Saturday, 23 October 2010

Painting Oil Impasto Uses up Too Much Paint

The artist who ventures into oil painting impasto may paste the oil paint on thickly for impressionist skies or landscapes, using up lots of costly oil paint. The result is that there is little of the paint left in the tubes for another painting. How can oil painting be made cheap when using impasto?

Textured Painting Techniques

Producing an oil painting with impasto paint can work out expensive if the artist is wasteful with oil paint. This can be a problem if using a palette knife or wide bristle brushes for relief effects. The following practices could make impasto techniques costly.
  • Using exclusively artist quality oil paints and applying liberal amounts over the oil painting to produce relief effects.
  • Depositing liberal amounts of oil paint onto the artist’s palette and then simply disposing of the residue at the end of the painting session.
  • Putting too much oil paint on the palette in relation to the size of the oil painting. For instance, if the impasto work is small.
How to make Thick Paint Go Further with Impasto

Few artists wish to worry about how much paint to use when working in impasto, for impasto techniques are all about freedom of expression with paint. A great technique when working in alla prima, impasto can suggest energy and give vibrancy to large expanses of an oil painting, such as skies, water, seascapes, mountains and even backgrounds to still life and portraiture. But how can the artist make the oil paint go further with impasto? Here are some tips on making applying impasto paint effectively.
  • Avoid depositing large amounts of a pigment onto the palette in the first instance, for surplus paint cannot be placed back in the tube. It is better to squeeze out a little at a time rather than one big splodge.
  • Don’t dispose of the left over oil paint on the palette at the end of the painting session, for the medley of colours can be mixed to make lovely neutrals for a future painting. Place a Tupperware lid over the palette and seal with cling film. If placed in a cool place, the paints will remain workable for up to a week.
  • Again, don’t throw away old oil paints, regardless of how garish the colour; they can be used to create bulk to an existing mix or used to mix neutrals.
  • Allow some of the oil paints to thicken on the palette over a day or two. This will result in a thick, pasty consistency, ideal for impasto.
  • A large impasto painting may benefit from the purchase of impasto medium or Oleopasto. This is an alkyd based medium that can be mixed with the oil paint to thicken the paint and make it go further.
How to Use Impasto Gel

Winsor & Newton Liquin Impasto Gel 200
Impasto medium
click to buy from Amazon
Impasto medium is often sold in tubes, and when squeezed out, a brownish substance will emerge. Once mixed with the pigment, it will not affect the colour, but will thicken the consistency of the oil paint. Mix to about one parts to four. Adding too much may take the tinting strength from the oil paint. The impasto mixture can then be used for palette knife techniques or Sgraffito with textures.

Impasto Painting Made Cheap

Impasto techniques with oil can be made inexpensive with a few adjustments to how the artist applies the paint. Avoid throwing out old tubes of paint for these can always be used for future mixes. Surplus paint on the palette can be saved for a future painting by sealed under a cover and placed in a cool place. Impasto medium can be mixed with oil paint to thicken its consistency and make it go further, helping to cut the cost of oil paints.

Since posting this article, have created a Youtube clip on using impasto medium and palette knives to paint a Cezanne painting entitled the Great Bathers.

External Links on Impasto Painting

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