Washington State Flag, Oiling Out

Note: The images are at an angle so the powdery textures and oil can be better seen.

Taking a break from painting George to discuss a procedure
that will be performed on the finished product, and the testing day.

We choose oil paints for their pigment, which means sometimes
balancing has to happen in the form of “oiling out”.
Oiling out is to add a layer of medium to the top of the paint,
let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe it off again.
Sometimes this has to be done more than once to balance.

I noticed that a powder had formed in certain areas on both the text images on paper,
and on the silk images which were fully cured, mostly in the greens and one blue.
(I rubbed my finger across the top of the powdery residue, above.)
In some of these it had happened suddenly, so perhaps the drying time combined
with the change in weather made the unbalanced areas appear stronger.
Having never oiled out on silk before, I tested it on the silk test image.

Oil mixture was wiped on the left-hand side,
allowed to sit for a few minutes, then removed…
See the radical difference from the left-hand side to the right above and below?
Now it will be allowed to cure for a couple of weeks
and we can see if a second treatment needs to be performed.

Above, detail of the oiled out area, left, and the powdery residue on the right.

I also oiled out the paper test images; what a difference!

This process will slow down our ability to sew the silk immediately.
We will let the paint fully cure when finished for a couple of months,
then oil out the blanks before sewing the finished flag.

Meanwhile, we continue to paint George on the flag blanks!

Know that the subtle shadings of colors from one blank to the next is due
to the artificial versus natural light in the room when photographed.

To begin at the beginning, visit Washington State Flag, 1.

©MPF Conservation.  May be printed for your own use.
May be reposted if our url + copyright is used as reference.

About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
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2 Responses to Washington State Flag, Oiling Out

  1. Dan Antion says:

    Following this post, I wonder if something like a heart transplant might be easier. You have so many things to consider. I remember when I was duplicating some historic molding. For each of 7 or 8 steps, I had to make test cuts. Than meant I had to start with a huge amount of material and carry it forward with each step. Sounds like you have to do the same

    • Yes it is like that — especially in these kinds of projects, which few people do anymore. I have every conservator I spoke with tell me not to try painting on silk — and yet people used to do it frequently. And definitely yes to testing. Sometime I should just show the test pieces!

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