Sunday, October 25, 2015

Rublesol Lite

Posted by: Kate

I have a studio elf.  His name is Justin and he helps me make movie films.  I'm going to be a star.

I'm demonstrating the use of a new product just about to hit the market.  Dave and I have a pet product called Essential Oil of Petroleum, which always makes me think of Essence of Gelfling.  It's kind of similar, because Essence of Gelfling makes Skekses look youthful and healthy, and Essential Oil of Petroleum makes paintings look fresh and sexy.

Essential Oil of Petroleum has always been tricky for us to find.  Something about being in socialist Canada where we only have one brand of paint and you have to get on a wait list to qualify for brushes.  So we've been heckling Natural Pigments to start making something comparable and I've even told workshop students to send harassing emails to George and Tania.  Harassment works.  I received a little phial labeled "Sample 142," which can only mean there were 141 inferior samples before they found the perfect one, and I've given it a trial.  Love it.

Here's my super sophisticated first video:

Notice how I kept emphasizing the need to make sure the painting is dry?  That's because this is take two.  During take one, I used a painting that wasn't dry and I smeared paint all over the place.  Don't worry, it was Dave's painting, so it was hilarious.


Edit: Questions coming in so I'll answer them here.  

Why not use oil or retouch varnish?  This product acts to "oil out" or saturate the surface of your painting when it's sunken in, but it completely evaporates leaving no residue after about twenty minutes.  If, like me, you are leery of oiling out and of retouch varnish, this is a very useful product.  If I use it on a painting and realize, "oh hey, this eye needs more work," I will wait until it evaporates, oil out just the eye and paint into that oiled out area.

Why not just use mineral spirits?  I find that mineral spirits usually evaporates faster, is streakier, is more likely to lift up paint that's only moderately dry, and turns the surface of the painting milky.  You can use mineral spirits, but this stuff's better.

Is this like Oleogel?  Nope.  Oleogel is an oil.  This is a solvent.  Don't be confused by the "oil" in "Essential Oil of Petroleum."

Where can we buy Essence of Gelfling?  As far as I know it's still a restricted product, but I'm sure Natural Pigments is working hard to bring it to us.



  1. Great video. Thanks for sharing Kate!

  2. Yay! Your first video! I've been hoping you'd go in this direction. Nice work. Looks like two cameras were used simultaneously.

    If you'd like better sound quality, you can buy a clip-on lapel mic, called a lavalier mic, for about $20 (US dollars). It has about a 25-foot cord, its own on-off switch, and it plugs into the video camera, and the sound is really nice. I made videos for about two years before buying one of these things, and I'm glad I did. There are wireless mics, but they're expensive, and unnecessary for videos like this.

    OK, putting sound aside, I'm a big fan of video for all things art -- such an efficient and effective way of communicating -- so I'm glad you're getting into it.

    1. Thanks, Amanda. A mic is the next step. Acoustics aren't so great in that classroom.

  3. What the heck is Essence of Gelfling? It sounds unhygienic.

    Your video is great! More, please.

  4. In the blog post, you wrote, "rubesol light. peace." i was wondering if you borrowed that bit of literary genius from kurt vonnegut or are you also a literary genius?
    p.s. you and dave kick ass, thanks

  5. Thank you for the video Kate! It seems the most useful aspect of this product would be bringing the saturation back for purposes of photographing the work.

    What throws me off is that you should wait for it to dry before working back into the painting. The added step of assessing, waiting for the surface to re-dry, then oiling out that section seems kinda unrealistic, given my usual frantic workflow.

    I have been using neo-megylp desaturated with Gamsol, and it allows the right amount of open time and lack of sheen for me. It also provides a slight gel layer, which makes edgework more manageable.

    Hopefully I am not weakening the integrity of the painting as a whole through this process.

    1. Waiting for the Rublesol Light to dry doesn't take too long, and you can always wipe it off with a clean make up sponge if you're in a hurry. It's useful in that it prevents you from applying oil or a medium to an area that you will not be painting into. It helps you to see the painting as a whole, and then you can make up your mind to work on just one area. Also fantastic for showing a painting in progress to a studio visitor.

  6. Unfortunately my hearing isn't what it used to be and could only pick up a few words here and there in the video. But I do get the idea and it looks like a product I would be willing to try and use. Of course this would depend on pricing and if it ships internationally.

  7. Ignore my last comment about the hearing, my daughter had left the earphones plugged in giving reason for the poor sound quality.Doh!

  8. Nice! I'm definitely getting some. This will benefit me greatly as I find myself wanting to peek at values across the painting even if I'm not painting into all sections. For the sections I am painting I was hoping one could actually apply paint while Rublesol was still wet . I only use a little OMS with about 2% stand oil for my medium, just enough to make the paint flow if I need to. So I don't oil out. Boo. I found Utrecht's retouch is nice and thin layers can be painted right into while still wet. Nevertheless, I'd rather just paint into the Rublesol if I could. Can one?