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MarcF
03-30-2019, 01:52 AM
I've got OMS (Gamsol), Galkyd and Linseed oil. I might have some Stand oil as well. I bought them because the guy in the YouTube video mentioned them. I use Gamsol pretty liberally - to clean brushes and to thin paint to an extent. But honestly I have no idea how, when, or why to use these other mediums. I do know they affect drying time but I've basically been using paint straight from the tube or mixing on a palette with other paint straight from the tube, or with a little oms.
Can we keep this simple? Why would I add the oil? And Linseed or Stand? And I know there are different kinds of Linseed - oh yes plus Walnut Oil, Safflower Oil - etc. What are we trying to achieve here, by adding the oil. Why do "they" say don't use paint straight out of the tube? Also I hate the feel of the gesso on the canvas when I've primed over an already primed canvas. My last painting I just put down a heavy first layer of paint for a background, right over the canvas board with no additional priming and had no problems painting over that. (paint I was going to throw away and said, oh, what the H and smeared it on a canvas board with a palette knife). And I know everyone has their own methods etc but what are your thoughts on adding oil vs thinner etc? And I've heard the "fat over lean" rule as well. What's the problem with using the paint as it comes out of the tube - as long as it's reasonably spreadable?

sidbledsoe
03-30-2019, 06:59 AM
What are we trying to achieve here
Different things for different artists at different times.
Some want paint thinner, slower or faster drying, more glossy,
waxier, more resinous, oilier, stickier etc.

what are your thoughts on adding oil vs thinner
When I need it, I just add a little bit of Gamsol and I don't dilute with any oil.
All I want from a medium is to thin the consistency for easier application such as lean layers, details, fine lines, etc.,.. bam, that is it, there is no other reason for me to use medium.
Solvent will dilute the consistency much better than oil, far less is needed.
Oil dilutes master's artist's quality paint down to student level paint.
Oil messes with the fat over lean rule, you want thinner paint first, add more oil to thin and there you have it, fat paint.
Oil slows the drying.

What's the problem with using the paint as it comes out of the tube
Tube paint is often is too thick for me, especially so for the first layers, so I thin it down a bit and it only takes a little solvent for that.

Ron Francis
03-30-2019, 07:16 AM
Painting straight out of the tube is best for longevity.
Most manufacturers make their paint with the best proportion of oil to pigment. It's called Critical Pigment Volume Concentration (CPVC).
Don't let anyone tell you that you should be using mediums.
They are only used if an artist can't manipulate the paint from the tube to achieve the effect they want.
Eg, it's difficult to paint long thin lines., and it's easier to glaze when a medium is added.

Linseed is the best medium as far as longevity goes. You can add a little to your paint to loosen it.
You don't need any solvent in it, although many recommend a medium mixture of 50:50 solvent and linseed.
I personally don't use solvent any more in a medium, and it has solved issues like the value changing as the paint sets up. Also, evaporating solvent from the canvas etc is toxic.

Stand oil is linseed that has been heated in a vacuum at a high temperature.
It is more viscous than linseed, (like honey), but the benefits are that it creates a more robust and less yellowing film.
It is also more levelling, like an enamel.
I add a little to my medium for added strength, but as a medium alone, it would be too viscous.
Some mix it with solvent to make it more manageable, but when the solvent evaporates from the canvas, it will become viscous again and be more difficult to blend.

I haven't used walnut, but I believe it is less viscous than linseed, so it may be useful for thinning your paint than linseed.
It's supposed to be less yellowing than linseed, but according to recent studies, (according to George O'Hanlon from Natural Pigments), they all yellow to much the same degree in the end.

Safflower is a binder used to bind some tubed paints because it's less yellowing. Particularly whites and blues.
I don't know if it's useful as a medium. It doesn't form a very good film, so I wouldn't use it.

CharlesCM
03-30-2019, 04:21 PM
I just use liquin, I like it. I like paint in thin like glazes, then thick imasto style paint at the end for things like highlights and anything I want to really pop out.

I have two solvents I use, one is gamsol for quick on the spot brush cleaning and wiping down the palette(i tend to paint with a handful of brushes, constant cleaning is a must), the other is a natural oderless turp, its citrus based... i use this for cleaning brushes at the end. am i doing it right? probably not, but it works for me.

paint straight out of the tube is often very thick and it limits the range of possible colors (i think theres like what a total of 160 colors you can purchase), mixing gives you color possibilities that are limitless... and cheaper than buying 100 tubes of paint.

If you hate the feeling of gesso you can always apply a couple thin layers of white (or whatever color you want really) over the painting you want to cover up and begin your new painting.

Im no expert so take this with a grain of salt, just my opinion on what works for me.

DAK723
03-30-2019, 06:02 PM
Ron has given you a very good summary of using various mediums. As Sid mentioned, the main reason to use mediums is to thin the paint so that it flows more off the brush. If you are happy with the way the paint handles, then you can certainly use paint straight from the tube without adding anything. I have used a medium in only about 5% of my paintings over the past 35 years, so using no medium definitely works well for me. Anyone who says that you shouldn't use paint straight from the tube doesn't know what they are talking about - unfortunately a common problem on the internet.:eek:

Don

DAK723
03-30-2019, 06:05 PM
...paint straight out of the tube is often very thick and it limits the range of possible colors (i think theres like what a total of 160 colors you can purchase), mixing gives you color possibilities that are limitless... and cheaper than buying 100 tubes of paint.
Not sure I understand you on this, but painting straight from the tube just means not adding any medium. You can still mix those tube colors into all the varieties that you would when using a medium.

Don

CharlesCM
03-30-2019, 07:17 PM
Not sure I understand you on this, but painting straight from the tube just means not adding any medium. You can still mix those tube colors into all the varieties that you would when using a medium.

Don

My fault i thought the OP was referring "from the tube" for color purposes(anytime ive heard that its been in reference to colors, it is painting with just the color in the tube without mixing with others), obviously medium isn't required... its just something for preference and taste. kinda like salt and pepper... you don't need it to enjoy the meal.

sorry for the mix up. <:

MarcF
03-30-2019, 08:24 PM
Hey - cool. No mix-up at all on my end. Yes, when I said straight from the tube, I didn't mean I don't mix colors on the palette. I just meant no medium, as noted. I think we're all clear on that. And I have heard it said in a few YouTube vids to always use some form of medium as in thinner or oil, not straight from the tube. But I am finding for the most part, the paint spreads pretty well or maybe with just a touch of OMS. Very easy to use too much. The paint in the tube works fine, either unmixed with other paint or mixed. There's always a little oil preceding the paint when I squeeze - esp with a new tube. I guess I just have to experiment and find what I like. I knew this much anyway.
CharlesCM you mentioned "liquin" for glazes? Is this anything like Galkyd (which I already have). It also confers a little glossiness. I haven't thought to use it since I ruined an early painting by using waaayyyyyy tooooo much.

CharlesCM
03-30-2019, 09:24 PM
Hey - cool. No mix-up at all on my end. Yes, when I said straight from the tube, I didn't mean I don't mix colors on the palette. I just meant no medium, as noted. I think we're all clear on that. And I have heard it said in a few YouTube vids to always use some form of medium as in thinner or oil, not straight from the tube. But I am finding for the most part, the paint spreads pretty well or maybe with just a touch of OMS. Very easy to use too much. The paint in the tube works fine, either unmixed with other paint or mixed. There's always a little oil preceding the paint when I squeeze - esp with a new tube. I guess I just have to experiment and find what I like. I knew this much anyway.
CharlesCM you mentioned "liquin" for glazes? Is this anything like Galkyd (which I already have). It also confers a little glossiness. I haven't thought to use it since I ruined an early painting by using waaayyyyyy tooooo much.

liquin from winsor and newton is medium that is a great general purpose. it's great for thinning down paint, i find that it spread the paint much easier. however i like my paint slightly thinner than say medium body of paint. it is quite glossy, which i like (i also varnish with demar which is quite glossy). the medium itself looks like mayonnaise to me, well except it isn't white lol. I've read various people having problems with it yellowing over time... i personally haven't seen it myself but im sure someone could fill in the blanks about that.

I use it all my paintings, i have yet to ruin a painting with it. there is a recipe for actually making your own liquin. off the top of my head i cant remember what it was... i think it was linseed oil stand oil and something else, probably wrong about that. either way i figure its just easier and cheaper to just buy the liquin… no mess no fus.

DAK723
03-31-2019, 10:54 AM
Both Liquin and Galkyd are similar in that they are Alkyd mediums. Alkyd mediums are known for their faster drying characteristics.

Don

Colorado_Ed
03-31-2019, 01:05 PM
As others have said, if the paint acts like you want it to, you don’t need mediums. Tons of people use nothing but a touch of solvent.

Mediums are great if you want to change the characteristics of paint. Do you want it to dry slower or faster? Do you want your finished product to have a different texture or sheen? Do you want it super thin, like for a glaze? It gets to be more like alchemy as people tweak their formulas to get oils to behave as they want.

As far as “fat over lean” goes, it never made sense to me until I heard Bob Ross (Heresy! I know!) describe it as “a thin paint will stick to a thick paint.” If you’re painting wet on wet with multiple layers, the bottom layers should be thinned as little as possible and when you thin your paints new layers will stick to them better.

MarcF
03-31-2019, 07:16 PM
As others have said, if the paint acts like you want it to, you don’t need mediums. Tons of people use nothing but a touch of solvent.

Mediums are great if you want to change the characteristics of paint. Do you want it to dry slower or faster? Do you want your finished product to have a different texture or sheen? Do you want it super thin, like for a glaze? It gets to be more like alchemy as people tweak their formulas to get oils to behave as they want.

As far as “fat over lean” goes, it never made sense to me until I heard Bob Ross (Heresy! I know!) describe it as “a thin paint will stick to a thick paint.” If you’re painting wet on wet with multiple layers, the bottom layers should be thinned as little as possible and when you thin your paints new layers will stick to them better.
I'm going to try something on my next painting.
It features a beach and an ocean.
I'd like the ocean to shimmer a bit.
May mix a little Galkyd into the ocean and see if it gives me that shimmer. Or maybe only apply it to certain areas.

Bob Ross painted so effortlessly, and never seemed to have trouble with wet paint adhering to the canvas. I don't think his methods are heresy at all (I know you meant it in fun). But his comment seems to be the opposite approach to fat over lean, if you're applying a thin layer on top of a thick layer. I'm, in fact, trying to get away from layering other than details at the end. I like brushing paint on the raw canvas - or anyway, as it comes from the store already primed. Once there's paint on the surface, I don't always have the patience to let it dry completely. Ah - that's where the drying accelerators come in.

WFMartin
03-31-2019, 07:40 PM
Just as a suggestion, if you truly plan to use paint as it comes from the tube, only, rather than including a painting medium, I believe you'd do well to choose a paint that is the most compatible with that goal.

Many paints seem too viscous, and "stiff", as they come from their tubes. I would recommend that you select M. Graham Oil Paints. They are of a softer, more manageable viscosity, and are the direct opposite of such stiff paints as Old Holland (a good paint, but very stiff, in some of their colors).

M. Graham paints would be my choice of oil paint if I were to decide to use no painting medium.

MarcF
03-31-2019, 10:25 PM
I'm not opposed to thinning out stiff paint, nor do I avoid using mediums for any reason other than, if I'm going to add something to paint, it has to have a purpose. I can see adding some oms to make the paint spread more easily - especially if it's been on the palette drying for a few hours. It's the other side of the coin - the oil - that I don't grasp.
Also I have a ton of W&N paint already.

TomMather
04-01-2019, 08:01 AM
As Bill mentioned, some brands of paint are thinner and smoother in consistency, making them better for mixing and painting with no mediums. However, you might prefer thicker paints if you like to paint thickly with texture— or impasto.

My main reason for using mediums is to speed the drying time for oil paints. Some colors are very slow to dry — such as alizarin crimson, cadmium red and yellow, titanium white — and would require me to wait a week or longer between adding layers. I am not that patient. I have used various alkyd mediums that greatly speed drying times, such as Liquin and Galkyd, but have settled on Gamblin Solvent Free Medium as my preferred option. I can usually add another layer of paint after 1-2 days using any of these alkyd mediums. If used in correct proportions, such mediums have little or no effects on the vibrancy of colors.

If you paint slowly and don’t want paints to dry faster, then alkyd mediums are not a good choice.

Pinguino
04-01-2019, 11:28 AM
Mediums are not always needed, as noted above.

I sometimes use a gel (Gamblin's Solvent-Free Gel) as additive to a paint that is very thick, as it comes from the tube. For example, my Titanium-Zinc White is very thick and hard to brush, compared to the various modern organic-pigment colors I have. Thus, I add a little gel to the white, so that it brushes and mixes with the same feel as the other colors.

If your concern is drying time, then consider using a siccative. The way that paint dries with alkyd (in terms of drying stages) is different than the way paint dries with siccative, although many alkyd mediums (which are not purely alkyd) have both.

rankamateur1
06-03-2019, 01:41 PM
Do any of you use cold wax medium? I just saw the Eileen Hogan exhibit at the Yale Center for British Art, and she uses beeswax in some form in combination with oil paint. I'm trying to figure it out. Gamblin says its product only hardens to the consistency of a beeswax candle. Any experience?

Luana

Pinguino
06-03-2019, 02:24 PM
Do any of you use cold wax medium? I just saw the Eileen Hogan exhibit at the Yale Center for British Art, and she uses beeswax in some form in combination with oil paint. I'm trying to figure it out. Gamblin says its product only hardens to the consistency of a beeswax candle. Any experience?You can search for cold wax on the WetCanvas site, and see various results. However, you will probably get what you need faster and better, using cold wax site:wetcanvas.com in Google search.

I don't use the stuff, but recall reading posts by others who do.

WFMartin
06-03-2019, 03:18 PM
I'm not opposed to thinning out stiff paint, nor do I avoid using mediums for any reason other than, if I'm going to add something to paint, it has to have a purpose. I can see adding some oms to make the paint spread more easily - especially if it's been on the palette drying for a few hours. It's the other side of the coin - the oil - that I don't grasp.
Also I have a ton of W&N paint already.

Oil (such drying oils as Linseed, and Walnut, for example), is the "stuff" that binds the paint pigment particles together. The reason for using oil as at least ONE ingredient in your medium is that you are less likely to experience the effects of an "underbound" paint, once it has dried. If an overabundance of solvent is used instead of oil, it tends to literally wash the pigment particles free of the oil binder, leaving the paint chalky, and powdery, once it has dried. It will literally rub off on your hand when touched.

The best medium, in terms of longevity, and consistency, is a mixture that includes both a solvent, and an oil.

Long story, short: If you use only a solvent as a "medium", it can tend to create an underbound paint film, that will chalk off, and become powdery once it has dried. That is NOT a sound surface for either painting over, or as a final surface.

If you use only oil as a "medium", it can create some very long drying times, and some say it may tend to wrinkle as it dries.

Best is to create a medium of perhaps equal portions of a drying oil, and a solvent.

A good, sound, typical medium would be equal portions of Linseed Oil and Odorless Mineral Spirits. Use that to "condition" your paints, and decide if it makes your paint flow appropriately for the effects you are trying to create. If not, change the proportions of Oil and Solvent, but be sure to keep SOME Oil in the mixture, because that is the binder that holds the pigment together.

The medium that I prefer is a bit more "exotic", as some would claim, but it basically accomplishes the same thing, and it is quite abundant with oil.

AnnieA
06-04-2019, 08:41 AM
There's some good info here, but one point I noticed differs from my own experience with the alla prima style (alla prima means "all at once," in other words, applying wet paint over wet paint without letting lower layers dry first). Bob Ross apparently gave the advice to apply increasingly thinner layers as one paints, but in my experience, what works best is the other way around: the first layer being thin paint with just a little gamsol added to make it flow better. This first layer is to lay down the major value/hue shapes, then the second and subsequent layers all are a little thicker, as one builds the surface of the painting with additional color/detail. One can accomplish these additional layers with paint straight out of the tube or with paint+medium. The medium is used to make the later paint flow more easily over the lower layers with out lifting them to any significant degree. The final touches, representing the lightest highlights, are the thickest of all. This, for me, is accomplished with some kind of impasto medium (Gamblin's Galkyd Gel, Natural Pigments Impasto Medium or Art Treehouse Impasto Medium).

If trying to paint without solvents, as many here do, one would eliminate the solvent from the first layer and perhaps instead use Gamblin's Solvent Free Medium, although in all honesty, I still haven't found a completely satisfactory way of putting that first block in down without solvent, and note that Solvent Free Medium is a fatty medium, so subsequent layers would need to be fatter.* Later layers would be painted using Gamblin's Solvent Free Gel, or the Natural Pigments (although I'm not certain about it's fat content, and need to research it - it would need to be fatter than the first layer, so oil might need to be added) or Art Treehouse impasto mediums mentioned above. There are other mediums to achieve the same effects, but these are the ones I'm familiar with.

* Some people have suggested using acrylic paint to do a block in, letting it dry and then proceeding as usual with oil paint. This is probably the best approach (for a solvent-free painting), but is no longer alla prima, since the block in needs to dry before proceeding.

For a contemporary alla prima style, my understanding is that most painters use some kind of medium. I find Galkyd Gel to be a very good choice if you aren't worried about solvent use. It's use creates a paint that is thicker and that slides easily (with the proper brush use) over other wet paint. It is similar to Liquin, but since it contains Gamsol, does not release the same level of toxic fumes.

Note that none of this is necessary if you're having good results with the approach you're already using. Just make sure to follow the fat-over-lean rule: subsequent layers need to be fatter (or at least as fat) as the one below. And the use of solvent should be minimal to avoid underbound paint issues.