Oil Painting Medium [Archive] - Artist Forum

: Oil Painting Medium


WFMartin
11-11-2015, 04:52 PM
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.

TerryCurley
11-11-2015, 05:50 PM
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?

WFMartin
11-11-2015, 07:05 PM
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.

TerryCurley
11-12-2015, 06:03 AM
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.

Butterfly88
11-12-2015, 08:09 AM
I'll have to try that concoction. I have been painting more in acrylics lately but want to get back into oils.

WFMartin
11-12-2015, 01:09 PM
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.

TerryCurley
11-12-2015, 01:49 PM
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.

TerryCurley
11-13-2015, 05:03 PM
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?

WFMartin
11-13-2015, 05:32 PM
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.

TerryCurley
11-14-2015, 05:32 AM
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?

TerryCurley
11-14-2015, 06:02 AM
I see that Jerry's Artarama has the imitation Venice Turpentine. This is about the price range I can afford. I understand that it smells more but other than that will it work? I think you already know I need to watch the budget a little.

I checked out The Art Treehouse (The Treehouse is a restaurant LOL) and I could not find Vencie Turpentine for sale. I did see Canada Balsam which you recommended on another post that I saw and it's not too expensive.

WFMartin
11-14-2015, 08:49 PM
Terry, the newer, synthetic-resin varnishes can be applied much sooner after the painting has become "touch-dry".

I use Gamblin's GamVar Varnish. I also use Winsor & Newton's Artist's Varnish. When I use W & N, I mix equal parts of Gloss Varnish, and Matte Varnish, creating a satin sort of sheen.

Both Winsor & Newton Artist's Varnish, and Gamblin's GamVar are synthetic resin varnishes, and they can each be applied a month or so after the painting has become dry to the touch.

There is a process called "oiling out" that can be performed as a preliminary operation to that of applying a final varnish. Oiling out is the application of a very thinned coat of Linseed Oil to the surface of the painting, and yes....it IS very similar to your applying a medium.

However in this case, I dilute the Linseed Oil with 3 parts of Odorless Mineral Spirits. I wipe it onto the surface of the dried painting, paying special attention to allowing the darker, Umber colors to "soak up" the oil. Then I immediately wipe it off. I use a piece of T-shirt, or bedsheet material, for both the application, as well as the wiping off process.

I allow the applied Linseed Oil to dry for about the same length of time as if I had applied a layer of paint. Then, I apply a final varnish over it. The Oiling out application seals the painting, without adding anything but Linseed Oil, and it promotes better appearance of the final varnish when it is finally applied.

TerryCurley
11-15-2015, 07:45 AM
Terry, the newer, synthetic-resin varnishes can be applied much sooner after the painting has become "touch-dry".

I use Gamblin's GamVar Varnish. I also use Winsor & Newton's Artist's Varnish. When I use W & N, I mix equal parts of Gloss Varnish, and Matte Varnish, creating a satin sort of sheen.

Both Winsor & Newton Artist's Varnish, and Gamblin's GamVar are synthetic resin varnishes, and they can each be applied a month or so after the painting has become dry to the touch.

There is a process called "oiling out" that can be performed as a preliminary operation to that of applying a final varnish. Oiling out is the application of a very thinned coat of Linseed Oil to the surface of the painting, and yes....it IS very similar to your applying a medium.

However in this case, I dilute the Linseed Oil with 3 parts of Odorless Mineral Spirits. I wipe it onto the surface of the dried painting, paying special attention to allowing the darker, Umber colors to "soak up" the oil. Then I immediately wipe it off. I use a piece of T-shirt, or bedsheet material, for both the application, as well as the wiping off process.

I allow the applied Linseed Oil to dry for about the same length of time as if I had applied a layer of paint. Then, I apply a final varnish over it. The Oiling out application seals the painting, without adding anything but Linseed Oil, and it promotes better appearance of the final varnish when it is finally applied.

OY Vey...there is so much to this I didn't know. Perhaps for the paintings I'm selling at the flea market for $5 - $15 I could just skip sealing them all together? Would that be a terrible thing to do? I just finished some Christmas paintings and want to get them up in time to sell for Christmas.

For ones that I am keeping or giving to a friend or family I will follow your directions and get the synthetic varnish. I'll have to practice the oiling thing. Somehow putting linseed oil and mineral spirits on a freshly dried painting scares the Dickins out of me.

WFMartin
11-15-2015, 02:29 PM
Terry,......If you do nothing else to your paintings prior to selling them, please apply a protective coat of varnish.

Forget the oiling-out. Just use a synthetic varnish, such as GamVar.

Your paintings will thank you for it. :wink: And, so will your clients.:biggrin:

And, why would applying Linseed Oil and OMS to the surface of your dried painting scare the Dickens out of you? You were willing to apply your painting medium to the surface, and my suggestion of diluted Linseed Oil is far less dangerous to your painting's "well-being" than applying a painting medium.

TerryCurley
11-15-2015, 07:00 PM
I was thinking of the mineral spirits wiping off the paint but then you are right the medium has a solvent in it doesn't it. It retrospect it was a silly statement.

OK you convinced me on the varnish. I just have to start doing better painting so I bring in more money so I can at least cover the costs of doing them.

WFMartin
11-16-2015, 07:40 PM
I was thinking of the mineral spirits wiping off the paint but then you are right the medium has a solvent in it doesn't it. It retrospect it was a silly statement.

OK you convinced me on the varnish. I just have to start doing better painting so I bring in more money so I can at least cover the costs of doing them.

If I were you, I'd consider using my other medium recipe that uses Canada Balsam, instead of Venice Turpentine. You can purchase both the Canada Balsam, AND the Oil of Spike from Art Treehouse, located in Madison, Wis. Robert Maynord is the owner. Tell him I recommended his company to you.

That other recipe is as follows:

1 portion Canada Balsam
2 portions Linseed Oil
2 portions Walnut Oil
2 portions Oil of Spike Lavender

And, no, .....once a painting has dried, solvent will not dissolve the paint (really the Linseed Oil, which is the paint's binder). That is the reason it's so safe to oil-out, or to apply a varnish to the surface of a dried painting. that is also the reason it's safe to remove a final varnish from your painting with solvent, without dissolving the surface of your painting.

TerryCurley
11-17-2015, 05:34 AM
Thank you Bill. I sure would appreciate hearing some words of wisdom about doing a painting. Maybe you can start some more threads like this one only on different subjects?

Things like when to use thin layers of glazing when to use thick rich paint. Sequence of doing a painting. That's something I often screw up. I'll be painting away and then realize...Oh shot I should have done such and such first.

I'm always struggling with composition. That's why I do a lot of tutorials. Most of the time when I do a tutorial I mute it and listen to music and just watch the sequence that he/she is doing things.

And color theory.