View Full Version : Venice Turpentine - neigh?

01-07-2007, 09:57 PM
Hi I am wanting to try out venice turpentine for the first time. I have two possible suppliers: 1) an art store which carries Schmincke brand at $29.00 Aus for 90mL or a stockfeed supplier, who sells stuff used for horses' hooves - at $19.50 for 250mL. The Artstore variety is thus about 4 times the price. Has anyone seen/used venice turpentine from a horse supplier in painting - if so how does it compare with the artist's stuff? I don't want to buy the more expensive stuff if there is really little or no difference. The stockfeed supplier described the venice turpentine he sells as being "like honey". I haven't seen them to visually compare them, the stores are quite a distance from where I live. Comments, recommendations anyone?

01-07-2007, 10:39 PM
The only difference I know of is the price.

Venice turpentine is a viscous liquid resin collected from larch trees.
Personally, I like Strasbourg Turpentine, even though it's a bit more expensive.

I make a 50-50 mix of Venice Turpentine / Linseed, which I use very sparingly as an additive to my paints. It's sticky nature is additionally helpful for some of those pigments that are grittier, like some of the green earths or caput mortuum. A little bit goes a long way.

I find it easier to pour/measure after zapping the bottle for 10 seconds in the microwave.

I love the smell of the balsams.


01-07-2007, 10:58 PM
I use Venice turpentine from a tack store. I found it necessary to strain it through cheesecloth to remove some gunk, but after that it was just fine—basically the same as what you get at the art store. I'm a big proponent of using high-quality materials, but I don't see any reason to pay extra for art store Venice turpentine.

01-07-2007, 11:52 PM
I use the tack store venice turpentine, no problems at all.:)

01-08-2007, 05:02 AM
Thanks everyone, that's great news! I can hardly wait to get my hands on the tack store venice turpentine. A few years ago I saw a bottle of "Venetian" turpentine in an art store that I was working in - which I almost bought. Fortunately I read somewhere that some manufacturers sell something which is not genuine, but just change the name slightly (hence "Venetian" and not "Venice"). I think the non-genuine stuff is called "gum thus". If only I had known ten years ago you could get venice turpentine from a tack store!

01-10-2007, 03:19 AM
I got the venice turpentine today from the horse tack supplier. It's honey coloured and very viscous. I just have one concern: it has some leaks on the outside of the jar and these are tacky (what would you expect from a tack store:D ?). Should these have dried already? (It looks as if it has been leaking for a while) - I thought it dried in a couple of days - or does it stay tacky unless mixed with a paint / solvent? Not having ever used venice turps, I don't know what to expect - or whether I'm being sold a substitute. It smells to me the same (or very similar) to pine resin. I'm wanting to use it in a painting medium - does anyone have good recipes? I want something that dries very quickly and is glossy (I want to try something other than the liquin I have been using for ages).

01-10-2007, 11:02 AM
You can put the venice turpentine into a new jar if you need to. Otherwise, use solvent to clean off the jar threads. As pointed out above, it's easier to pour if you zap it for 10 seconds or so in the microwave. Also see above for one possible medium - 50/50 venice turpentine and linseed. A very little bit added to your paint is all you need. You can also rub it onto the area to be painted, and then paint into the "couch".

There is a world of mediums. Spend some time reading threads and articles like Mediums - Why Do You Use Them? (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1138870). You could also get a copy of Formulas For Painters by Robert Massey.

My advice is to forget about gloss while a painting is in progress. You'll never achieve uniform gloss that way. The real purpose of a medium is to improve paint handling in some way and/or to ensure proper binding. It's the final varnish that determines overall gloss.


01-12-2007, 01:41 AM
I did drying test a year or so ago, featuring various resins, balsams and oils. The Venice Turp was a very slow drier, slowest of the test, which included Stand Oil, Black Oil, Copal Varnish, etc. It stayed tacky for weeks, although it was dry enough to stay put.
As Robert said, you don't use that much and normally it is mixed in with some form of linseed or Stand, so the drying time is not much problem. The mixture responds to driers like lead napthanate.
The tack store brand I bought was from the US suppler, Farnham. I bought a quart for just over $11 -- very good stuff and more than I needed! :)

01-12-2007, 05:33 AM
Thanks for that information Gunzorro. I was a little concerned that I might not have the right stuff (I don't know how important it is to have the exact material when treating horses' feet). I have tried making a few media - just small quantities to test drying times. I wanted to make a quick drying (24 hours or less drying time) medium. So far the quickest is still tacky after 2 days. I don't think lead naphtenate (sp?) is available in Australia, though cobalt naphtenate is. I started by adding two drops of driers to 2and1/2 oz (75mL) of medium. I then doubled this. It is still too slow.

One medium I have tried is: 9 parts varnish ( 2:Mastic/ 1:damar), 4 parts thickened linseed oil, 2 parts venice turps, 9 parts citrus turps (I didn't have rectified gum turps when I made it- now I do) - I realise the citrus turps could be a cause of the slow drying time. My question: should I adjust the amount of solvent, oil or add more driers to facilitate a quicker drying time?

01-12-2007, 09:55 AM
The balsam I prefer is Canadian Balsam, as it seems to perform better for me. It's rather expensive, however.

Instantjim, that mixture sure has a bunch of resin, it seems to me (mastic, damar, and VT,) more than necessary I'd say. The fattest mixture I have is @ 2 parts oil to 1 part resin/balsam.

David Brown
01-12-2007, 10:00 AM
I use an Alkyd white to speed up drying times..

01-12-2007, 10:57 AM
Instantijm, I agree with David Clemons that your medium is top-heavy on resins.

Take a look at these threads and in particular study the mediums Bill Martin uses. You'll see quite different proportions.

Glazing Tutti Fruity (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=222968)
Bill Martin Purple Iris WIP (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=283513)

01-12-2007, 11:41 PM
Thanks for your advice everyone- I thought the medium was a bit fat, but based it on one from Saitzyk's book "Art hardware". Thanks for the links, Robert. I will modify my existing mediums by adding more solvent and linseed. I doubled up Mastic with Dam(m)ar because I read this mix makes the most of the best of both resins and minimises the bad aspects.