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View Full Version : Any experience making your own mediums.


MagicMike
02-06-2019, 10:28 AM
Hey everyone! Even though my last post was met with both enthusiasm and controversy I want to inquire on another controversial topic. I have been interested in making my own mediums and have purchased some litharge along with the ingrediants to make black oil, maroger, and wax mediums. Have any of you out there experimented with making your own mediums of this type? If so what are your recommended sources for ingredients. I bought the litharge from a place called mineral works. https://www.mineralworks.net/

I got a pound for 14 dollars plus shipping which was a $8.50. I followed the insrtucitions on how to make black oil then Maroger from Peter Foster https://youtu.be/QYpKwl0LV6g

It turned out very well as far as I can tell. I also bought some natural beeswax that was filtered to remove all the solids and debris. I melted it down and further cleaned the leftover honey and pollen present. I opted for the yellow because I read it would not yellow any further but I think the next round I'll use naturally whitened beeswax. I made one wax medium with Brazilian Turpentine from Blue Ridge and another with stand oil from Utrecht.

I have swatches for the mediums drying and ageing for testing discoloration and or issues curing.

I am curious of others experiences making your own mediums of a similar type. What sources do you feel are the the best for the specialized material like litharge or gum mastic, and any tips you have. looking forward to hearing from you all.

Stay Curious...
Magic

MrsSellers
02-06-2019, 10:43 AM
Boy you are a glutton for punishment...

Natural pigments sells litharge but you got a better deal.

JustAStudent
02-06-2019, 11:03 AM
Does the Turp dissolve the beeswax or did you have to keep it heated to integrate them? I used to use it in soap-making and it was one of the more heat-intensive ingredients to dissolve.

MagicMike
02-06-2019, 11:07 AM
Boy you are a glutton for punishment...

Natural pigments sells litharge but you got a better deal.

Lol I just really enjoy making things and watching it turn from coffee with creamer color to black clear coffee color before my eyes.

MagicMike
02-06-2019, 11:08 AM
Does the Turp dissolve the beeswax or did you have to keep it heated to integrate them? I used to use it in soap-making and it was one of the more heat-intensive ingredients to dissolve.

I heated it but I am pretty sure it will dissolve with time I've heard it takes around 2 weeks.

MrsSellers
02-06-2019, 11:18 AM
Lol I just really enjoy making things and watching it turn from coffee with creamer color to black clear coffee color before my eyes.
I agree, the alchemy is half the fun! But I fear the majority of responses you get will be telling you how wrong you are instead of answering your questions.

Was your bulk litharge orange? The stuff I've seen for sale for artists was orange and looked like it would color the oil considerably. But then, I've never made black oil...perhaps this is why it is dark.

MagicMike
02-06-2019, 12:14 PM
I agree, the alchemy is half the fun! But I fear the majority of responses you get will be telling you how wrong you are instead of answering your questions.

Was your bulk litharge orange? The stuff I've seen for sale for artists was orange and looked like it would color the oil considerably. But then, I've never made black oil...perhaps this is why it is dark.

Yes it is orange. It turns it the color of coffee with creamer then when it reached the correct temp turns to clear black coffee color it is sooo cool!

I'm waiting on the negative Nancys and Neds. I just do not even give them the time of day, there are so many other people that are interested and participate constructively in posts to worry about the others.

contumacious
02-06-2019, 01:45 PM
I have made the following mediums with excellent results.

Cold Wax
I used Gamsol so I would not have turpentine fumes in the studio (Turpentine fumes make me sick.), plus filtered and sun bleached beeswax prill - nothing else added and no heat used. I purchased the wax in 25 pound bags since I use a LOT of it with my encaustics. None of the medium that I made about 4 years ago has yellowed. It was stored part of the time in ambient light and part of the time in a closed cabinet. I used the no heat method, soaking the wax in the Gamsol in a jar, stirring it once a day until well blended. It ended up extremely smooth and just the right consistency. Adding more Gamsol or more wax to adjust stiffness if needed. I did not add any Damar or oil to this, so it is essentially the same thing that Gamblin offers for a tiny fraction of the cost. I use it in oil painting, sealing watercolors and with encaustics. I don't like how soft the dried oil paints are with cold wax mixed in with them, but the matte look is nice plus the thickness it adds to the paint.

Maroger/Neo Megilp and Gel Medium
My main focus was to make a gel medium that held brush and knife strokes significantly better than Gamblin Alkyd Gel, but still buttery smooth to work with. I tried several different fillers and finally found the ideal mix of pure refined linseed oil and fumed silica. Pure walnut oil also worked and dried more slowly. Depending on the ratio, it could be made to behave like Neo Megilp, or pretty much any of the other gel mediums out there. One thing I was not able to do was to add any significant amount of alkyd or calcium carbonate. When either of those was introduced the crisp retention of brush / knife strokes was lost. The mix became self leveling which I absolutely did not want. I am still trying to find an alkyd resin that won't cause this. The fumed silica acts as a transparent filler so the mixture is very clear, strong and does not shrink / wrinkle when applied quite thickly like you would expect with thick paint alone.

Alkyd Mediums
I bought a pint of Williamsburg slow dry alkyd resin and experimented with making my own alkyd mediums using various drying oils. The Williamsburg makes a medium that is way too self leveling. My current effort is to come up with a matte alkyd medium that tends to retain brush strokes similarly to my current gel, but significantly faster drying from the addition of alkyd resin. Finding the right bulk sourced alkyd resin is turning out to be the biggest challenge since the sellers don't really cater to artists and the terms used to describe the resins are not clear to me. It looks like the ingredients are going to be a medium or fast drying alkyd resin, a matte sheen producing agent, a bit of fumed silica and a drying oil.

Hot Wax Varnish & Medium
I mixed this up to use a hard, glossy, final protective coat on encaustics, but it can be used on other materials as well. Beeswax, Damar Resin and Carnauba Wax. it is applied at 210-215 degrees F.

MagicMike
02-07-2019, 09:17 AM
Does anyone have information on using non Cold-Pressed linseed oil for making Black oil and Maroger? I have read where people say only use Cold-pressed and others say you can use refined. If anyone has used any oil other that Cold-Pressed linseed oil for their Black oil and Maroger could you weigh in and tell us your experience and recommendations?

Humbaba
02-07-2019, 10:26 AM
Hi,

I avoid using lead for personal reasons, I would like someday to give a try, but my kids move around a lot.

I have made several variations of Amber varnish panting medium , and keep a batch for possible future use stored somewhere, but due to the complexity of the process, I do not engage in its preparation anymore.

Because I live in an Island in the Caribbean, all the ingredients are difficult to obtain such as Stand Oil, which I had to order from the United States, an expensive brand of Walnut Oil, sold at the Supermarket, and Amber beads sold by Jewelers and Smugglers, Turpentine (difficult to find locally, prohibited to transport by the airlines).

The process to create the Medium, requires an area outdoors away from my neighbors, electricity, disposable pots and ceramic containers that withstand high temperatures, eye protection, an extinguisher, Chemical Mask.

It is quite fun.

MagicMike
02-07-2019, 11:54 AM
Hi,

I avoid using lead for personal reasons, I would like someday to give a try, but my kids move around a lot.

I have made several variations of Amber varnish panting medium , and keep a batch for possible future use stored somewhere, but due to the complexity of the process, I do not engage in its preparation anymore.

Because I live in an Island in the Caribbean, all the ingredients are difficult to obtain such as Stand Oil, which I had to order from the United States, an expensive brand of Walnut Oil, sold at the Supermarket, and Amber beads sold by Jewelers and Smugglers, Turpentine (difficult to find locally, prohibited to transport by the airlines).

The process to create the Medium, requires an area outdoors away from my neighbors, electricity, disposable pots and ceramic containers that withstand high temperatures, eye protection, an extinguisher, Chemical Mask.

It is quite fun.

LOL that sounds like my kind of fun! What island do you live on? I work with a few guys from the Caribbean.

stapeliad
02-07-2019, 12:36 PM
There have been several previous discussions on making your own maroger medium.

Here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=956194&highlight=maroger)

Here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=399760&highlight=maroger)

Here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=240191&highlight=maroger)

Here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=117047&highlight=maroger)

Here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23927&highlight=maroger)

There is more, you can do a search.

I'm pretty sure it can explode if not done properly, and it has to be stirred constantly.

MagicMike
02-07-2019, 01:10 PM
There have been several previous discussions on making your own maroger medium.

Here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=956194&highlight=maroger)

Here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=399760&highlight=maroger)

Here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=240191&highlight=maroger)

Here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=117047&highlight=maroger)

Here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23927&highlight=maroger)

There is more, you can do a search.

I'm pretty sure it can explode if not done properly, and it has to be stirred constantly.

Yeah I already read those threads and the first three are useless. The other threads do not come close to answering my questions or hit on any of the discussions I am interested in talking about.

This is why I don't want to even post on here you either get flamed or get chastised because apparently all topics have already been talked about and every answer to any question is just a search away from being reveled.

There is a lot of good information here without question, but to find anything you have to read thread after thread of someone telling the poster its already been discussed here is the thread and most of the time when you go to the thread its outdated the links do not work and it really does not answer the question fully anyways.

I'm sorry to vent but I knew this was going to happen the minute I asked the question. I'm just going to go back to only reading and not participating in discussions it isn't worth the time or headache.

Antonin
02-07-2019, 06:17 PM
Have tried Rembrandt Peal's leaded oil (from Thomas Sully's book) that isn't cooked?

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Feb-2019/1976029-Sullys_advice2.jpg

https://ia600407.us.archive.org/18/items/hintstoyoungpain00sull/hintstoyoungpain00sull.pdf
(look on page 33)

I made a very light colored gel 18 years ago mixing Peale's drying oil 1/2 and 1/2 with mastic varnish.
It makes a very firm gel.
This is the original gel I made. It's been in the refrigerator for 18 years. It's still just as firm without any separation. It's completely smooth when worked with the palette knife. I haven't looked at it for 18 years. At the time it's working qualities were identical to Maroger medium but I wasn't sure it would stay as a gel since Sully said "After the drying oil has been made for a month, (unless it has been frequently well shaken) it is no longer in a fit state for making meguilp." Obviously once mixed with mastic varnish it makes a very stable gel.


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Feb-2019/1976029-IMG_0890.JPG
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Feb-2019/1976029-IMG_0894.JPG

MagicMike
02-07-2019, 06:27 PM
Have tried Rembrandt Peal's leaded oil (from Thomas Sully's book) that isn't cooked?

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Feb-2019/1976029-Sullys_advice2.jpg

https://ia600407.us.archive.org/18/items/hintstoyoungpain00sull/hintstoyoungpain00sull.pdf
(look on page 33)

I made a very light colored gel 18 years ago mixing Peale's drying oil 1/2 and 1/2 with mastic varnish.
It makes a very firm gel.
This is the original gel I made. It's been in the refrigerator for 18 years. It's still just as firm without any separation. It's completely smooth when worked with the palette knife. I haven't looked at it for 18 years. At the time it's working qualities were identical to Maroger medium but I wasn't sure it would stay as a gel since Sully said "After the drying oil has been made for a month, (unless it has been frequently well shaken) it is no longer in a fit state for making meguilp." Obviously once mixed with mastic varnish it makes a very stable gel.

Very impressive and informative thank you for sharing!

WFMartin
02-14-2019, 03:54 PM
I think that an important question to ask yourself when deciding upon using (or making) any oil painting medium is what are the qualities I really need for the specific effects I am trying to create?

For example, mediums such as Marogers, and various wax-based mediums have a definite tendency to hold the dimensional brush strokes. Using such a medium when you wish to have smooth, blended edges of your subjects may actually work against you, making your operations of painting a bit more difficult.

I've used a form of Marogers Medium in the past. It was a form of leaded, Walnut Oil, mixed with Mastic Resin, made by a Wet Canvas member, and sent to me at no charge. The two, when mixed together formed a very thixotropic gel, and it seemed to function well for me. I used it in a couple of paintings.

However, I usually prefer my edges to be smooth, and fused, with very little evidence of brush strokes. For that purpose, a more conventional painting medium worked better for me than the Marogers. A form of un-leaded, water-washed, drying oil, combined with an appropriate solvent, and a bit of natural resin works better for my purposes than Maroger Medium did.:)

Just a thought I'd share with everyone.:)

RomanB
02-14-2019, 04:58 PM
I had numerous failures in creating mediums.

The worst series of experiments was with beeswax. I wanted to recreate the famous Russian wax & drying oil tempera. It was a very interesting paint which is simultaneously water-miscible, oil-miscible and dries relatively fast. I still have a few tubes of the original paint, but they are too old and mostly dried to unworkable state. Back to experiments, I tried to boil wax and linseed oil with KOH, to add other emulsifiers, to mix them using solvents, to grind resulting substances with pigments, in cool and hot state - nothing resembled the original. After a couple of weeks of futile efforts I surrendered.

Once I left a flask with oil which I wanted to become sun-bleached near a window and forgot about it. Unfortunately, its lid was too tight and with polymerised oil it became completely unscrewable. As a last resort to open it I took a large plumber's wrench and after a gentle move everything around was covered in linseed oil and glass shards.

MagicMike
02-20-2019, 09:18 PM
I think that an important question to ask yourself when deciding upon using (or making) any oil painting medium is what are the qualities I really need for the specific effects I am trying to create?

For example, mediums such as Marogers, and various wax-based mediums have a definite tendency to hold the dimensional brush strokes. Using such a medium when you wish to have smooth, blended edges of your subjects may actually work against you, making your operations of painting a bit more difficult.

I've used a form of Marogers Medium in the past. It was a form of leaded, Walnut Oil, mixed with Mastic Resin, made by a Wet Canvas member, and sent to me at no charge. The two, when mixed together formed a very thixotropic gel, and it seemed to function well for me. I used it in a couple of paintings.

However, I usually prefer my edges to be smooth, and fused, with very little evidence of brush strokes. For that purpose, a more conventional painting medium worked better for me than the Marogers. A form of un-leaded, water-washed, drying oil, combined with an appropriate solvent, and a bit of natural resin works better for my purposes than Maroger Medium did.:)

Just a thought I'd share with everyone.:)

Thank you for that wonderful insight, I know I forget to ask those basic questions before I start a painting. I think I’ll work on a checklist of things to consider before paint hits canvas. That may be a good topic if it hasn’t been asked already. “What are the questions everyone should ask before paint hits the surface” First I’ll do some searching for similar topics, don’t want to get scolded again. Lol

MagicMike
02-20-2019, 09:21 PM
I had numerous failures in creating mediums.

The worst series of experiments was with beeswax. I wanted to recreate the famous Russian wax & drying oil tempera. It was a very interesting paint which is simultaneously water-miscible, oil-miscible and dries relatively fast. I still have a few tubes of the original paint, but they are too old and mostly dried to unworkable state. Back to experiments, I tried to boil wax and linseed oil with KOH, to add other emulsifiers, to mix them using solvents, to grind resulting substances with pigments, in cool and hot state - nothing resembled the original. After a couple of weeks of futile efforts I surrendered.

Once I left a flask with oil which I wanted to become sun-bleached near a window and forgot about it. Unfortunately, its lid was too tight and with polymerised oil it became completely unscrewable. As a last resort to open it I took a large plumber's wrench and after a gentle move everything around was covered in linseed oil and glass shards.

Good story! You know we learn more from our mistakes then successes! Thank you for sharing.

JustAStudent
02-20-2019, 11:56 PM
I had numerous failures in creating mediums.

The worst series of experiments was with beeswax. I wanted to recreate the famous Russian wax & drying oil tempera. It was a very interesting paint which is simultaneously water-miscible, oil-miscible and dries relatively fast. I still have a few tubes of the original paint, but they are too old and mostly dried to unworkable state. Back to experiments, I tried to boil wax and linseed oil with KOH, to add other emulsifiers, to mix them using solvents, to grind resulting substances with pigments, in cool and hot state - nothing resembled the original. After a couple of weeks of futile efforts I surrendered.

Once I left a flask with oil which I wanted to become sun-bleached near a window and forgot about it. Unfortunately, its lid was too tight and with polymerised oil it became completely unscrewable. As a last resort to open it I took a large plumber's wrench and after a gentle move everything around was covered in linseed oil and glass shards.

Boiling linseed oil with Koh will make soap. Was that an intentional part of the process?

RomanB
02-21-2019, 12:34 AM
Boiling linseed oil with Koh will make soap. Was that an intentional part of the process?

Yes. I tried to replicate “Punic wax” medium, and one hypothesis about it is that it was saponified with alkali.

Gigalot
02-21-2019, 04:24 AM
I did many mediums trying to improve flexibility and less yellowing properties of linseed oil. I use modern materials for that.