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Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Zest-it Questions


Q.
Can I mix Oils and Acrylics?
A. If by that you mean mix the two paints together, the simple answer is No. You can however do an under-painting with Acrylics and then paint Oils over the top, this is useful if you wish to make a quick start but not necessarily of archival quality unless an acrylic emulsion gesso is used.

Why?
Acrylics are water based, when you try to paint acrylic over oils, like water on a ducks back it slides off, but this isn't always apparent at first!
Q.
Can I mix water based Oils with ordinary Oils?
A. Yes you can. BUT if you mix water based with traditional/ordinary oils, then you need to treat them all as ordinary oils, especially when it comes to cleaning equipment.
The modified mediums used with water based oils were designed for that purpose, and likewise the mediums for ordinary oils.
Q.
Do I have to paint Oils on canvas?
A. No you don't, you can use just about any surface for Oils. The only recommendation is that it is suitably sealed and primed, and has a 'key' or 'tooth' for the paint to adhere to, this is very important.
You can successfully use solid supports like wood, hardboard, plywood, chipboard, tin, copper, brick, concrete, plasterboard, pottery.
Other supports include oil paper, water colour paper, illustration board, linen, muslin, silk, polyester and museum board. Plenty to choose from!
Q.  
What's the difference between, a support, a size and a ground?
A. The support is just that, the material that supports the finished painting, a cave wall or a canvas.
The size, which is usually a form of weak glue, penetrates the surface of the support i.e. rabbit skin glue applied to raw canvas.
A ground is a physical surface between the support and the paint, it gives a surface texture to paint on, often referred to as 'tooth'. The raw canvas is sized to give it internal protection and strength, a ground is then applied to prime and seal the canvas ready for painting.
Why?
The ground gives a uniform surface to paint on, without it, the oil paint would soak into the fabric which can cause all types of problems. Over time the acids in the atmosphere can attack all manner of things and even if the fabric of the canvas fell away, the painting could still be intact on it's ground.
Q.
What is a wash?
A. A wash is paint thinned with solvent only to a 'watery' consistency, this is usually applied to colour the ground before painting.
Q.
What is a glaze?
A. A glaze is a transparent film of colour. The colour is thinned with solvent and painting medium until very liquid, this allows a thin even coat to be applied, to the desired area over the dry painting. Good for depth and colour.
Q.
What is scumble or scumbling?
A. Very little paint is used on the brush for this technique. The colour is often opaque, it is used very dry and is in effect 'scrubbed' on, as opposed to painted on to the canvas, good for misty effects and high lights. It allows the under colour to show through. Very similar to 'dry brush' in watercolour.
Q.
What's Impasto?
A. Impasto is thick and/or rough strokes of paint. A knife is often used for this technique, it is a good way of creating texture.
Q.
What is 'Gesso' ?
A. The traditional Gesso is made from hide glue and chalk or gypsum. It is applied to a solid surface and forms a hard, absorbent, ground on which to paint. Gesso is also found in the woodworking industry, where is known as Bole.
There are other Gesso's on the market today, these are often Acrylic and Acrylic emulsion based, quick drying and can be used on a flexible surface as well as a solid surface/ground. Acrylic emulsion gesso is used for priming and is recommended for use with oils.
Q.
What is a siccative?
A. A siccative is another name for a drier, driers are added to some oil paint pigment to make it dry faster but is usually found in oil mediums. Burnt Umber, which is by nature a fast drying paint, (without added driers) when added to other colours causes them to dry faster, it acts like a siccative. Back to Colour mixing1
Q.
What are Earth Colours?
A.Earth colours were originally made from natural ores of the earth, the main one being iron oxide. Many manufactures now make synthetic iron oxide. The main earth colours are Burnt and Raw Umber, Burnt and Raw Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Terre Verte, (Green Earth) Caput Mortuum, Davys Grey, Venetian and Light Red, there are others but the first five are the main ones people refer to.
The earth colours tend to be strong colours that have low chroma and low tinting strength, making them easy to handle.
The 'Mars' range of colours tend to be made from synthetic iron oxides. Back to Colour Mixing1

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Zest-it Questions


Q
Can I use Zest-it with my Acrylic paints?
A
Sorry no, Zest-it and water just don't mix, not for painting or cleaning brushes. Zest-it is a safer alternative to Turpentine use.
Q
Can Zest-it be used with
Coloured Pencil, Pastels and
Oil Pastels?
A
Yes, Zest-it can be used to blend Coloured Pencil, Pastels and Oil Pastels. Zest-it leaves no residue, so the paper or support is not degraded by the use of Zest-it. You can use the Zest-it Pencil Blend or the Zest-it Brush Cleaner, they are the same product. Click forcoloured pencil blending. Zest-it it not recommended for use on Royal Sovereign Pastel Card.
Q
Can I use Zest-it to blend oil pastels on parchment work?
A
Yes, the same applies as the answer above. For an example of parchment blending click the link - this well respected 'parchment' lady has used it for the past 12 years on her parchment work.
Q
Can Zest-it be used to remove the 'sticky tape' used by picture framers?
A
Yes it can, it has undergone numerous tests by members of the Fine Art Trade Guild. Some of the members use it constantly because it leaves no residue. Members are also testing it in other area of picture conservation.
Q
Can I use Zest-it to make Damar varnish, just like I would with Turpentine?
A
The Gum Damar crystals do not dissolve as quickly in Zest-it (it not an 'aggressive' solvent) as they do in Turpentine, so it takes longer to arrive at solution, but yes it makes an excellent varnish.
Q
Why does Zest-it have a 'Harmful' notice on the label?
A
It's a recorded fact that on average, there are 48,000 people a year, who drink a product not meant for human consumption!
So, a 'Harmful' notice on the label stating 'may cause lung damage if swallowed' is because - if the product was swallowed and the person vomited and the vomit entered the lungs, it could cause bronchopneumonia. This notice is for use by a Doctor, so he knows what action to take, should anyone swallow the product. That's why it say's 'show this product or label'. All this information is available here.
Q
If it's not dangerous, why does it say 'keep out of reach of children'?
A
Most children are inquisitive by nature and often drink things they shouldn't. It takes less quantity of a product, to cause a lethal dose to a child, than it does to an adult.
So if you, as an adult, weighed about 8 stone/51 kg, you would need to ingest (drink/swallow) about 1 litre (just under 2 imperial pints) before it became lethal. But for a child weighing only 1 stone then the quantity would be about 130 ml (just over of a imperial pint), hence 'keep out of reach of children'. Many common household products say the same thing!
(First Aid measures -
Do not induce vomiting.
May be harmful if ingested (as in vomit) into the lungs. Seek medical advice - see answer above).
Q
Why does it say wash hands after use?
A
The label also states 'may cause skin dryness and cracking' this is because prolonged contact - keeping the hands wet with Zest-it - will remove the natural oils from the skin, causing the skin to dry and further prolonged contact can cause cracking. Hence the label states 'wash hands after use'.
It's a precautionary warning about skin/hygiene when using solvents.
Q
Has the Zest-it Artists Hand Cleaner got a Cosmetic Certificate?
A
Yes, the Zest-it Artists Hand Cleaner has a Cosmetic Safety Assessment Certificate and the labelling conforms to those requirements. The Artists Hand Cleaner 'does what it says on the pot' - it removes oil paint from the hands without drying, leaving them conditioned. It's made from soap suitable for sensitive skin, with added Shea butter, natural and essential oils.


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