We had a session today with Tom Anderson. Tom teaches our Master Class art course. He is a professional artist. He and his wife Lynda ran a studio and art gallery in Northern California for over twenty-five years. They retired to Texas to be near his grandchildren a couple of years ago. You can read more about Tom at this link on our website.
Tom is the most knowledgeable person on the planet about Bill’s method of oil painting — bar none! Bill attended Tom’s certification in Salem, OR. Tom went on to study Bill’s techniques for his entire career. Tom is also one of the most knowledgeable people on the subject of paint and mediums.
Tom is an avid student of the Old Masters. Tom read Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks. In them, he discovered Leonardo’s secret for a clear oil medium. And when we say clear, we mean crystal clear like water. But that’s not what we’re writing about today.
When you finish a painting, you’ll want to protect it for posterity. Most painters cover their dried artwork with varnish.
Here’s what Wikipedia says about varnish. “Varnish is traditionally a combination of a drying oil, a resin, and a thinner or solvent.”
All we can say to that is ugh, ugh, and ugh!
Varnish, though, creates a seal that protects the painting and makes it easier to keep clean. You can dust it, for example, without affecting the underlying artwork.
Most varnishes darken with age. Over time the paintings will disappear. Many of Rembrandt’s paintings have darkened over time. A lot of the Dutch Old Masters paintings had this happen as they experimented with new mediums. As it turned out, they should have stuck with what worked for the Italian Old Masters.
This darkening won’t happen in your lifetime, or even the lifetime of your children. It will start during the generation of your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They have only one option if they want to preserve the painting. They will have to strip off the varnish and re-seal the canvas. That is going to be a costly expense for many families.
Today, Tom told us about a new product he discovered in the most unlikely of places. Now, listen to this…
It creates a crystal clear finish on a painting. It uses no solvents, resins, thinners or turpentines. To that, we say, “Yay, yay, yay, yay!”
The product bonds with oil paint! Think about that for a minute.
That means you can cover your painting with this solution and after it dries, you can apply oil paint right on top of it.
You can do that with our clear oil, but this product is much cheaper. Our oil has some pretty remarkable properties of its own. We’ll talk about those in future emails.
It gets better!
With this product, you can seal a painting. The, let’s say, you wanted to touch up an area. You can apply new paint right on top of the sealed painting with no other preparation and then seal it again. You could continue this process ad infinitum.
As remarkable as this product is, there’s another one that Tom discovered that works as well. It’s also a product you never thought about using. It takes a bit longer to dry.
We’ll be taking a deep dive into both of these products in our next member online workshop. If you want to learn about these new products, and much more, make sure you sign up for a membership at Alexander Art today.