Preparing old painting for retouching/painting

ShobeShobe -
edited February 2018 in Painting
Greetings fellow painters!  My first question in this forum is to ask your help on guiding me on how to pick up where I left off on a few oil paintings I started several years ago.  I never finished (completed) a few paintings that I’m anxious now to work on towards them being final projects.  How do I clean the surface and then perhaps layer on a solvent or medium mix that would allow for optimal adhesion?  Or should I even worry about it before I just brush off the light dust and start adding paint again?   It’s not just a matter of reviving the surface to a newer look… I want to actually add paint strokes and blend.  Thank you in advance for any suggestions you can offer!


  • I don't know that you could "blend" new paint with old but you don't have to do anything to the old surface except clean it unless you varnished it. I'm assuming you're going over old oil paint with new oil paint.
  • If you want to blend you would have to match the old color and paint over the portion you want to blend into or just mix the blended color and paint over the existing area.
  • Hi Bob...thx for the reply!  Yeah, I won’t be doing any blending into the old paint, but the new added paint will get worked.  You’re correct that these paintings have not been varnished in any way. I got to a 3/4 point of completion and then put them into dry storage for about 10 years.  They should be dry by now!  :). Thx again. 
  • Shobe

    Welcome to the Forum.

    Suggest a damp, lint free sponge to remove pet hair, dust and fly spots.

    When dry oil out with a light coat of linseed or walnut oil. If the new paint remains difficult to apply, dip the dry brush in the same oil and remove excess before picking up some paint. 

    Let us know how you go.


  • @dencal these paintings have been dry a long time, can they still be oiled out?
  • BOB73

    Yes. The oil creates a receptive surface for the new paint. The same effect can be achieved on gesso’d canvas, oil stained surfaces, bare metal, acrylic under paintings etc. etc.


  • Thank you both for your advice!  I’ll let you know how it goes.
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