Oil Mediums [Archive] - Artist Forum

: Oil Mediums

12-29-2015, 11:00 AM
Hello All,

I've bought a few books to read to get a rough idea on what the hell I'm doing to try and get the basics together.

Painting mediums completely throw my mind completely because I just don't understand what they do, in what quantities to apply when to apply etc.

Also I believe certain painting techniques like wet on wet I've read somewhere that as you paint your layers of paints on top of other layers to get them to bind or something you much thin the paint slightly each layer to help I don't know lol.

Stuff I've seen in the oil paints categories are Gesso, Turpentine, Sansodor, Waster Mixable Varnishes, Matt Varnishes, Clear Finish Varnish, Linseed Oil, Varnish Oil, Liquin Original, Poppy Oil, Alkyd Flow Medium, Low Odour Thinners.

Now Varnishes are obvious to a certain extent there for coating a finished painting to protect from the elements.
Turpentine I believe you use to clean your brushes? same as Sansodor?
I'm assuming everything else is just stuff for thinning and thickening paint, fast and slow drying. Is this all gimmicks for someone who has no painting behind him.

The books are explaining a bit into what they are and why you use them but they don't go into to much detail on quantities and when to use them, if they do I've somehow missed it haha.

Thought I'd ask before ordering stuff I won't need to start.

12-29-2015, 06:01 PM
Well mostly, unless you are doing a wash, you will use mediums only a tiny bit with the paint. I usually will just dip my brush in the medium and then mix it into the paint...only a very little bit. How much to mix is dependent on what you are doing with the paint and it's something that just comes with practice.

If you want a smooth flow of your paint onto the canvas you can cover the canvas with a very light coat of medium and your paint will glide for you. This is wonderful for skies. Remember that an oil medium will increase the drying time and an alkyd medium will decrease the drying time.

Resin will thicken the paint and make the drying time pretty fast on thick impasto type painting. I use something called Painters Butter, I get it from Jerry's Artarama. It is a thick Resin.

The general rule for wet on wet is the lower coats should be thinned out and as you add layers each coat is thicker. Generally referred to as fat over lean.

That's about all I know to share about mediums. I do find them very helpful and would not want to do a painting without them. Like when you are doing the end branches of a tree with a script liner you want to thin down your paint a bunch and you can write the branch on like calligraphy. Way Cool!

12-30-2015, 10:51 AM
What do you sue to clean your brushes, Turpentine? Just wondering if its worth ordering like the big cans of turpentine rather than tiddly bottles?

Thanks explaining the wet on wet I got it the wrong way round thinking you thin as you went but you start thin and thicken.

Do you do 2 or 3 layers of gesso on the canvas before you start? or is that completely preference and depending how smooth you want the paint to spread around?

Thanks my plan is to focus mainly on skyies to start with and then once there dry to flaff about adding trees on the canvas I already used just a bit of fun and practice hehe.

12-30-2015, 05:41 PM
I used to use the canvas just as it was bought, then I heard about these really good canvases that primed several times and how much better the painting comes out on them. Well I can't afford those really expensive canvases like from "Masterpiece" so what I do is sand down the canvas and apply gesso, then sand it again and apply gesso again and then sand it one last time. It makes for a great surface to paint on.

For cleaning brushes I use Odorless Mineral Spirits. I know a lot people worry about the toxicity with Mineral Spirits and Resin and stuff like that, but I'm willing to live with the risk. I do a lot of painting and a gallon will last me about 6 months. What I do is let the dirty stuff sit overnight and the mineral spirits will separate from the paint gook. Then I pour out the clear mineral spirits into another Jar and discard the paint gook. Actually I accumulate the paint gook in a separate jar and when it gets a bunch I give it to my husband to burn it in the burn barrel....we live in a very rural part of the country.

12-30-2015, 08:37 PM
TerryCurley I hope you put the jar with the mineral spirits somewhere outside over night and don't sleep with that in the room...that thing is very toxic...veeery.My mother used to tell me that the only thing that cleans well oil paints out of brushes is...oil.So she used to clean them with sunflower oil..then after all the paint was gone she washed them well with detergent.It really works you know :P...

12-31-2015, 06:40 AM
I'm going to have to try using sunflower oil. It would be a lot less expensive to be sure and easy to get and no smell.

12-31-2015, 10:58 AM
I'm going to have to try using sunflower oil. It would be a lot less expensive to be sure and easy to get and no smell.

Oh I used canola oil for my last paintings...just as good...

01-01-2016, 12:51 PM
Thanks Asancta and Terry that's helped me out :D.

You know them 1" - 2" brushes Artists like Bob Ross and Kevin Hill use and sell in their brush ranges where can one find these brushes unless buying there own brush lines?

Can't seem to find them on the couple sites I've been ordering stuff from.


(-EDITED-) Managed to find a Georgian Oil Brush from Daler Rowney that's 2".

01-01-2016, 04:19 PM
At Jerry's Artarama you can get Wilson Bickford's Scenery brushes. The difference is they are beveled, but I think they are even better than the one's from Bob Ross. Hobby Lobby carries Bob Ross products and you can order from them online if there isn't a store near you.

01-01-2016, 05:01 PM
Insy One word-Amazon.com

01-06-2016, 07:44 AM
Oh I used canola oil for my last paintings...just as good...

I've been using baby oil to clean my brushes for the past year or so, and it works great! It disolves the oil paint well, and washes out with soap really easily. Plus it's good for your skin.

I work in an enclosed space where ventilation is a concern, so I stay away from all toxic solvents. For my medium, I use pure linseed oil. It does the job of thinning out the paint, and does not change the drying time that much.

If you have good ventilation, I recommend using 1 part turpentine, 1 part linseed oil and 1 part Damar varnish. This will give your paint a bit more luster, and will also get a little bit more sticky after about half an hour. That allows you to more easily add layers to thin areas.

Hope it helps.

If you'd like to see some of my paintings: http://alexbox.com

01-06-2016, 08:04 AM
Your paintings are wonderful lxnyc. Feel free to put your web site in your signature. I also invite you to post your paintings in an album on this site. You are a great asset to the art community.

01-07-2016, 01:20 PM
Thank you Terry. I added a gallery of some of my latest work. Didn't know I could do that. Thanks again.