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.
I love to see the wisteria blooming wild by the side of the road when I’m driving in the country. Sometimes it gets so thick it can choke out trees. This is an old vine at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden on a stone wall.
First I drew it with charcoal on the paper, then used oil pastel for the wall and as an underdrawing for the Wisteria. The oil pastel alone looked a little weak for the flowers, so I used oil paint and put a second layer on to bring the flowers off the wall visually, by using the contrast of the more solid paint against the more sketchy pastel.
I’m glad I finally got a sketch of the Wisteria, because I’ve been wanting to draw it for years.