View Full Version : Stupid question about damar in mediums

08-08-2002, 05:51 PM
I should know this, but I don't, so I'll ask.

What desirable effect is acheived by putting damar varnish in a medium?


2 Turpentine
1 Stand Oil
1 Damar Varnish

G.L. Hoff
08-08-2002, 07:21 PM
Well, a couple of things come to mind. First, resins in medium are generally said to give smoother handling, more adhesion to the paint layers, and perhaps quicker drying.

Some people have said that adding dammar to medium isn't such a good idea, including some of our colleagues here. I don't use dammar in medium, although it's part of a number of proprietary products, but I *do* use a touch of Canada balsam in my own hand-mixed medium. That recipe is

stand oil 3-4 parts
turps 1 part
Canada balsam 1/2 part (or sometimes less)

The reason I vary the amount of oil is to follow the fat over lean standard.


08-09-2002, 04:06 AM
Damar aids drying and gives a little lustre to the painting.

However it also makes your paint sticky under the brush and has a tendency to attract dust.

It comes into it's own in the application of thin transluscent glazes of colour (as part of a medium).

08-09-2002, 05:19 AM
Does damar yellow much? In a final varnish it could be removed if it did, but in a medium, if it yellowed, it would be a permanent part of the paint layer. I only use it as part of a final varnish, but i know it is an ingredient in many store bought products.

08-09-2002, 11:59 AM
Most of the time Damar is used as a drier of sorts. When mixed into a medium it acts as a drier... and it's more flexible than oxidized linseed oil so it also counteracts the brittleness of linseed oil. It also adds some gloss to a painting.

08-09-2002, 03:23 PM
Damar, in common with most other resins used in mediums, is used primarily for handling and optical reasons. The drying is a secondary benefit.

Also in common with ALL other resins it is MORE brittle than dried linseed oil over time. hblenkle's point about it yellowing is also correct (more than good drying oils) and if this is part of your paint film, then you end up with the problems associated with much 19th c. academy painting.