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I've finally finished Lucia.  I would really appreciate it if you could cast your eyes over her and tell me what still needs to be done.  (I know there is a repair to do on the area high up on her left arm)

Also, I'm wondering if I could put the canvas in my car during the day because it's like an oven in this heat.  Then I could be sure it will be ready in three weeks to varnish.

Could someone please advise me which varnish I should use as well?

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you. PLEASE DO NOT WORRY THAT YOU WILL OFFEND ME. Just go for it.......



  • CJDCJD -
    edited January 2019
    Looks awesome to me.

    Why do you need to varnish in 3 weeks? It's best to wait at least several months.

    Use a very thin layer of gamvar diluted with gamsol. Mix of 50/50 gamvar/gamsol. Apply as thinly as possible.. There are vids by gamblin on how to apply properly. Do not follow marks varnishing advice if using gamvar.
  • Wow! @Dianna! This is photo realistic! Fantastic! You’re just as good as @Roxy. It looks perfect to me. :)
  • edited January 2019
    Holy cow! It's stunning, @Dianna. The hair is simply amazing. The whole thing is. I'm looking at this on my phone and at this size/resolution, in terms of realism, there's simply nothing to criticise. Well done!  :)
  • Dianna

    Beautiful work. But given the level of detail and realism, why is the top right foggy?
    It is an effective vignette focusing the viewer on the subject.

  • @dencal   Interesting comment.  Thank you.  It is mostly glare in the above photograph, but I will take a photo of the source image and the painting tomorrow (in my Black Studio this time) and compare them.  Nevertheless, now that you have said that, I think I will concentrate on getting a bit more shine on the hair in that area.    Denis, do you think it would be OK to varnish in three weeks? And which varnish would you recommnend? And do you think it would be safe to leave it in the car during the day to dry out in the fairly intense heat?
  • @CJD  Thank you for your comments and suggestions.  The painting is a gift for someone and I want to get it to them as soon as possible. I will go online and watch the videos on gamvar and gamsol - I have heard quite a bit about gamblin on the Forum but am undecided at this point. Thank you for your feedback. I really appreciate it.
  • @tassieguy   Well, Rob, it's so nice to get such a lovely compliment from you. This painting has taken me a horrendous amount of time to do because I have been learning the DMP method in the process and in fact I have really painted it twice.  When I built and started painting in my Black Studio it made such a major difference to the values that I ended up painting over the top of the first painting - so really I've done two Lucias. And I am about to start ANOTHER ONE, also a present for someone. But this time I think it will take much less time, perhaps two months, and I'm hoping I will be more confident and much faster.
  • @Elize    Such a lovely thing to say.  Thank you very much. I can assure you it's not perfect - I could spend an hour picking it apart no problem at all.   But thanks anyway.
  • I said earlier I've been learning the DMP method. Well, that's not quite right. I've been learning a PART OF the DMP method.  Values - mixing colors with limited palette - not exaggerating.  I haven't mentioned the "paint ugly" or "paint abstract" yet.  I'm hoping when I turn out a few paintings that I will start to loosen up a bit and veer towards impressionism. That's my goal, anyway.
  • Well, the parts you've been learning are really working for you, @Dianna.   :)
  • Absolutely fantastic work! and I like your plan, or direction you are striving for in your future work. Looking forward to see more from you.
  • Incredible work @Dianna.  It's perfect.
  • dencaldencal -
    edited January 2019
    Denis, do you think it would be OK to varnish in three weeks? And which varnish would you recommnend? And do you think it would be safe to leave it in the car during the day to dry out in the fairly intense heat?
    Three weeks too soon.
    Gamvar for touch dry paint.
    Car? Ok but expect the stretchers and canvas to twist a bit. Should revert back to normal.
    Oiling out is an option, instruct owner to varnish in six months or undertake to varnish for them.


  • My only critIque is that it looks too good. 
  • This is excellent - I would put some small shadows on the nail varnish bottle and finger / thumb so she “grips” 
  • wow!! this is beautiful.. so delicately painted, no stark lines, the softness of the hair, skin, dress, perfect!! 
  • @alsart    Hi - thank you for your comment.  I've had a look at the original and there are no shadows there - I am following Mark's rule DO NOT EXAGGERATE so if there is no shadow there, I do not put one in.  It nearly drives me mad sometimes, but I am strict with myself. I love the DMP method and I'm fully committed to it. Thank you for your opinion though, I really appreciate it.
  • @anwesha   Thank you. I'm glad you like it.
  • @dencal   Hi Denis
    I will NOT put the painting in the car.
    I will oil it out in three weeks when touch dry and then varnish it in six months' time. (CJD gave me the same advice)
    Should I oil-out using linseed or should I use the Galkyd & Gamsol 50/50?

  • @PaulB   Hi Paul --- thank you for your nice words.  I wish it were perfect.  But it's a lovely thought and after months of hard work, one likes to think they have pulled the wool over other people's eyes. =)
  • Dianna

    Linseed. Mark has a free video on oiling out.
    Keep solvents away from your painting. Could end up a sticky mess.


  • Ya. I agree with rich.  That’s unheard of. Would love to watch u do the nose.  I couldn’t get that if someone had a gun on me. Unbelievable stuff @Dianna
  • @dencal   Ohh, I didn't realise...Gamsol is a solvent, isn't it.  (I suppose the "sol" in the name might be a bit of a tip-off)  I will make sure I put this note in my DMP Notes.  I have watched Mark's video on oiling-out and I've used Linseed in the past so I'm quite comfortable with this. Thank you for the warning.
  • @jeff --- Thank you Jeff.  I was thinking about you recently. There was a TV documentary on recently to do with art - I forget what - and YOUR painting came up.  I thought immediately, "Oh, there's Jeff's painting".  I have no idea what the original artist's name is, but I recognised the painting immediately. There has to be a compliment for you in there somewhere  :)  How are you these days?  Are you recovering from the loss of your mother and getting back into life again? I certainly hope so.
  • Dianna said:
    @dencal   Hi Denis
    I will NOT put the painting in the car. 
    Hi @Dianna, I think Denis means you should paint in the car, there's no glare in there.  It is a black car, I hope?
  • @Dianna. Oh wow that’s cool stuff , I’m not sure what painting it was.  But yes I’m getting better each day I suppose, and starting to move around more and more, so cold lately it’s crazy.  
    Thankyou for asking about mom. 
  • @PaulB   :) Hilarious      Mind you, if I thought it would work I would probably try it =) 
  • CJDCJD -
    edited January 2019
    @dencal I have a question about oiling out. Oiling out is just rubbing linseed oil all over the painting right? I've read and heard from conservators that linseed oil yellows over time and is hard to remove and sometimes impossible to remove safely (for example if someone wants to clean the painting in 100 years).. so it seems like not oiling out and simply waiting the 6 months to varnish is the best idea?

    The Baumgartner Restoration (Youtube channel) guy talked about this in a couple of his videos. Virgil Elliott also mentioned it too

    @Dianna since you'll have access to the painting in 6 months it's really not a big deal to simply let it dry without oiling out or anything before varnishing. Typically when people varnish it early, such as right when it's dry to the touch after a few weeks or a month, it's because they have sold it or are putting it in a gallery or show where they might not see it again and it has to be varnished. Otherwise it's best just to wait. The colours will flatten out a bit over the next few months but it will still look perfectly fine. Then once you varnish it will look amazing again for a hundred years or so :)

    The person you're giving it to probably won't even notice the colours looking a bit flat... only you will notice as the artist since you've seen it before and after.

    Also the reason I recommended cutting the gamvar 50/50 with gamsol is to reduce the glossyness. This way you get the restoration of the colour in the paint but without extra glossyness that creates a lot of glare. You can use straight gamvar too but it's pretty glarey You could also do 75/25 gamvar/gamsol or whatever you want
  • @CJD  Thank you for all the information, very interesting. I will be interested in Denis' response.

    Also, I found that shadow you wanted.  It's so subtle I didn't even realise it was there, but it is  :)  I'll definitely make that adjustment -  Maybe I'll post it when I've done it, if you're not sick of me by then....    I went online and watched the Gamblin video and took notes for when the time comes. Thanks
  • CJD and Dianna

    Yes I agree, probably best to leave natural for six months, but when considering the slings and arrows of misfortune that can befall an unprotected painting in six months I shudder.

    Conservers have a range of opinions on the topic of oiling out and we are free to choose along the spectrum until a definitive answer is agreed.

    A very thin layer of linseed may well yellow in a hundred years or so, probably at a much slower rate than the later applied final varnish. 

    When I finish a painting it needs to be photographed and look it’s best for sale/ presentation and display.
    If six months is out of the question then it’s oiling out or retouch varnish.


  • Obviously all the steps you took, decisions and changes you made were the right ones. I think future paintings will take less time and I hope the satisfaction will be just as great. You are truly a great friend to the person who will be getting Lucia.
  • If you are using Geneva or an oil rich medium I don't see the need for oiling out just before adding a varnish layer. From what I understand a small amount of oil for oiling out is for situation where the pigment is dull and matte and exposed as the oil layer is lacking or too thin:

    "Oiling out is not finishing. No one puts a final layer of varnish on a painting and then wipes it all right back off. 
    But you sure do when you oil out properly.
    Oiling out involves feeding the sunken areas that are oil deficient and oil poor. The voids, crevasses, pores, holes, and gaps are created because oil has sunken in, been absorbed, and has left the pigment particles exposed, bare, and dry with insufficient binding oil. That is why they are dull and matte, there is no oil on, or around the surface of the particle of pigment.
    If you do not oil out, and you simply apply varnish to a dry, sunken in area,
    then varnish will sink in, fill the voids and pores.

    I have used oil but I also use alkyd, both diluted a little bit with OMS in order to give it better transport and absorption down into the empty pores by improved capillary action.
    I think it will absorb enough in one day, then I wipe off any excess from the surface. The entire surface, even the spots that were formerly bone dry. That is not how a finish is applied, you don't wipe off a finish like varnish.
    I may do the entire painting, or I may do spots once or twice, I just do it by eye and do what it needs, you can see when it is replenished enough and you wipe it off and the dull spots are rectified.
    That is all oiling out is for, to fix, restore, and to rectify the spots that have insufficient oil.
    I think that the majority of people think that oiling out is the same process as varnishing and that is crazy."
  • @dencal    This painting is for my sister and they will be moving house in the near future. Ummm. I might have to talk to her about how vulnerable a painted surface is. I oil-out all the time because of the Fat over Lean rule, so I am quite predisposed to oiling-out. I would like the painting to look its best when I photograph it before giving it to my sister so I think oiling-out will be the answer for me as retouch varnish is a whole new technical issue.  Thank you

  • @CJD Thank you for your opinions on linseed oil and cutting gamvar with gamsol to cut glare from a glossy surface. In six months time I hope to have more knowledge on this subject and can make a decision.  Thank you for your contribution.
  • @Richard_P   Hi Richard - Again, such good information. I am going to wait the six months before varnishing, and I have until that time to decide whether to oil out immediately beforehand or not. The Gamvar website suggested oiling out first - but it seems there are lots of different opinions. I have made a note that you use alkyd diluted with a bit of OMS. I promise I'm not one of those people who thought oiling-out was the same as varnishing =) thank you.
  • @BOB73   Hello Bob.  So nice of you to say that obviously all the steps I took and decisions and changes I made were the right ones, because I spend a lot of my time thinking the opposite.  Building my Black Studio was based purely on faith in Mark Carder and his teachings but I occasionally wondered if I was losing my marbles. And sometimes when I find myself painting over the top of Lucia AGAIN because this time the colors or values look different in my new Studio or whatever.....I wonder if my faith is justified. :s But it is and I'm truly looking forward to starting my next Lucia any day now because I think it will be much faster and hopefully better. And I'm learning learning learning. Love it.
  • @dencal   Denis, your comment about the fogginess on the right side was spot on. I've un-fogged it a bit - it's pretty rough but I just don't care anymore.  I can see I have to lengthen the hair a bit on the right but I'll knock that over tomorrow.  I want to get on to the next painting. I've been doing this one since mid-August for God's sake. :s   Onwards and upwards
  • @Dianna, the fogginess looks like dried paint to me, but I might be wrong. :)
  • Hi @Elize   Denis picked up the fogginess on a photograph I posted a few days ago and he was quite right. I have since more or less fixed the problem and the photo above is the fixed version. Thank you anyway Elize
  • @BOB73   Remember how you said "You are truly a great friend to the person who will be getting Lucia" - well, it's my sister, actually, and she rang me this afternoon to tell me she's just found out she's got bladder cancer and starts immunotherapy treatment on 14th February.

    I'm going to do the last adjustments on Lucia tomorrow because I now feel very motivated again after hearing her news (I was worn out with it before I heard from her) - then it will have two weeks to dry - in this heat that shouldn't be a problem - oil it out if necessary, and drive it up to her in Brisbane before the 14th so she gets it before her treatment starts.  It's funny about life, isn't it, you just never know what is going to happen. Thank heavens I decided to do the painting for her in the first place.
  • Oh Dianna... so sorry to hear this news!! Thinking of you.. :( xx
  • @Dianna, sorry to hear about your sister's illness. But if anything can brighten her days on chemo your painting will. It's stunning.  :)
  • edited January 2019
    @Dianna Fantastic work, you should be utterly proud :)

  • Thank you @Richard_P  @tassieguy  @MichaelD   Wouldn't it be the most wonderful thing in the world if my painting gave my sister some reprieve from her troubles, even if only for a little while.
  • So sorry to hear about your sister's illness @Dianna. Your painting is absolutely beautiful and I can't fault a thing. I hope it brings her some good cheer. 
  • So sorry to hear about your sister @Dianna. So wonderful that you can be there for her and give her such a precious gift. :)
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