Oil Painting Medium - Artist Forum
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post #1 of Old 11-11-2015, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Oil Painting Medium

As you may know, I paint in oils. Many of my oil painting operations involve layering, and glazing.

For that I use a medium whose recipe involves the following ingredients--each serving a specific purpose for the handling, and application of the oil paint.

Glazing Recipe:

1 portion Linseed Oil
1 portion Walnut Oil
1 portion Venice Turpentine
2 portions Oil of Spike Lavender

I also can provide another recipe, which employs Canada Balsam as the resin, rather than Venice Turpentine. I have found each of these recipes to be excellent for layering and glazing, with very low toxicity, and a delightful smell. Also, if I'm allowed to, I can also recommend an excellent source of these materials. Not sure if that's allowed, though.
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post #2 of Old 11-11-2015, 05:50 PM
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Using this glazing mix does it increase or decrease the drying time? I try to stay away as much as I can from the wet on wet techniques unless I am actually looking to blend colors and waiting for it to dry can be frustrating, so I always add some medium to speed up drying . I was using Walnut Oil....seemed like it would never dry! Then I switched to using Walnut Alkyd Medium. That speeds up the drying time to about a day. I also use Wilson Bickford's Glazing Medium. That speeds up drying also. Whenever I use Fast Flow White, the drying is forever. I believe it is Titanium White with Linseed oil.

I'm not much into making my own mixes unless they make it less expensive for me or are of superior quality to what can be bought ready made. What are the advantages of using the mix instead of using ready made medium? Also can you substitute odorless mineral spirits for the Turp?




Last edited by TerryCurley; 11-11-2015 at 05:52 PM.
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post #3 of Old 11-11-2015, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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In this mixture, the Oil Of Spike Lavender is the solvent. The Venice Turpentine is the resin, and it is as viscous as honey on a cold day.

I invented this medium mixture to satisfy all my glazing requirements, and a great deal of the selection is purposely based upon items which are slow drying. For glazing, and layering, I find that I need time to "push" my paint around, so for me, this medium is the best I've ever used. A slippery, smooth application is promoted by both the Walnut Oil, and the Oil Of Spike. Substitutions can be made, of course, but then the mixture becomes something other than that which I recommend.

I avoid all alkyd mediums, and I never use any commercial medium that does not publish all its ingredients on the label. Quite honestly, that eliminates most of the commercial mediums that are available. In my experience, most alkyd mediums tack up on the palette, and on the canvas much too soon to be useful in glazing. But, while they tack up very quickly on the palette, they seem to remain tacky on the canvas for at least as long a time as a traditional medium, and sometimes much longer. My medium remains open (wet) for nearly an entire day on the palette, yet it dries overnight, or at least within the next day, once I apply the paint to the canvas. I find it extremely useful in preforming my work.

For the type of work I do, I feel that I have to know the precise ingredients, as well as their proportions. This is for the primary purpose of making the paint with which I mix it handle the way I want it to, as well as being relatively archival, once I have applied it. While many mediums may cause the paint to handle, and flow appropriately, they may not be compatible with traditional oil paint.

Last edited by WFMartin; 11-11-2015 at 07:27 PM.
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post #4 of Old 11-12-2015, 06:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WFMartin View Post
In this mixture, the Oil Of Spike Lavender is the solvent. The Venice Turpentine is the resin, and it is as viscous as honey on a cold day.

I invented this medium mixture to satisfy all my glazing requirements, and a great deal of the selection is purposely based upon items which are slow drying. For glazing, and layering, I find that I need time to "push" my paint around, so for me, this medium is the best I've ever used. A slippery, smooth application is promoted by both the Walnut Oil, and the Oil Of Spike. Substitutions can be made, of course, but then the mixture becomes something other than that which I recommend.

I avoid all alkyd mediums, and I never use any commercial medium that does not publish all its ingredients on the label. Quite honestly, that eliminates most of the commercial mediums that are available. In my experience, most alkyd mediums tack up on the palette, and on the canvas much too soon to be useful in glazing. But, while they tack up very quickly on the palette, they seem to remain tacky on the canvas for at least as long a time as a traditional medium, and sometimes much longer. My medium remains open (wet) for nearly an entire day on the palette, yet it dries overnight, or at least within the next day, once I apply the paint to the canvas. I find it extremely useful in preforming my work.

For the type of work I do, I feel that I have to know the precise ingredients, as well as their proportions. This is for the primary purpose of making the paint with which I mix it handle the way I want it to, as well as being relatively archival, once I have applied it. While many mediums may cause the paint to handle, and flow appropriately, they may not be compatible with traditional oil paint.
Well I am excited about trying it. I need to buy the linseed oil, spike lavender, and Venice Turp. It will probably have to wait until at least next month. I have already spent the max on my art budget this month. To be honest I'm not very happy with the Wilson Bickford Glazing Medium. It has a darkness to it that I'm sure degrades the color of the paint .. but honestly not enough for me to worry about. If I could do your level of work I'd be much more upset with the that medium.

I'm finding that little things can make a big difference in results. I use the least expensive canvas because of costs and I never realized how much better I can paint on a well primed canvas until I started using Gesso to prime the canvas myself. What I am doing now is sanding the canvas, then putting on a coat of gesso, then sanding again, putting on gesso, then sanding again. This keeps the canvas from swallowing up all my paint and it makes for smoother strokes and I actually can see a difference in the final picture. Do you have any other suggestions for canvas preparation? Keep in mind I can't afford a good quality canvas...maybe some day.



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post #5 of Old 11-12-2015, 08:09 AM
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I'll have to try that concoction. I have been painting more in acrylics lately but want to get back into oils.
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post #6 of Old 11-12-2015, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
I'm finding that little things can make a big difference in results. I use the least expensive canvas because of costs and I never realized how much better I can paint on a well primed canvas until I started using Gesso to prime the canvas myself. What I am doing now is sanding the canvas, then putting on a coat of gesso, then sanding again, putting on gesso, then sanding again. This keeps the canvas from swallowing up all my paint and it makes for smoother strokes and I actually can see a difference in the final picture. Do you have any other suggestions for canvas preparation? Keep in mind I can't afford a good quality canvas...maybe some day.
Terry, what you describe that you are doing with your canvas preparation is almost exactly what I do. You can leave as much of the canvas weave showing as you care to. Sometimes I prefer a bit more texture to the canvas, and other times, not as much.

First, and foremost, many layers of acrylic primer beyond that with which the canvas comes already prepared, helps to assure the protection of the canvas fibers against the deterioration caused by the oil in the oil paint. Many artists who are new to oil painting don't realize that Linseed Oil rots canvas.

I sand after every 3 coats of acrylic primer. I use 150-grit sandpaper.
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Last edited by WFMartin; 11-12-2015 at 01:12 PM.
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post #7 of Old 11-12-2015, 01:49 PM
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How about that, I'm doing it right...wow.

I did not know that linseed oil will rot a canvas, but I do now. Thanks.



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post #8 of Old 11-13-2015, 05:03 PM
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Bill when you mix up your medium do you make just a little bit just for the day, or do you mix up a big batch in a bottle or a jar. I really am going to do this. I would prefer to mix up a big bunch but if it gets thick or a skin or something I won't do that.

Also do you use this to seal the painting after it dries?



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post #9 of Old 11-13-2015, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TerryCurley View Post
Bill when you mix up your medium do you make just a little bit just for the day, or do you mix up a big batch in a bottle or a jar. I really am going to do this. I would prefer to mix up a big bunch but if it gets thick or a skin or something I won't do that.

Also do you use this to seal the painting after it dries?
I mix up an ounce or two, of my medium, and I store it in an empty, discarded, medium jar, with an airtight lid. It keeps for a very long time, and when I find it getting low in the jar, I mix some more, and just pour it in on top of the remaining medium in the jar.

I buy a bunch of those little plastic medicine cups from the drug store--the kind that have a dozen "increments" on the side.....mg, oz, drams, teaspoons, etc., etc.

I use "drams to measure my ingredients. I pour 2 drams of Linseed Oil into the cup. Then I pour another 2 drams of Walnut Oil into the cup, bringing it up to 4 drams. Then I scoop out some of the very thick, viscous, Venice Turpentine with a palette knife, and place that into the measuring cup. After a time or two, it is very easy to estimate how much is required to bring the final measurement up to 6 drams. (That represents 1 portion of Linseed, 1 portion of Walnut, and 1 portion of Venice Turpentine.)

I mix these ingredients while they are in the medicine cup, stirring it with my palette knife (the one with the Venice Turpentine clinging to it). When it is thoroughly mixed, I pour this into my "reservoir" container (the discarded medium jar). Then, I pour enough Oil Of Spike into my measuring cup to make 4 drams (this represents 2 portions of Oil of Spike).

I stir this, around, basically for the purpose of cleaning the resin off my knife, and rinsing the measuring cup. Then, I pour this into my reservoir jar.

I cap it up, and shake it until it represents a homogenous mixture, with no striations being evident.

This is my painting medium. To use it, I pour about a half teaspoon of it into my medium cup clipped to my palette.

It is smooth in its flow, it is relatively non-toxic, it is slow-drying on the palette, yet it dries usually within one, or two days once applied to the canvas, it smells absolutely wonderful, and it is rather expensive. However, you only use a bare minimum of it when painting, so the cost gets rather "spread out" over several paintings.

NOTE:
Be careful.....there are some "imitation" versions of Venice Turpentine, with Shiva being one with which I am familiar. That stuff is NOT real, bona-fide, Venice Turpentine. Venice Turpentine is the unadulterated sap of a Larch Tree. The real stuff has a rather pleasant, "fruity" smell. It should NOT smell like Distilled Spirits of Gum Turpentine.

I purchase mine from a U. S. outlet of the Zecchi Art Company, in Florence, Italy. Jim and Jody Wahab, at Baden Treehouse in N. Carolina handles the Venice Turpentine.

It is not a good idea to use this, or ANY "painting medium" as a "final varnish". Final varnishes need to be removable, and must not bond, or cross-link with the surface of the painting under which it is being applied [as this medium will]. The reason is that all final varnishes yellow with age, and after many years, you want your varnish to be removable, and not become bonded with the surface of the painting. Mediums should be used within the painting; varnishes should be applied over the painting.

Last edited by WFMartin; 11-13-2015 at 05:36 PM.
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post #10 of Old 11-14-2015, 05:32 AM
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I'm thinking I may have a problem with getting the Venice Turpentine. Everything else should be easy to get (I think). I'll give it a shot. I'm the moderator and it's OK to recommend a place to purchase something but it's not OK to advertise your own business (which you are not doing, so it's cool).

OK so medium is not good to seal....Geeese I've been doing it on all my paintings. Mind you I don't expect them to be heirlooms or anything so I'm not too concerned about being able to remove the coat but I am concerned about the yellowing. Especially the stuff I am using. It yellows when it dries on the paper plate I use as a palette.

I was told that you can't put on Varnish until after the painting has dried for 6 months to a year. That will not work for me, unless of course it is some kind of exceptional painting that I plan to keep and not take down to the flea market.

So do you wait that long to varnish your paintings. If not what do you do?




Last edited by TerryCurley; 11-14-2015 at 06:21 AM.
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