This is my 3rd experiment with masking fluid on oil paint. I masked off the dark red border on the labyrinth and the gold leafed lines on the bird. The 24 carat gold leaf came out looking real warm on top of the dark red outline but it shows up a cool gold in my photo.
It’s a difficult, time consuming process making the masking fluid work on oil paint. I wouldn’t recommend other artists try it. It takes a lot of prep time and patience. I’m still working out the bugs. I’m not sure if it’s showing in this photo, but you can see the weave of the canvas through the dark red lines. If someone examines the paint closely, they’ll know I used some kind of stencil when they compare the thick textured paint to the lines.
I don’t have a lot of experience with gold leaf. It’s something I tried to do long ago and had the gold leaf all these years in my art supplies. I remember hearing you need a smooth surface for the leaf. That’s why I masked off the lines for the gold leaf. The paint can get thick and textured on the rest of the canvas, but should be smooth under the leaf.
The Distelfink is a folk art bird from PA. They mean good luck. Distelfink is PA Dutch for Thistle Finch. They’re native in Europe, not PA, but their images are all over Southeast PA. I’ve always enjoyed drawing them. And I enjoy the challenge of drawing geometric designs like the Greek key and Celtic knots. Making the labyrinth work out on the size I want is a math problem and takes me a while to figure out, even with the picture of a labyrinth in front of me. These are two designs I have used since I was a kid, so they’re a fall back design for my experiment.
So, while the weather isn’t good over the winter, this is what I’m working on. My ultimate plan is to make an icon with oil paint and gold leaf, using a portrait of Edgar Alan Poe. The more practice I get, the better my chances are of success with the icon for a show in the spring at the Poe museum.
I can’t remember who first told me masking fluid doesn’t work on oil paint. It might have been long ago and I didn’t try it until this year. When I was shopping for a masking fluid to try, I asked the art supply store people if the more expensive Winsor Newton masking fluid is a better product than the ordinary friskit masking fluid and they said the Winsor Newton brand might be easier to lift when the paint is dry. If you leave the cheaper product on for a few days it can stick. The guy working there asked me what kind of paper I was using. I told him I wanted to try it on canvas with oil paint. They said it doesn’t work on oil paint. I said I’m going to try it and see how it goes. If it doesn’t work, I’ll use it for something else.
I think it’s working ok on oil paint. It was on the canvas over 2 weeks while I waited for the first layer of paint to dry. I mixed fast drying Winsor Newton Liquin medium with my colors, but forgot to mix it with one of my glazes, and that blue took forever to dry.
I bought a deerfoot brush and dabbed the glazes on top of the masking fluid. The deerfoot is a nice brush to use for a glaze. It doesn’t entirely cover the color underneath.
That’s the blue background that took weeks to dry.
I want to paint eyes on my 2 Distelfinks then use this one on red and try another experiment. The last thing I want to try with it is putting gold leaf on the red outline of the bird.
It’s all part of my bigger plan to make an icon of Edgar Allan Poe. When I do my icon, I need an elaborate border for Poe’s portrait with oil paint and gold leaf.
So, why do they say masking fluid doesn’t work on oil paint? This isn’t too bad. If I try again, maybe I can get the icon project to work out. I did a layer of masking fluid, a layer of glazes, then another layer of masking fluid and another layer of glazes. I had to wait a couple weeks for it to dry and the masking fluid peeled off nicely.
This photo shows another experiment started with masking fluid on a tinted canvas. You can see the masking fluid is a little shiny on top of my charcoal sketch of flowers with 2 little distelfinks.
A few years ago I saw a painting by Maxfield Parrish, “Masquerade”, in Atlanta at the High Museum. I was amazed by his technique.
All those little diamond shapes are sharp. And people think I paint tight! hahahaha I wondered how he did it. The only thing I could guess was that he used masking fluid but people told me masking fluid doesn’t stick to oil paint. This painting was in the back of my mind for a long time. I saw a video about Parrish’s glazing technique but it didn’t discuss his technique of painting corners. The video gave me a lot to consider about glazing. I’ve been glazing with oil paint for a few years and I want to try more ways of glazing. The video also stressed Parrish’s use of varnish. I can’t use as much varnish as Parrish because it’s so strong my neighbors will smell it in their apartments too. I go outside to paint varnish but when the weather gets cold it takes a long time to dry.
Last week I planned some paintings to work on over the winter when I can’t get outside to paint as much. I bought a bottle of Winsor Newton water color masking fluid and tried it on a piece of an oil painting that I don’t like. I drew a hex sign for my experiment because I’m PA Dutch and I’ve always liked to draw hex signs. I’m not superstitious. To me they’re a decoration. It’s fun to spin a compass around and make a perfect circle.
The PA Dutch put hex signs over the door to their barns to keep evil spirits out. Once I asked how a hex can keep out a bad spirit and was told that the spirit would think it could get into the barn through the hex sign, mistaking it for the door. It would hit it’s head on the hex sign and give up and go away. I can’t verify the PA Dutch really believe that. I’ve been away from that culture a long time. I might add that the old guy who told me that wanted to tell me everything he knew and probably wasn’t just pulling my leg. And he was very inquisitive and asked people questions about a lot of subjects.
ok, I digress. I want to try my experiment again using masking fluid on oil paint. This time, my surface will be smoother and I’ll use a ruling pen to paint my skinny lines.
This post has been here for years. Every week wordpress tells me it gets viewed but no one puts a like or comment on it. I think the stats page is lying. Updated on July 31 2020.
It’s a great show of American Impressionists titled “The Artist’s Garden”. I drove to Norfolk yesterday to see it. The show ends in the beginning of Sept.
It’s exciting to see old Impressionism. There’s a lot of variations in the different artist’s styles. These artists had academic training. You can see it in the beautifully drawn female figures. An artist doesn’t get this kind of results by tracing a photo. This took years of figure drawing practice.
I wanted to see if the old Impressionists used glazes, and yes, I see layers of glazes in a lot of the paintings. Modern Impressionists don’t use glazes. This painting shows a lot of variation in the way the paint was applied. Some is glazes and some parts are painted thick.
The old Impressionists didn’t have a formula. I doubt this was finished in one day. They had inspiration. They were daring and groundbreaking. Modern Impressionists are in a big hurry to finish paintings because they think it makes them look “prolific”. They have a good level of successful paintings that are marketable because they have a formula, which they might call “streamlining” a painting, or “simplifying” or something like that. That’s why all modern Impressionists work looks the same. Modern Impressionists are on some kind of art treadmill. I want to paint like this guy, Curran.