I push Oleogel on all my friends and I've even done time for selling it in a schoolyard. After using it regularly for the past year and half I've come up with a variety of uses for it and I thought I might share them:
Oiling in: First of all, oiling in is bad. Extra oil equals extra yellowing, and layers of pure oil and no pigment are not structurally sound, so the only place where excess oil is welcome is at a cheap massage parlour. If you do oil in you should pull your blinds so the neighbours don't see. But sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. Sometimes I just have to oil in the damn painting, take a look, and then noodle at my edges and shadows. I apply Oleogel with a make up sponge very sparingly. When it dries, the silica in the oleogel give the painting surface some tooth, compared with the slick nasty surface pure oil would leave behind.
|I oiled out this head study to restore all my colours before deciding that instead of a purplish background, I really out to have a greenish background.|
Laying down a couche: For those who haven't come across this term before, "couche" is French for "paint layer," and in the context of classical technique, a couche is a thin layer of oil that you spread over an area that you are about to work on, usually an area that you are going to bring to a finish with fine detail and blending. The oil makes the fresh paint flow onto the surface better (great if you're working with tiny amounts of paint on little itty bitty brushes) and at the same time saturates the old paint layer so that you can match your colours perfectly. Snort. As if anyone manages that. I used to use linseed oil cut with Gamsol in a 1:1 ratio for my couches. But now I've seen the light and I've found that Oleogel serves this purpose better because it is a gel. My paint doesn't thin out or go runny when I paint into it. It's not as slippery and my brush strokes stay in place, meaning a completely new "look" for my finishing layer is at my disposal.
|See the shadow her hat casts on her hair? I totally painted that hair without a cast shadow, let it dry, and then Oloegeled that bastard and glazed a shadow over top. And then I learned Russian with all the time I saved.|
|Branches are one of those tricky things. You want them to be crisp, and yet if they're too hard edged, they look graphic. I used Oleogel quite a bit to clean my edges with a soft touch.|
NOTE: Please do not use Oleogel to paint big goobery brushstrokes, a la maroger medium. Some people see the word "gel" tacked on the end and they get the wrong idea. Oleogel is simply linseed oil plus fumed silica. A lot of linseed oil. (I think George said something like 95% oil and 5% silica?) So when you add it to your paints or your painting surface, you need to remember that you are adding oil, and we all know that oil is the devil's plaything. Be sparing. If you wouldn't normally cut your paint 50/50 with linseed oil, don't start now, and if you do want to add it to your paints for that special occasion that you need the right effect, keep the rules of fat over lean in mind. Someone has pointed out to me that Oleogel will dry gummy and yellow. Only if you're applying it like you're icing a cake. If you want to apply juicy fat brush strokes, there are better mediums you can try. I would recommend anything with an alkyd drier, or better yet, see if some Impasto or Venetian Medium will work for you. The latter two are technically paints because they are composed of oil plus a colourless pigment. This means that you can add as much of them to your paint as you want without upsetting the ideal pigment to oil ratio. Impasto medium will chunk up your paint slightly and make impastoes occur more easily. Velazquez medium will make your paint goopier and stringier. I prefer the latter.
So that's my spiel. Please consider welcoming Oleogel into your life, because if we keep buying it, they'll keep making it.