Help! What happened? Weird effect on Oil primed hardboard

FudgeFudge -
edited January 29 in Painting
Hello, first time posting, I made an account just for this problem. I painted two lemons the other day on some hardboard I Oil primed. I let the oil prime dry for the recommended 7 days before painting. Now a few days have passed since i finished the painting, and I have this weird separation and lines going everywhere. It looks kind of cool but also completely ruined the painting. What caused this? I dont want this to happen again. I have a lot of oil primed boards ready to paint on and do not want this happening on the paintings to come. This is my first time painting on oil primed hardboard. Any help is much appreciated!

First photo was when I just finished it, still wet.


  • Hello and welcome

  • dencaldencal -
    edited January 29

    Welcome to the Forum.

    The uniformity and brush stroke shape hugging of the lines suggest that this is a paint consistency problem.

    Oil paint shrinks as it dries and it looks like craquelure.

    Perhaps an excess of solvent in the top coat and an excess of oil in the primer has breached the fat over lean rule.

    I notice an absence of cracks where you have used thicker paint.


  • FudgeFudge -
    edited January 29
    Thanks for the reply Denis, I really appreciate it! 

    I think you are right. I had no idea the fat over lean rule was so important! It is a traditional Oil prime.
    I did dilute some layers of the painting with Gum Turps at the beginning and went over it later, and other layers like the shadowed parts i just laid reasonably thin by habit of not mixing enough paint.
    I use paint straight out of the tube.

    So, the Oil prime is really thought of as a regular layer of oil paint, and everything on top should be a good thick consistancy or have Linseed oil added?

    I guess this means to not use any solvent at all, and to really paint quite thick everywhere?

  • When you say oil primer..
    What brand oil primer?
    What kind of oil paint and mediums?
    Do you paint wet into wet or other method?
    What kind of brushes?

    The photos don't seem to jive. The painting on the easel is well exposed the other two seem way under.
    Was the color degradation causing this?
  • Hi Kingston,

    I used langridge traditional Oil prime, with langridge and art spectrum professional Oils. No medium, just painted thin in some areas. I paint in one go wet into wet. Yes the photos although not exposed well do show how flat the colours became just 2 days later. Oiling out fixed this.

     I took Denis's great input, and i repainted over the cracked surface. Oiling out thinly first and then going back over it with thick oil paint, with some linseed oil mixed in. Fingers crossed this will dry normally.

    Here is a better photo of what happened before I repainted.

  • So do we have a final diagnosis and a succinct lesson for a newbie like me of what not to do in order to avoid this?
  • edited February 2
    The paint looks as though it was very runny when applied on a very smooth surface. It looks as though the lower layers were just too oily for such a smooth surface. I, too, use Langridge paints without solvents but I've never had this problem unless I add oil - especially in the early stages and if the surface is very smooth. But if you just used the paint and no medium or added oil on a canvas with a bit of tooth then I find it difficult to understand how this happened. 
  • CBG

    The general guideline here is to keep a sceptical eye on the layering of an oil painting.
    Mark’s method makes it easy as a single layer is applied over a stained/toned canvas.
    Geneva, Langridge and all other tubed oil paint already contains linseed or safflower oil.
    The problem here is that there was no tone/stain layer and the thinly applied paint was cut with a fair amount of gum turps. As the solvent evaporated the paint shrunk and with insufficient oil polymer and pigment, cracks developed.
    As a general guide, avoid adding solvents. Adjust consistency with oil and use a generous brushstroke to ensure coverage and a durable surface. Liquin, a modified soy oil, is a good thinner.

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