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Old 04-10-2003, 03:11 AM
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Manuel Manuel is offline
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alternatives for turpentine

I am planning to start painting in oil soon. Well first I will have to finish some of my half done acrylics, but then...

So at the moment i am doing a lot of reading about painting with oil colours. One thing i read is, that you should use an alternative resolvent to turpentine for health aspects.

The guy in the article suggests SHELLSOL or 'Orangenterpene' (sorry i couldn't find a translation for that), which is some natural resolvent made out of oranges (also seems to smell like that).

Did anyone of you make his / her own experiences with Shellsol or this orange-stuff?

Last edited by Manuel : 04-10-2003 at 03:18 AM.
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Old 04-10-2003, 07:56 AM
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guillot guillot is offline
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I haven't heard of that. I know that Turpenoid Natural is safe, and has an orange smell. Lots of subjects here on turps, you might want to do a search.

Good luck in your endeavors in oils!!

Tina
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Old 04-10-2003, 09:51 AM
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Verdaccio Verdaccio is offline
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Before you deep 6 the turps, I will encourage you to consider why you might want to do so, and to try turps first and make an informed decision based on your own information rather than relying purely on what you have read from others.

A couple of rules for ANY solvent you might use:

1. Keep the lid on it when you are not using it - solvents evaporate into the room and you breathe the stuff in. It is generally not harmful in limited quantities but it is a good idea to keep them covered when not in use. With straight turps, you know when you are getting too much where as with an odorless variety, you don't and that can be dangerous. Use ventilation in your studio regardless of what you use.

2. Don't leave any solvent in your brushes long term. Wash them in soap and water at the end of each day.

3. Empty your trash regularly if it has any solvent soaked paper towels, etc.

4. As with any dilutant or medium, don't use too much if you are thinning your paints. Making the paint too thin can compromise the binding power of the oil.

Turpentine
Turpentine is a fine natural solvent for oil painting. You can buy it in pure gum form, or buying it in the distilled or rectified form. Triple rectified turp has been distilled to remove a lot of the resin that gum turp still has in it. Turpentine is a solvent that is absolutely compatible with oil paints and you can use it to thin your paints as well as cleaning your brushes. Turpentine has been used successfully in oil painting for more than 700 years.

It is good to use straight turps even for a while because you will really get a good idea of how the solvent evaporates into the air because you will smell it - realize that EVERY solvent does this, even if you cannot smell it. I have turps in my studio now and manage it to the point where you only smell it slightly when I am using it directly on the painting.

Mineral Spirits/Odorless Mineral Spirits
MS/OMS is a petroleum-based solvent. They make fine brush cleaners and can be used to dilute oil paints and even better, alkyds. There is some dispute as to whether they are good for diluting oil paints and using on the actual painting or not and different artists hold different opinions. The theory in the negative is that they effect the binder differently than turps would and don't mix at all with any resin that may be in the paint. Making varnish like Damar with MS/OMS will yield a cloudy result whereas turps will make a clear varnish. I personally don't use MS/OMS in my paintings, but do use OMS to clean my brushes and palette. MS/OMS are the slowest drying solvent. MS/OMS are fairly new on the scene - less than 50 years.

Oil of Spike Lavendar
Spike is my solvent of choice. Spike is a distilled essential oil of the actual Lavendar plant, not the flowers. I use it to dilute my paints. It is kind of slippery on the surface which is nice for handling and it will dry with a slight gloss (turps and MS in paint will leave the surface dull and sunk in). It is the strongest solvent of the three. It dries slower than turps, but faster than MS/OMS. Spike has been used in paintings since at least the 1600s, possibly earlier.

Citrus-based Solvents
I have not used these, but have my doubts about them in relation to their compatibility to mix with oil paints. It could be that they are fine, but I think further research needs to be done before I will feel comfortable using them in my work.

Solvent-free option
There are some artists here at WC that don't use solvents at all in their studios and hopefully they will weigh in to give you the benefits of their experiences. A lot of people use walnut oil to clean their brushes and dilute their paints.

Hope that helps!
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Old 04-10-2003, 10:11 AM
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Matt Sammekull Matt Sammekull is offline
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To Verdaccio...

I've been a member now for six months or so, and have from the very beginning read your threads and posts. I think that what you are doing is absolutely great. You always seem to have the time and interest to help us other out with our problems. For that I thank you.
You seem to me like a walking encyclopedia on fine arts!

Many thanks for everything.
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Old 04-10-2003, 10:31 AM
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I agree, verdachio you are very heplful (as is linoxyn and many others)!
by the way...can I jump in with a really dump question I just can't find an answer anywhere...when using retouch varnish do you paint on it while it is wet or after it has dried?
Thanks!
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Old 04-10-2003, 11:14 AM
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Thanks Michael...

for your generosity in sharing your excellent information so willingly.

I agree regarding turps, some people have the idea if it's odorless it's non toxic, not true. I just keep my lid on it unless I am swishing a brush.

I have tried baby oil, vegetable oil, walnut oil and they work OK on small brushes, but when you get to larger brushes with a lot of paint in them, turps is the only thing that cuts it IMO...
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Old 04-10-2003, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Luzie
...when using retouch varnish do you paint on it while it is wet or after it has dried?

Luzie, generally you should always wait until the paint is dry before you apply a retouch varnish, and then wait until the retouch is dry to paint over. If you don't, depending on how you've constructed your painting or sometimes just to mess with the artist, the subsequent paint layer may take forever to dry and/or stay tacky for a long time. Some can get away with painting directly into it when it's still freshly wet, again this is risky. Remember a little goes a long way, apply thin - make sure it's solvent thinned enough to only provide a shine for a few days on the applied area. Use turpentine for this when using a natural resin like dammar, many other artists solvents won't fully mix with dammar except stronger hydrocarbons - which of course we don't want to breath in
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Old 04-10-2003, 12:30 PM
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thanks so much, I always wondered about that. You are a living chemical almanach!
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Old 04-10-2003, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Linoxyn
Remember a little goes a long way, apply thin - make sure it's solvent thinned enough to only provide a shine for a few days on the applied area. Use turpentine for this when using a natural resin like dammar

Lino...what's wrong with a Damar retouch spray? It's use being two fold, for use on the dull sunken areas and a protective coat
after you have finished painting until sifficently dry for a final varnish? Seems easier than mixing up turps & damar...or am I misunderstanding you?
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Old 04-10-2003, 12:51 PM
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Thank you Luzie

Cathleen, I was talking about retouch from a bottle, home-brewed or store bought. In all cases it's best to buy or use one that is made up from only resin plus turpentine. You can buy it as picture varnish and thin it as you like - testing to find the right dilution for your retouch varnish. There are some sprays I've seen that have only turps as the solvent though many have stronger solvents that could 'melt' your painting plus sprays have the disadvantages of easily being applied too thick plus all that air born solvent and resin gets everywhere... including the lungs - unless you are lucky to have a studio with a proper ventilation booth. Many people use spay for the convenience though once you have made your first batch of 5 lb. cut dammar varnish you'll find it's easier than a 3 minute egg
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Old 04-10-2003, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Linoxyn
Cathleen, I was talking about retouch from a bottle, home-brewed or store bought. In all cases it's best to buy or use one that is made up from only resin plus turpentine.

Thanks for explaining that....I always like to put the spray out there, an easier method for people who are new and aren't about or willing go to that trouble...but it's always good to know alternative methods as well...
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Old 04-10-2003, 01:56 PM
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I make my own retouch in the past and find it much better than the retouch I get in the can from the art store. You mix 50/50 Damar and Rectified Turp in a PreVal Sprayer and it works great.

I also currently am using a Copal Retouch from Cennini that uses the same PreVal sprayer. I like it a bit better than the damar because it dries somewhat harder and seems to me to take the next coat of paint better.

Thanks for your thanks everyone, happy to help.
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Old 04-10-2003, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Verdaccio
I make my own retouch in the past and find it much better than the retouch I get in the can from the art store. You mix 50/50 Damar and Rectified Turp in a PreVal Sprayer and it works great.

Michael, Rectified turp IS? What is a PreVal sprayer please?
Where can these be purchased?
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Old 04-10-2003, 02:11 PM
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Cathleen:

Rectified/Distilled Turpentine - see above in Turps explanation.

A PreVal sprayer is a glass bottle with a spray can that screws onto the top. You can buy them at any Auto Parts store and some hobby stores for about 5 bucks. The top is replacable when it runs out of pressure. They are real handy when you need to spray something. Ventilation when you do it - I spray mine outside where possible.
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For there are many who say that they have mastered the profession without having served under masters. Do not believe it, for I give you the example of this book: even if you study it by day and by night, if you do not see some practice under some master you will never amount to anything, nor will you ever be able to hold your head up in the company of masters.
Cennino D'Andrea Cennini - "Il Libro dell' Arte."
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Old 04-10-2003, 02:19 PM
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HRobinson HRobinson is offline
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What Verdaccio said plus...

... I would believe that the citrus products would be acidic in nature (although I have not taken the time to find out their Ph for sure) which is not a canvas friendly trait. It would also seem that any pigments containing metals in their oxide or elemental forms, would change in color over time. The Turpenoid Natural is a good product for cleaning brushes when they get clogged but not as a medium. Distilled Spirits of Gum Turpentine is definitely something you should try.
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