Top 10 Oil Finger Painting Questions

Top 10 Oil Finger Painting Questions

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!


  1. 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.


  1. 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!


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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...





Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.