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pleinair4me2
01-22-2019, 04:30 PM
If I paint in oils during the winter and can't open a window or use a fan, is it okay if I'm using walnut oil for a medium and no turps or mineral spirits?

Pinguino
01-22-2019, 05:40 PM
Welcome to WC! Your question has been asked many times before.

1. Be sure that the paints themselves do not contain any volatile solvents. Most artists oil paints do not. But some, especially the Alkyd kind (such as W&N Griffin) do contain some solvent, already in the paint.

2. Presumably you do not have chemical sensitivities, and are just worried about solvent fumes? If you have chemical sensitivities, then we cannot advise, as it's individual.

3. Yes, you can use a solvent-free oil (including walnut oil) if you wish. Some solvent-free oils have a touch of Alkyd, but that doesn't contradict my first point, because those products don't have enough Alkyd to require solvent. Read the labels.

4. When oil paint cures, it naturally releases some volatile organic compounds, of its own. These are not solvents, but are small pieces of the oil molecules. This is what gives the paint its characteristic odor when it is curing. Since this takes place over a period of time, you may or may not object to the odor.

5. You can clean your brushes with oil alone, finishing with soap and warm water. Many ordinary soaps will work just fine, but the one that is most commonly used is "Masters Brush Cleaner", since it also contains a conditioner for natural bristles. In any case, do not store the brushes while they contain oil, as the residual oil will cure within the birstles and damage the brush. Alternative is to store brushes immersed in liquid oil.

6. Many painters use hardly any medium, since oil paints naturally contain oil.

pleinair4me2
01-22-2019, 06:29 PM
Thank you for taking the time to give me such a detailed response.

I really appreciate your help. :wave:

DAK723
01-22-2019, 09:57 PM
Yes. Many folks paint and clean their brushes without solvents.

There are now many solvent free mediums that are available - in addition to just using 100% oil as you have suggested. Gamblin sells a couple, M. Graham has a solvent free alkyd and there are a number of others. Searching for "Solvent free oil painting medium" should give you more answers.

And, of course, one other option is to use Water-mixable oils. There are 5 or 6 brands available.

Don

Harold Roth
01-23-2019, 06:36 AM
What you are describing--using only walnut oil as a medium--works great for me. However, I have found that safflower oil is better for cleaning brushes. And of course cheaper. Jedwards (bulknaturaloils.com) is a decent source for mass quantities of oils.

plnelson
02-07-2019, 06:58 PM
If I paint in oils during the winter and can't open a window or use a fan, is it okay if I'm using walnut oil for a medium and no turps or mineral spirits?

You can clean your brushes in oil, but whether you can work solvent-free depends on your painting style. If you paint in layers, as many of us do, then you have to follow fat-over-lean principles, so your underpainting has to be lean, so you can't thin it with oil. I've had pretty good luck doing my underpainting in acrylic in the summer when the humidity is high so it doesn't dry too fast but where I live the air is super-dry in the winter and I find acrylics dry too fast. I've also done underpaintings in water-thinned WMO's. But I've had the best results doing my underpainting in OMS-thinned oils, which is hazardous. Remember low-odor does NOT = low toxicity.

sidbledsoe
02-08-2019, 11:47 AM
In the case of low odor artist quality mineral spirits, yes, it does in fact mean lower toxicity, that is not a matter of debate, it is a matter of scientific, well documented, fact. The OMS artists products available today, such as Gamsol, are comparable in toxicity to the same products that are used in cosmetics.
They have a lower PEL limit than many other solvents used in oil painting, plus they have a much lower evaporation rate.
Notice that I did not say non toxic, I said lower toxicity.

contumacious
02-08-2019, 12:16 PM
In the case of low odor artist quality mineral spirits, yes, it does in fact mean lower toxicity, that is not a matter of debate, it is a matter of scientific, well documented, fact. The OMS artists products available today, such as Gamsol, are comparable in toxicity to the same products that are used in cosmetics.
They have a lower PEL limit than many other solvents used in oil painting, plus they have a much lower evaporation rate.
Notice that I did not say non toxic, I said lower toxicity.

Based on my own personal experience over years of use of various solvents, Gamsol OMS is without question significantly less of an eye, throat, skin and lung irritant for me than most other brands of OMS. That is likely due in part to the known lower toxicity that Gamsol and similar materials have vs other more toxic OMS brands / types. Fumes from the Mona Lisa brand for example make me sick in short order. Klean Strip brand OMS is even more of an irritant for me than the other two mentioned.

Harold Roth
02-08-2019, 02:07 PM
If you paint in layers, as many of us do, then you have to follow fat-over-lean principles, so your underpainting has to be lean, so you can't thin it with oil.
You can paint in layers using the same amount of oil in each layer, and you are fine.

DAK723
02-08-2019, 02:47 PM
You can paint in layers using the same amount of oil in each layer, and you are fine.

You can also do an underpainting with no medium, just paint. It will be leaner than your next layers if you add oil.

Don

pleinair4me2
02-10-2019, 06:30 PM
You can also do an underpainting with no medium, just paint. It will be leaner than your next layers if you add oil.

Don

How can you scrub in an underpainting with no medium? My paint needs to have its wheels greased.

Delofasht
02-10-2019, 06:44 PM
If you paint in layers, as many of us do, then you have to follow fat-over-lean principles, so your underpainting has to be lean, so you can't thin it with oil.

This is a common misconception, just ensure your current layer is not going to dry faster than the layer below it (know which pigments and oils you are using in which layer). Another option is just to oil out each layer after any in which you have introduced any oil. This will ensure more oil in the next layer and thus a slower drying paint layer.