Road Test of Archival Oil Paints – Part 2

Img 8 Rainbow Valley Red Size

‘Rainbow Valley’

Road Test Archival Oil Paints on a trip around Australia 2014 – Part 2

Continued from last blog…

The lean medium is very interesting. It looks and feels oily but dries completely matt.

Stiff synthetic brushes Long flats and pointed rounds
Flat sables or imitation sables and a fine sable for details.

Gesso or oil primed Mdf boards, cotton canvas or linen canvas
Initial Paint Colours
French Ultramarine
Cobalt Blue
Permanent Alizarin
Permanent Sap Green
Cadmium Yellow Light
Yellow Ochre
Jaune Brilliant
Brilliant Violet
Burnt Sienna
Cadmium Orange
Cadmium Red Light
Titanium White

Paint Colours added later
Phthalo Green
Forest Green
Chromium Green Oxide
Naples Yellow
Mars Violet
Light Red Ochre

Archival Oils Odourless Solvent
Archival Oils Lean Medium
Archival Oils Smooth Gel Medium

I couldn’t wait until it was time to hit the road.

The Road Trip
For the trip around Australia I took small linen canvas squares which were taped onto boards and stored in a drying box until dry. They were then stacked in a bag for the journey home. I did 13 paintings along the way which gave me a good chance to try the Archival Oil Paints in a variety of situations. I took notes on how they handled in each situation. The paintings all dried quickly, were easy to store and arrived home in good condition.

The first few paintings done in cool weather worked well using Lean Medium for the initial block-in. This dried quite quickly enabling me to work straight over the top with the next layer of paint.

The next few paintings were painted in hot, windy conditions mostly around 35 degrees C. I found that the Lean Medium was drying extremely quickly and causing the paint to become very sticky and difficult to work with.

I then tried using a little Archival Oil Odourless Solvent for the initial block in. I had a bit more success with this.

The Smooth Gel Medium rendered the paint very sticky and unworkable in very hot weather. Using the paint without medium was similar and it even became tacky on the palette.
Subjects where I wanted to blend the paint such as water scenes, were difficult to render.

As we travelled South again and the weather became cooler, the last two paintings were found to be much easier, the paint easier to brush and spread at temperatures around 20 degrees C.

The Archival Oil paints were difficult to use outdoors in hot (over 30 degrees) windy conditions because of the sticky consistency and tendency to become tacky on the palette.
However it is possible that, had I used Odourless Classic medium which is slow drying, this may have overcome the problem. I did not have this medium with me.

Properties that I like are:
The paints are great to use in the studio at home and Archival Oils do not have the problem of being too transparent like the alkyd Griffin paint. They have good coverage.

The ability to work on different parts of the painting for a while and come back to an area previously done and work over it again. This applies when working on a bigger painting at home,

The ability to make changes by over painting even after the painting has dried, without having to worry about the different drying rates of the colours.

I believe that the paint is helping me to achieve better painting methods and results.

The finished paintings are very evenly matt and pleasing. There are no shiny or dull patches like I sometimes get with normal oil paint.

Mostly the paintings are touch dry overnight which is useful as I have limited space available for drying paintings.

It’s reassuring to know that the paintings will not crack.
I like that they are Archival so my paintings will last a very long time.

Note – This article was published in Australian Artist Magazine Issue 370 April 2015, however the editor changed the title of the article to ‘Oils as a Travelling Companion’ which somewhat disguises the point of the exercise.