Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Genesis Heat Set Oil Paints

Tulips-Genesis Oil Paints
Boy!  Has it really been so long since I've posted here?  Life has a way of getting in the way of stuff you want to do, doesn't it?

I haven't been painting over the past few months as we did a bit of traveling over the summer then a friend of mine was getting married and I had promised to help with the wedding.

She's married now and I'm beginning to get back to painting!  Being the art supply junkie I am, I bought some Genesis Heat Set Oil paints some time ago but am only now painting with them.

The painting on the left is my first serious attempt with them and since I was concentrating more on how to use the paint than anything else, I hope you won't judge the effort too harshly.

So, what do I think of these paints?

I like them as they have a lot of positive points but they're also sort of "clumsy" to use.  These are not oils in the traditional sense but they do have a synthetic oil in their composition so are allowed to be called "oil paints".  There has been much debate on that point with traditional oil painters not wanting them to be classified as oil paints.

The fact is that the heat set paints are in a class by themselves.  As the name implies, they don't dry until they're subjected to a temperature of about 265 degrees F for several minutes depending on the thickness of the paint layer.  This can be accomplished in a home oven or with a hot air gun such as is used for stripping paint.

This fact is both a pro and a con for the paints.  It's wonderful to have a painting stay wet until you want it dry but because of the limitations of both a home oven and a heat gun, you can only paint certain sizes and on certain supports.  Imagine trying to heat a piece of paper to 265 degrees for 15 minutes or so without it going up in flames or at least getting seriously charred!  Even canvas boards - the kind with canvas glued onto a cardboard backing - aren't suitable as the glue used for these won't hold up in the heat and will cause the canvas to become loose.

Of course there are ways to dry a large painting but it can get costly (think of those large conveyor belt t-shirt dryers).  They do work on the most common painting supports such as stretched canvas and gessoed hardboard which is nice.  The caveat is that these supports have to be gessoed with an acrylic gesso and not a support prepared for traditional oil painting.

Since the paints never dry by themselves, you don't have to clean your brushes or do anything special to preserve your palette from one painting session to the next.  However, you do need to use either a glass, metal, or tile palette as these paints do not react well with plastic.  It's also advised that you cover your palette and brushes to keep dust from settling onto the wet paint.  Again, don't use any kind of plastic wrap for this.  I've been inverting a cardboard box over my palette and it's working just fine.

I'll try to post more about the pros and cons of these paints at a later time.  If anyone has any questions, just let me know!