Why do my oil paintings look dull?

Asked By: Jerrica Kelis | Last Updated: 3rd February, 2020
Category: hobbies and interests painting
4/5 (309 Views . 20 Votes)
The main cause of a dull finish is from an incorrect ratio of drying oils to paint and solvents. More specifically, it occurs when there is too much of a solvent concentration in the paint. This is okay for early layers, but will cause a dullness effect in the top layer.

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Considering this, why is my oil painting shiny?

Although in some cases, this may be due to the oil paint sinking into an absorbent painting support, this is more often caused by the individual nature of the pigments and how they are blended with the oil. However, once coated with varnish, the oil painting will have equal gloss.

Furthermore, why do my acrylic paintings look dull? Acrylic paints contain water which evaporates as they dry. The water makes the paint look shinny and more transparent. Thinning your acrylic paints with water also makes them look duller as it washes away too much shinny acrylic binder and leaves the surface more bumpy; bumpy = dull.

Also to know, how do I make my oil painting shine?

1. 'Oil out' the surface – this is a method of applying sparingly a thin coat of Linseed oil or clear artist medium over the entire surface of the painting. The painting must be touch dry and then you can apply the oil with a clean, lint-free rag or paint on with a soft brush and then remove most of it with a rag.

Can oil paintings fade?

Oil paintings are categorized as moderately light-sensitive. They do not fade like watercolors, but they can lighten or discolor.

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Can you use oil paint straight from the tube?

If you don't need to start with a wash you can just use straight paint from the tube with no medium additives. There is no need to add anything to oil paint as its consistency straight out of the tube is fine to paint with. Just use your brush to spread and thin paint around the canvas.

How do you make oil paint look matte?

Adding a bit of linseed oil or our Galkyd Painting Mediums will increase the gloss level of paint layers. Our Cold Wax Medium is the one medium that can be used to modify this gloss level. When used alone, Cold Wax Medium makes oil colors thicker and more matte.

Why does oil come out of paintings?

Oiling out is a technique used in oil painting when the oil sinks into the lower layers of a painting, leaving the top layers lacking vitality. Oil may sink into the lower layers for a number of reasons: The lower layers may be too absorbent. To much solvent has been used.

What is the best varnish for oil paintings?

The first varnish that should be applied to an oil painting is the retouch varnish. Retouch is a traditional varnish that has a lot of solvent and a little bit of damar resin. It's applied as soon as the oil color is dry to the touch. It's meant to protect the painting and bring all the colors up to an even sheen.

When should you oil out a painting?


Apply Artists' Painting Medium sparingly to a clean cloth and rub gently into any sunken areas. Wipe off any residue and leave to dry for a day or two. If you can still see smaller, dull areas then repeat the process until the painting has regained an even sheen. Avoid using varnishes to refresh a dead painting.

How do I make my paintings shiny?

All you need to do is mix the gloss medium into the paint on the palette, and then paint as normal. The paint should dry to a glossy finish. To achieve even more gloss, apply a high gloss varnish once the painting is finished and the paint is dry.

How long should you wait to varnish an oil painting?

Re: How long do you wait for your oil paintings to dry before selling them? The 6 month rule for varnishing is a generalization; if you paint thickly it could take one year to cure, or possibly longer. If you paint rather thinly, or use driers or alkyd mediums, then you can varnish after as little as two weeks.

What happens if you varnish an oil painting too early?

If a final varnish is used too early, even when the paint feels perfectly dry, there may be problems later because the paint has not finished drying. A thinned down varnish, usually called a retouch varnish does not seal the oil paint, enough air gets through to let the paint dry completely.

How do you make an oil painting look old?

Mix oil-based varnish with a light brown oil paint in a 3-to 1-ratio in a small plastic container, such as an old, but clean yogurt container. Stir varnish and paint vigorously together with a wooden stir stick or plastic knife, until they are well-combined. Check the consistency.

Can you paint over an oil painting that has been varnished?


Most painting varnishes are designed to be removable, including damar. You will of course only be able to paint over the damar varnish with oil paints. Oil paints are made more liquid for application by use of a painting medium, most of which mediums contain solvents.

How can I make an oil painting dry faster?

You can use either a box fan or a ceiling fan, and a low or medium setting should be adequate. Keep the room warm. Oil paints dry faster in a warm atmosphere. The temperature in the room where your painting is drying should be at least 70 °F (21 °C), but the warmer you can get it, the better.

How do you make acrylic paint less shiny?

If you want your painting to be less glossy overall, you will want to first add an isolation coat using a gloss medium. (Sounds counterproductive, but stay with me for a moment) After the isolation coat, use a matte medium or matte varnish.

Do you need to seal acrylic paintings?

Therefore, if you want a high-gloss finish, you should go for an acrylic resin varnish such as Golden MSA Varnish. Before applying the final varnish, you'll need to apply an "isolation coat" over the entire painting. After the isolation coat has thoroughly dried, you can then varnish your painting.

Is acrylic paint waterproof?

Acrylic paint is not really waterproof. It is water resistant to a big extent since it is a polymer. But is porous so it will absorb water little by little. Once it absorbs water it will fill softer until it dries again.

Is it necessary to varnish acrylic paintings?


It is essential that you varnish your completed acrylic paintings. The varnish will protect the painting from dust, UV rays and yellowing. Varnish comes in gloss, satin or matte finish. I usually stick with gloss varnish because I love the look of a glossy finish, but you may have your own preference.

What do you spray on canvas after painting?

How to apply a spray varnish
  1. Wipe over the surface with a lint-free cloth.
  2. Place your painting vertically in a dust free room.
  3. Place your painting on top of a board that is larger than the canvas.
  4. Shake, Shake, Shake… and then shake some more.
  5. Apply the spray at an even distance away from the canvas.