Techniques and materials - Harriet Lawless Artist

Techniques and materials

Oil paint

I use artist-grade professional oil colour for all of my paintings. The paints are lightfast and will age well, retaining their vibrancy and true colour. The paint colours are pure, brilliant and intense, and will remain that way.


Primed wood panels

I paint on wood panels. I like that they allow precise detail, without the ‘pixels’ created by the texture of canvas. Compared to canvas, a wood panel is a much more durable painting surface. It cannot be poked and doesn't flex nearly as much as canvas which reduces the risk of the painting cracking or being ripped.

Wood panels are durable and will stand the test of time. They were the popular choice by artists in the Rennaissance. The Mona Lisa by Deonardo Da Vinci was painted on a wood panel.

I prepare the panels by priming with a layer of sealant and multiple layers of gesso. The sealant ensures that no oil seeps into the wood, and no chemicals from the wood seep up into the painting. The gesso provides an additional barrier between the wood and oil paint, and provides a more adherent surface for the oil paint to stick to. This process ensures that my paintings are archival and will last.


I apply a layer of varnish on top of every finished piece. I use retouching / gallery varnish. This type of varnish can be applied to an oil painting that has recently been finished (within the last year) while still letting the paint oxidise underneath. It provides a vibrancy to the oil paint colours and protects the painting from dust and pollution. This varnish won’t yellow over time. If desired, a layer of damar varnish can be added over the top of this varnish once the painting is 1 year old, without the need to remove the existing varnish.

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