Save oil paint

Bongo

Well-known member
Messages
1,432
One piece of good advice IMO is to lay out lots of paint on your palette - but that also means you're likely to have more paint left over at the end of the session. The standard advice is to scape it all up, put it in a container then put it in your freezer. The problem with that IMO is that you tend to forget about it, not have it handy when you need it - you have to go in and out of your fridge every time you paint - and if your freezer is like mine it's a jumbled mess...
Further scraping up all the leftover paint and dumping it into a container gives you "mud". How useful is mud? How much mud do you need to keep in your freezer?

A better way IMO is to put each group of colors into a separate container - all the yellows in one, reds in another, blue/greens in one, earth tones in one, and one for "mud". That gives you five small containers. Then you cover the paint with water and -- leave them out with the rest of your paints.
No need for refrigeration. Oil dries by oxidation - no oxygen no drying and oil and water don't mix. So when you need to use one just dump out the water and scoop out the paint.

paint.jpg

I got these "condiment" containers at the dollar store, and use a rubber band for extra safety. They make glass jars this size with screw-on lids and that's next on my to-buy list.
 
I like the idea with water. It seems to be much better than keeping your paint in freezer. Thank you for sharing this.
 
Thanks, but I don't think I'd ever do this :ROFLMAO: (keep the paint in my freezer). I'd have to wait for it to thaw out and I can't plan like that.
 
This is one of the reasons I gave up after a short stint (result, one and a half canvas and a few small studies on board) with oil pant years ago. It's such a hassle....
 
The idea of all those containers isn't a nice one to me. Wax paper on a tray and into the fridge. I don't know how to make mud so that is not a problem. I save each color separate and where they are mingled I add all the mingles to a pile and come up with a gray. Always useable.
 
This just a guess, and it would be interesting to test, but perhaps the opposite works as well. Could one preserve acrylic paint under a layer of white spirit? It is a mixture of C7 to C12 hydrocarbons, so hydrophobic.
 
Great tip - thanks Bongo! I’m just getting started with oils and have been squeezing out the paint onto a long, narrow piece of glass and setting it at the top of my palette. That way the unused paint can be saved by putting the piece of glass in a plastic container (meant for shoe storage, I think) and covering it with water. So far so good. Your idea means I won’t waste the mixed paint either.
 
Arty - by covering the paint with water you AVOID having to refrigerate - you can leave the bottles of paint out with the rest of your paint.

Hermes - interesting idea - is mineral spirits the same as white spirits? If so I have it on hand and could give it a try.

With oil paint on brushes, you can dip the brush in safflower oil(or other vegetable oil) then leave them out without washing - the oil coats the brush and keeps the paint from oxidizing. I do this and works great

So for a while now I've been searching for a way to do this with acrylic paint on brushes.
Haven't found a solution. Most things you could put as a coating would be harder to clean out of the brush than the paint.
 
Oil paint is a hassle? You mean in general?
Yeah, just a very personal thing, it does not really agree with me.
Several reasons, how when you have mixed the paint you have to paint for a long session (or your paints go to waste), the solvents you need for thinning and clean up, the place it takes up, stuff like that.
Decided to give watercolor a go a couple of years ago, after not having painted for a long time, and turns out that fits me, and the way I like to paint, a lot better.
Of course I have nothing against oil paints themselves, people obviously make fantastic work with it (also when I got going I liked it well enough).
 
Hermes - interesting idea - is mineral spirits the same as white spirits? If so I have it on hand and could give it a try.
Yes, they are usually the same formulation. It would be an interesting experiment when you have the time to try it.
 
I don't put out large globs of paint.
I used to keep my glass palette in the freezer. Thawing was never a problem, the paint never got frozen, stayed workable for days, depending on color (chemical make-up) and amount: burnt umber never made it overnight, titanium white would last a lot longer, as did reds and yellows. At times I had to let the glass dry--condensation, I suppose--or dry it with a tissue. But I took it out and did other prep anyway, so that time for it to sit and warm up was not a problem.
Now, in my present situation, I can't freeze my palette. I have the space to let it set on my table. I put a few drops of clove oil on a bit of paper towel, set it on the palette, and cover it with a large tupperware box. Again, the burnt umber dries quickest, but I can go for a few days before drying starts to become a problem.
I did try both putting leftovers into small, airtight containers, and even onto the sides of a glass jar filled with water. Both were too messy for me.
 
Thanks Bongo. Yes, I have done this a few times when I have mixed a specific color and couldn't finish. I have little plastic containers I've used and didn't think of the ones you've presented. I've used all kinds of stuff, like film containers, ones with pop-lids I've got from the art store, or whatever else seemed viable. Yours are way cheaper, so I'll collect some. I don't need to do this all that often honestly because I'm a pretty good planner.

@E.J.H. I understand your concerns about oils, and I'm not trying to talk you into them, but I have a very small space I paint in. It's essentially the corner of my office/studio room. Because the paint doesn't dry for a long time, I don't actually have to paint for that long of a session. In fact, I don't have that kind of energy anymore due to disability. I can do a little throughout the day, come back to it the next, and maybe even push it a third (with the same paint!). I won't mix more than I need either. You learn. As far as thinners/cleaners, I don't use thinner. I use a gel medium sparingly, also in a tube, or Liquin in a little jar. I don't use a cleaner really. It's a natural turp kept contained in a jar. I don't have to wash my brushes for a year sometimes. Most people stay away from oils only because they don't know how to do these things, but when they learn, they fall in love with how they can work--sometimes you can thin them down to work like watercolors!
 
I've seen the trick on YouTube and even tried it. I was using water mixable oils at that time. 🤣

Naive experience aside, what do you do with the tiny water drops sitting in the paint? It's hydrophobic, sure, but oil blobs are very iregular and have little folds and creases where water can still hold.

In winter I don't even need a freezer. It's around 5 Celsius in the day now. I put a jar with leftovers outside, it can wait for a week. Except burnt umber of course.
 
Another suggestion: sell your art for millions (a lot of heavily promoted and undeserving artists do it) and then you will not have to worry about leftover paint ever again!!
Cheers!!
 
@E.J.H. I understand your concerns about oils, and I'm not trying to talk you into them, but I have a very small space I paint in. It's essentially the corner of my office/studio room. Because the paint doesn't dry for a long time, I don't actually have to paint for that long of a session. In fact, I don't have that kind of energy anymore due to disability. I can do a little throughout the day, come back to it the next, and maybe even push it a third (with the same paint!). I won't mix more than I need either. You learn. As far as thinners/cleaners, I don't use thinner. I use a gel medium sparingly, also in a tube, or Liquin in a little jar. I don't use a cleaner really. It's a natural turp kept contained in a jar. I don't have to wash my brushes for a year sometimes. Most people stay away from oils only because they don't know how to do these things, but when they learn, they fall in love with how they can work--sometimes you can thin them down to work like watercolors!
Even if you were " trying to talk me into them", I have nothing against being tempted/encouraged into using whatever art medium👍
I think you give good advice here and raise some valid points.
There were some other factors that stopped my painting back then, that didn't have anything to do with oil paint as a medium just "life". I moved house a couple of times in rather quick succession, had (and have) rather time consuming hobbies next to work, then when stopped moving there were kids.
Now we are pretty settlled and I declared a corner in our office room at home my "art studio" (an ikea table and a couple of cabinets ;) ).
So, on a related note, would oil paint tubes that are well over twenty years old still be usable.... :unsure:
 
Yes, they very well might still be usable. Perhaps a little dry and hard to open though. You can try a pliers to open them up. I have paints that are even older.

I would maybe get a little set of new ones (if it were me), small ones--if you could afford it, that is. I realize they are very expensive. You can get student grades ones to start with, and I would learn a bit how to use them, and do the clean up (get the stuff for the clean up) before beginning to play.

I made a little private YouTube video for my niece. I'll have to find it. It was to show her how to clean the brushes the way I do it in the Silicoil Jar with the Turpenoid Natural solution. If you're interested.
 
So, on a related note, would oil paint tubes that are well over twenty years old still be usable.... :unsure:
I second what arty said.
I have whats left of my grandmothers oil paints and have been using them. I've been replacing and getting new colors over the past 3 years but over half of my tubes are still from at least the 90s. some from the 80s and 70s or maybe older. the paint still works fine.
 
Back
Top