It is summer and school is out. Many artists will be hitting the road for plein air adventures or perhaps a workshop. Here are some travel tips from Robert Gamblin.
|Tips for Traveling with Artists’ Materials #14|
Many artists contact me with questions about the best ways to take art materials on aircraft. I have been flying with oil painting materials for 25 years. I have logged about 400,000 miles with my paints. Here are some suggestions.Artists’ oil colors contain no solvents so they are not hazardous.When security asks, “What are these?” never say oil paints. The word “PAINT” is a hot button issue with them. (I have even heard of acrylics and watercolors not allowed on airplanes because they were described as “paints.”) Tell them that they are “artists’ colors made from vegetable oil.” Nowhere on our products or in the literature does the word “paint” appear.
Check to see if you can purchase mediums and solvents at your destination. If not, ship art materials ahead by ground transportation. Using the US Postal Service, artists can ship materials anywhere in the world. Remember to specify “ground transportation” service. Insure the package and pay for a delivery receipt.
Oil colors dry faster in warm weather. Solvents and the solvent in painting mediums evaporate more quickly. A great advantage for those who want to speed up the painting process, heat may be a disadvantage for those who are used to a longer open time.
If you need more working time, and you are using a quick drying medium like Galkyd or Galkyd Lite then switch to a slower drying medium.
If you use a low viscosity medium like Galkyd Lite, try Galkyd Slow Dry. If this still does not give you enough working time, try the slowest of slow dry mediums: mix Gamsol and Poppy oil in equal parts.
If you prefer a higher viscosity medium like Galkyd, add 10% Stand oil to Galkyd to increase the working time. If this is still not enough working time, as above, make a medium by mixing Gamsol and Stand oil in equal parts.
Use the Gamblin Interactive Painting Mediums Guide to determine the combination of mediums that is right for you. More information on painting mediums can be found in: Painting Mediums and Working with Oil Painting Mediums. Information on painting mediums is also available in the brochure “Gamblin Guide to Oil Painting Mediums.”
I do not recommend you mix the separated oil back into the paint. Rather blot it up. If the paint feels too dry, add your favorite painting mediums to increase the flow (decrease viscosity).
Shipping Art Work
A “fresh painting” is one that has skinned over. Dry to the touch, you can easily smear it with your finger if you press too hard. A fresh painting needs careful handling. Place your paintings face to face with wax paper or with non-stick baking paper between them. You can also place plastic push-pins at each corner of one of the paintings to put some additional space between the paintings. Unpack the paintings as soon as they get to their destination.
If your paintings are larger and you prefer to roll them for shipping
Ship vanished paintings with nothing touching the surface.
Regularly I get calls from artists asking what to do when their gallery shipped a varnished painting with sheet plastic or bubble-wrap directly on the face of the painting. This is a bad technique because the varnish heats up under the bubble wrap and softens while in transit. Then the pattern of the bubble wrap is pressed on to the surface.
If you varnished the painting with Gamvar, remove the varnish with Gamsol and re-varnish. If the painting is varnished with dammar, it is much more difficult to fix. To remove dammar varnish, you need stronger solvents. Strong solvents can damage paintings. To see if you can remove dammar varnish, dip a q-tip in turpentine. Apply solvent to small area in one corner. If your q-tip turns slightly yellow (the color of dammar varnish), you can lift the varnish. If not, you cannot. Stop immediately if you lift any color.
If you have any further questions about tips for traveling with oil painting materials,
Gamblin Artists Colors Co. PO Box 15009 Portland, OR 97293 USA
Telephone: 503.235.1945 Fax: 503.235.1946