightened in jars but I also put those closed jars into plastic sealable sandwich bags. 
  • Renoir

    Oil can dry to a gummy or crystal type residue.the polymer formation with the pigment is what creates the paint film we rely on to last hundreds of years.Old paint can set up in the tube and have gritty lumps that won’t dissolve.
    Your picture of the problem did not look like a problem to me.
    You are right about getting fresh tubes from a high turnover store.


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