Sunday, May 9, 2021

Tube Tips


Invented over 180 years ago, the collapsible paint tube was a brilliant innovation for painters and colormen alike.  Colormen, no longer having to store paint in pigs' bladders, which had a notoriously short shelf-life, were able to build up large inventories of paint.  Artists, often restricted to the studio when using oil paint because of the inconvenience of storage and transport, were able to take these very durable tubes to the field.  Impressionism and all the other “isms” to follow owe a lot to the humble paint tube.

But the paint tube is not without its problems.  Punctures, leaks, glued-on caps and more pester today's artist.  I thought I'd share some of my tips for handling paint tubes in the accompanying video.  (Can't see it?  Here's the direct link:  https://youtu.be/CG-mYtTEEmM)

5 comments:

junkgrl said...

I keep a simple v shaped nutcracker in my kit. It opens tubes well and not so large a tool. I find them at resale and junk shops without the tray and nut meat piiks. My biggest issue is even though the screw on area is clean the caps do not want to screw on straight. Very frustrating. And why is it always the reds or phalo blue that get a hole in the tubes leading to a mess all around. Lol. Thanks for the tips. I enjoy your blog and paintings.

Bob Rhodes said...

When cap refuses to budge when turned, I either run warm-to-hot water over the tube in the sink, or immerse the tube in a warm water bath for a minute or two.

Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

Thanks, Bob and junkgrl! Good suggestions.

violetta said...

Thank you. It would be nice if oil paint tubes had the same caps I saw on some acrylic tubes, where the cap has a little cap attached to the side, that just flicks open and save opening and fiddling with all the rest of it!

A. Decker said...

I keep regular "wire pliers" on hand for the really stuck caps, and gently but firmly squeeze the cap repeatedly, working my way around the cap. That almost always works.