Top 10 Oil Finger Painting Questions
I thought I would write a quick post to answer some basic questions I get a lot pertaining to oil finger painting besides "Are you serious?", and "Are you crazy?" As for those questions, yes, I am dead serious, and no crazier than I have ever been before!
- Why do you do it? What made you try this?
The bottom line is that I hate to clean. I abhor cleaning brushes; it takes forever. When oil painting, I always ended up using a ton of different brushes. One day I ran out of clean brushes within easy reach and just used my finger, and figured, "Why not?" It worked just fine. Coming from a world of watercolor where a quick swish in clean water is all it takes, spending time and money on brush cleaners and ruining loads of brushes just wasn't working for me.
- How do you not make a mess?
I wear disposable gloves. I buy a big box of them. I generally use latex free, surgical gloves from either the hardware or med supply store. I use viva paper towels to wipe off excess, or when drastically changing colors. Hanging a garbage bag nearby to toss towels and used gloves in keeps things tidy. Zero cleanup otherwise, a perfect system in my Humble opinion!
- How do you get detail?
Coming from a world highly detailed realism in watercolor, I always just naturally approached oils more impressionistically. This method though, makes impressionism a lot easier for someone like me who tends to continue adding detail until it is photo realistic. I can make a statement quickly and that is all I need. For the detail I do want to add I use a fingertip, or the edge of a nail and leave it at that.
- What materials do you use?
I use water mixable oils. I love Holbein's Duo aqua oils. There is no odor, no need for turp or mediums, and the dry time is perfect for my needs. Generally, I work on larger canvases, usually bought prepared. On occasion I do stretch my own for different sizes, sometimes adding texture medium before painting to add interest.
- How long does it take to paint, and how long to dry?
I complete these paintings a lot faster than anything else I do, mostly because the method itself precludes me from getting caught up in adding more detail than I need to. There is nothing wrong with detail, in fact I personally love, love, love it. I did it when I enjoyed doing it. It took a lot of years, but I no longer enjoy it, so I moved on to something else.
I usually finish a large painting in 1-4 days of working on it. These paintings dry much quicker than traditional oils but are still workable for 3 or 4 days. The white paint does take longer to dry than any other color. I do not put the paint on very thickly, as I find it an unnecessary waste of expensive paint. This also helps it dry faster. If I do want a more textural piece I apply a medium to the canvas prior to beginning.
- But you were so established with watercolor, do you miss it?
Nope. I still do watercolor for certain things, and I still love the look of it but I don't get the thrill I used to when completing a piece.
- Do you use multiple fingers? Your whole hand?
Yes, it’s like having five brushes available at once. I can use different colors simultaneously and make different sized marks. As for using my whole hand, no. I am still a realist painter and putting my entire hand in paint and schlepping it around on the canvas is outside my comfort zone. I still have a desired outcome for the piece and like some control over where it goes.
- Do you paint with both hands?
No, do you? I'm afraid I'm not that ambidextrous. I wouldn't bother unless I lost a hand, but then maybe.
- How do you sign the paintings if you don't use a brush?
Uh, that I do with a brush, don't be silly! Sometimes I use a small palette knife or even a pen.
- Will you sell them for less than your traditional oil paintings?
Of course not. I have still created the image and used quality materials. I have only changed the method of application. If anything, I may charge more due to the uniqueness of the piece.
Till next time...