Art: Oil Mediums
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Thread: Oil Mediums

  1. #1
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    Oil Mediums

    Hey all,

    I recently started painting in oils. Right now I'm just putting the paint on straight, with a bit of liquin when I need it to spread better. Liquin seems to work fine in that respect, but doesn't really add to the "quality" of the paint, if that makes any sense. I plan on playing around with turp, linseed oil, and varnish when I get some time, but I was wondering if people wouldn't mind posting their favorite mediums or combination of mediums, and why. Also, does anyone use different mediums for different stages of their paintings? I.E. do the underpainting with turp, and then switch to something else for the rest? Any advice would be appreciated.

    Last edited by Tedsuo; November 26th, 2002 at 03:25 PM.
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    I'm a total newbie when it comes to oils, but i'm really really interested in this medium, for now i'm learning with gouache and acrylics but i will spend some money on good oils for christmas ...

    for now, with the little things i think i know about oil, i would do my first washes with oil diluted with turp, and then dilute less and less (quite the way i do with acrylics, fist washes with lot of water, and less and less ...)
    but i have no idea about the use of linseed oil, or varnish ... and i would be really happy too if other people would add their knowledge to this post

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    turp really isn't a medium. it breaks down the oil, like soap to oil. it's not a binder at all. i use it at the beginging of a painting when i'm sketching stuff, and even then, i don't use it straight, i usually dip alittle linseed oil or another medium with it. and after i get the sketch and a few things blocked in, i stop using the turp entirely, (only dip the brush in to clean some paint off)
    because of the stink, i use mineral spirites more than turps now, the brand i use is turpinoid ( ) catsup!
    anyhoot. here are some really nice mediums i've used or continue to use.
    this stuff from wn called oliopasto. it's an impasto medium that makes the colors jump. it's awesome stuff and comes in a tube. it's not too expensive but the smell makes me dizzy. i think it's made from the same stuff liquin is made of , some alkyd. (liquin has colbolt in it no?) speaking of alkyd, the current stuff i've fallen in love with is Galkyd (sp?) it's from gamblin, the guy that thinks he's batman, naming everything after himself. galkyd is like linseed oil but will become tacky within a few minutes, so if you like working on 2 hour old paintings, this is the stuff to buy. it's nice for glazing because it turns most colors transparent. unfortunitly, it yellows like mad.

    Plain old linseed oil is a pretty good medium for stability i guess because well, your paints are probably made of the same stuff. but i find it's too thin and watery. So i get the thicken linseed oil, it's good stuff, feels almost like stand oil (boiled linseed oil) but it's not, it dries much faster and handle alittle better. again it's great for colors!
    the oposite of these shiny mediums is wax. wax medium is nice if you want a matte finish. wax is actually better than oil because wax is forever. and as your painting you can actually feel the strokes. but becareful not to put too much with your paint.
    there's all sorts of other oils like poppyseed or hmm, i can't remember the darn name, but they put it in whites. those oils can be used as mediums because they're really clean and clear. unfortuntly they become very brittle after a while.

    alot of people mix their own mediums from the usual suspects, damar vanish, turp, oil.
    it's best to stay with one medium for an entire painting. for example, start sketch with turp, block it in, it'll dry in a few minutes, and then use linseed oil as you paint.

    edit- it's not such a hot idea painting with damar varnish because who knows? maybe in the future you might want to clean your painting. the varnish comes off during restoration. :beer:

    Last edited by jrr; November 27th, 2002 at 05:48 PM.
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    wow, thanxs a lot for these infos

    very helpful

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    Hey, thanks Jrr! That was helpful. Next paint I do I'll try turp and linseed oil as opposed to liquin. Good to know that damar varnish doesn't restore well, I'll avoid it as I'm anticipating a need for badly rendered paintings of fruit 300 years from now.

    Hehe, probably common knowledge, but I was looking at the ingredients and just realized that mixing turp and liquin results in a low-grade napalm. Gotta remember not to check my art supplies as carry-on next time I fly...

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    i heard prussian blue has a bit of cynide in it. :evilbat:

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    Yeah, and cadmium is supposed to kill you too. Probably wouldn't want to spread it on your sandwich.

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    i also start out with oil thinned with turp for the underpainting. then i use just straight oils, no mediums. one thing you need to know is that linseed oil slows down drying, and liquin speeds up drying. liquin will make your painting dry usually within 24 hours or so. if you start your paintings using a lot of mediums, the surface will become very slick, and your colors will get muddy and it will be hard to lay down your paint. that is one reason i dont use them. the only time i do is when i want some small, sharp details. or unless i am using the lift off technique.

    another thing to know if you are working on a painting over several days. you will notice that when your painting drys it will lose its luster and saturation of color. in order to bring it back to life you need to "oil up." to oil up i use a mixture of both linseed oil and liquin and then coat the whole painting. this will bring back your colors. MAKE SURE YOUR PAINTING IS DRY BEFORE YOU OIL UP!! after you oil up, it will feel like you are painting on wet paint, so laying down paint might be a little slippery.

    a little note about varnish as well. as jrr said, you can take the varnish off a painting using turp. you have to do this if you want to paint some more on a painting. an alternative is to use retouch varnish. after using the retouch you can still paint on top of it. the draw back is that retouch varnish will bond with the paints you mix it with, and if you try and remove the varnish (for restoration for example) some of the paint will come off with it. another way to varnish a painting is to use liquin. the drawback of liquin is that you can not remove it. also, in terms of archival purposes, you are supposed to wait 6 months to a year before varnishing your painting. some people say that there is a window of opportunity that will allow you to varnish before that. it is when the painting is dry to the touch, but actually not totally dry underneath. they say that is 2-3 weeks after you do the painting. if you miss that time though, you might as well wait the 6 months. also you are not supposed to use really thin oil underpaintings with turp if you want your paintings to last for 500 years....

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    Hey, thanks a lot. I tried starting a painting with turpeniod tonight; it was a very enjoyable experience. In a way, it felt kinda like watercolor, I dunno. Thanks for the advice.

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    err.... you didn't use the turpinoid throughout right??

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    Nope, I just used it to block in the basic shapes, then switched to straight oils.

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    How funny that I would stumble onto this topic during my first visit to this board. You see, I've recently discovered the joys of oil on paper. I'd tried oils several times before this but had never really gotten into them. I've always been a watebased kinda guy. But this semester I decided to try priming watercolor paper (over a fixed drawing) and painting over it with oils, using htem like a more transparent media. I got the idea from James Gurney's illustrations (yes, the Dinotopia guy.) The think is I frigging love it. Even more than watercolors. And yes, I've been using turpenoid (gamsol actually) as my thinner. I've heard from a couple people now about how since I'm using a solvent as a medium it's breaking down the pigment etc. etc. But the truth is that I really like the way it looks. Now what are the downsides to this? Will the painting degrade over time? I'm not really worried about that. Has anyone actually done this and had negative experiences? Oh and I tried this on canvas and it was horrible. Didn't work at all. It's a much different experience working on primed paper. Does anyone know of an oil medium that feels and acts like water/a solvent? I use dstand oil and hated it. It was like painting with molasses. Galkyd was a little better but was still to thick and oily for my taste. Any suggestions/opinions?

    Thanks,
    -Josh

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    Hey Dromond,

    Sounds like fun. What did you use to prime your paper?

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  14. #14
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    *rummages in box*

    It says Liquitex Basics Acrylic Gesso.

    Look here for some examples

    http://www.angelfire.com/realm2/dromond/index.html

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