Oil Painting Issues – Liquin

This was going to be a post about the limitations of Liquin as an oil painting medium. I have 2 paintings waiting to dry because of the problems with this medium. There are many good and bad things with Liquin as I have mentioned in previous posts. I will rant a little about the problems I’m having, then I will show you another use for Liquin which you might find useful.

The problem I’m having at the moment concerns one of the ‘good ‘ things with Liquin, ie the quick drying. For light coloured paint it doesn’t matter that much but with dark colours, the colour gets lighter in tone with the drying. If the painting is completed quickly, maybe 1 hour, the Liquin is OK. Any longer and shadows and darker colours begin to change to a lighter tone. I could live with this but there is another issue which is more of a problem with what I trying to do at the moment.

As the Liquin begins to dry it forms a skin on the outside which is a glaze. This retains the ‘wet look’ of the paint colour for about an hour and then begins to fade. The problem is, if the glaze is disturbed (that is brushed causing ‘skuffing’) the Liquin skin becomes matt which is instantly lighter in tone. The only solution is to let the painting dry and ‘oil out‘ with a thin coating of Liquin on the dry paint before resuming painting. The original colour of the paint layer returns from this wetting of the surface. That’s where I am at the moment.

Enough of that. Here is a use I’ve found for Liquin which can be used as a learning experience, or planning for a painting, or as a final art work. Simply put, an oil painting surface is coated with Liquin. This can be tinted (I used Raw Umber below) or left uncoloured. If tinted it can be wiped off to create a range of tones. Charcoal is then used to draw onto the wet surface. This is an interesting effect. On clear Liquin the greys are the typical ‘shades of black’ you get with charcoal. If a colour is used in the Liquin, the greys are ‘milky’ or ‘smokey’ like you get when black and white are mixed.

This is a 10 minute (reduced to 2 minutes time lapse) sketch to show the process. The great thing is, the final artwork can look like a charcoal sketch and when dry will be completely set – it won’t rub off as charcoal does, regardless of the amount of fixative you use. Here’s the sketch and the video of the drawing.

10 Minute Charcoal Sketch