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Oiling Question

I watched Mark’s “oiling video” but it does not address a problem I ran into and I was hoping one of you guys might be able to help.

I finished a workshop painting recently on a MDF panel coated with a few layers of acrylic gesso then painted using Graham walnut oil based paints that someone asked if they could have for their home. :)

There were no solvents used at all, some linseed oil used to adjust the paint consistency.

Before giving it to them, I thought I would put a thin layer of linseed oil on it to bring some of the matte areas back to life (it had dried for about three weeks). I did this before with good results, however, this time it worked as usual on 4/5 ths of the painting, but on the bottom 2 inches of the painting the oil beaded up like water. I ended up having to sponge it off the next day with a cotton rag so it didn’t dry that way. I don’t know what caused this.

Is it a problem, which would prevent me from giving the painting to a friend?

I could paint another but they really liked this one, and as this is more of a quick (2 hours about study) not an attempt at accurate realism, the next one would be probably be noticeably different.


  • I know this isn't answering your question, but why are you oiling out a painting that you're done working on? It should be varnished, not oiled out.
  • It was a recommendation I read in a book some time in the past I don’t remember the title.

    The author recommended that after a painting was completed and was dry to the touch, but before the 6 months or so needed to let it dry completely, it should oiled it to see how it will look when varnished, and then any final corrections that are needed should be made before letting it dry for varnishing.
  • David and Denis, thanks for the feedback.

    David I hope I answered your question.

    Denis like your sense of humor, she is not a client but the wife of a fishing buddy. I think she would be happy to provide the fries.
  • @Irishcajun I've had the same problem. I get beading in areas with a lot of white. Try using Winsor & Newton painting medium to oil out with. @Kingston was the one who suggested it to me. It's actually a good idea to get this all worked out before the final varnish.
  • @Irishcajun I've had the same problem when using M. Graham. When I tried oiling out with regular walnut oil, or linseed oil, beading occured. But then I tried using the walnut alkyd medium to oil out, and it worked like a charm! No beeding at all. It's the best, solvent free oiling out medium I've found so far. I've tried the W&N artist medium as well, and it works, but I personally like the walnut alkyd medium even better. I find it a bit easier to apply etc. Just take a a soft lint free rag (I use old t-shirts) and apply a very small amount of the medium to it, then rub it in circular motions over the painting. If you applied to much, just wipe off the excess. Remember the oil film should be as thin as possible, just enough to get the colors back.

    @David_Quinn_Carder It's a good idea to oil out a painting when done as well, since if it's matte in places, when varnishing the matte areas can appear gloss and the non-matte areas super gloss. But it might not be a big problem when using the slow dry medium.
  • Mark_CarderMark_Carder admin
    I had this issue once, also in the whites. I solved it by rubbing the surface of the painting with a soft lint free cloth and a bit of rubbing alcohol. That worked well, it takes the slickness out of the surface so the varnish will adhere better.
  • SummerSummer -
    edited May 2015
    Does it make a difference if the rubbing alcohol is pure or Isopropyl at 70% by volume? I am going to try this. Maybe experiment with both types.
  • I appreciate knowing all of this. I haven't had this problem yet, but I'm glad to know how to handle it.
  • Mark_CarderMark_Carder admin
    @Summer use the purest, but keep watching the cloth to make sure you're not starting to pick up paint. Rubbing alcohol can dissolve paint if you leave it on long enough.
  • Thanks for all the suggestions and feedback, good to know I am not alone.
  • Stolichnaya works well. Some prefer Grey Goose but that method is too French for me.
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