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Old 11-13-2010, 03:13 PM
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00011001 00011001 is offline
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Oil of spike lavender...

I have been trying to find information about oil of spike lavender online and I am having trouble. Is it okay to use it like you would use turpentine (i.e. thinning paint for an underpainting) or does this violate the fat over lean principle? How long does it take to dry/oxidize? Anyone have any experience with sensitivity (I know it is not shown to have harmful vapor) but what are your experiences? Does it gum up? Does it lift dried paint? I would appreciate as much information as I can get on this stuff, before I shell out to try for myself. I am looking for harmless alternatives to the toxic mediums, so I'm open to other suggestions. Thanks.

Laila
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Old 11-13-2010, 03:21 PM
dcorc dcorc is offline
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Re: Oil of spike lavender...

Spike is another terpene solvent, similar to turpentine. It is a slightly stronger solvent for oil-paint.

Quote:
I am looking for harmless alternatives to the toxic mediums, so I'm open to other suggestions.

ALL volatile solvents for oil-painting really need to be handed similarly, with good ventilation, and minimising/avoiding skin-contact.

If you don't wish to handle solvents, it is possible to paint using only oil as a diluent, and there are also water-miscible oilpaints available. We have a subforum here specifically for the WMOs, and there are numerous discussions here in the main forum and in the subforum on solvent-free painting. Also, see the FAQ threads.

Also - Advanced Search, for "spike" threads, specific to oils:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/sear...pe=0&exclude=&

Click, then hit "search now"

Dave

Last edited by dcorc : 11-13-2010 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 11-13-2010, 03:59 PM
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ShannonTeague ShannonTeague is offline
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Re: Oil of spike lavender...

From what I've read you basically use it just like you would turpentine except it's stronger so you don't have to use as much to get the same effect. It's on my list of "to get" on my next art store run. Every person I've seen talk about spike lavender has said the smell is very pleasant.

You might also want to look into walnut oil. It's a rather thin oil that can be used quite well to thin paints. I've used it and the smell isn't noticeable at all unless you stick your nose in the bottle and it really works well for thinning paints. Walnut oil can also be used to clean brushes, though that will be more expensive to do.

For brush cleaning Turpenoid Natural (make sure it says natural) is non toxic and works really well for cleaning brushes, though I find the smell a little on the strong side. That's not such a bad thing because I keep my brush cleaning tank covered except when I use it. I don't really use it that much except at the end of a painting session as a prep for cleaning my brushes in soap and water. It removes paint really well.
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Last edited by ShannonTeague : 11-13-2010 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 11-13-2010, 04:41 PM
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Re: Oil of spike lavender...

Laila, I limit my use of Spike Lavender to a recipe I mixed using Bill Martin's formula for medium, which is

1 part Linseed Oil
1 part Walnut Oil
1 part Venice Turpentine (this is a RESIN, not a solvent)
2 parts Oil Of Spike (this is a SOLVENT, not a drying oil)

I find the smell offensive, but I have no idea if it's dangerous in any way. I don't use large amounts, and it lasts forever without losing its qualities. I keep it tightly sealed so my nose isn't offended.

Strangely, my husband doesn't mind the smell of it. Also, I use Liquin to begin a painting, and Bill says he can't stand the smell of that, while I smell nothing!

The only reason I use the mixture at all is because of its slower drying properties, but I imagine the Oil of Spike alone would dry very fast.
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:20 PM
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Re: Oil of spike lavender...

There are many ways to avoid solvents when oil painting. First, and perhaps most obvious - just use the paint straight from the tube. If that doesn't work to your liking, then you can always add a touch of an oil only medium. While many mediums are mixtures of oils and solvents (and sometimes resins and other things), you can use a medium that is all oil, such as linseed oil or walnut oil. Cleaning your brushes while you work can be more problematic, but I find that wiping the brushes on a rag and using many brushes works OK. You can always rinse the brushes in your oil, if need be. Cleaning brushes at the end of your work session can be done with soap and water. If you don't let paint dry in your brushes, soap and water are all you usually need. And, as mentioned, you could try the water-mixable oils.

People obviously react differently to different substances. When I do use solvents, I use Oderless Mineral Spirits, which has never bothered me. I use it because Turps bothers me a lot. I bought a bottle of spike lavender a couple years ago and it begins irritating my eyes as soon as I have the bottle within reach. So, needless to say, I never use it. I suppose it may be worth trying, but it is expensive.

Don
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Last edited by DAK723 : 11-13-2010 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:46 PM
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Re: Oil of spike lavender...

I have a brand new bottle sitting here. If you want to buy it let me know..I don't use that anymore. I found just using Gamsol for thin work and cleaning brushes does the job. Then I only use turps for lead ground.
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Old 11-14-2010, 09:55 AM
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Re: Oil of spike lavender...

Spike is a very powerful solvent. It will soften underlying paint layers that are already dry to the touch. Moreso than turpentine, so that is a consideration that should be taken into account. I like the powerful solvent nature, but if not careful, as I said, underpaintings, or subtle glaze layers can be adversely effected. It is quite useful with natural resins, such as the Larch turpentine described by Nancy. It thins amber varnish, balsams, and polymerized oils very well.

I mainly use it in oil/balsam/essential oil mediums. Nancy described a very useful recipe above. I use stand oil, Canada balsam or Venice turpentine, and spike. Equal parts. This medium will create very level surfaces, and allow for very smooth color and value transitions. It also is quite useful for color/value modulation, in areas of a painting that are already dry. In a pinch, however, an artist grade turpentine will suffice. I personally like the smell, so that is not a concern for me. Some do find it overpowering.

Although I use this, and like it, I have found that it is one of those materials that are not an absolute necessity for me. If I could get no more, I would be able to substitute other things. For me it is a convenience material. This solvent is often quite expensive, and should not be used for cleaning brushes, unless a person is wealthy enough to use dollar bills as kindling for their fire place. There are some very good products being sold by a variety of sources. Having tried many, in consideration of the price, and the quality, coupled with the quality of the company in general, I like Kremers a great deal.

http://kremerpigments.com/shopus/ind...&product=73800

Hope that helps.

JT
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:01 PM
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Re: Oil of spike lavender...

I appreciate the replies Dave, Shannon, Nancy, Don, skopas, and JT.

I have been using oils for under a year. I use them straight from the tube, usually with an acrylic underpainting, but somehow feel that I am missing out, hence the interest in spike lavender. I do have some stand oil, but I haven't used it. I'm thinking I should just get some water miscible oils and thin those for the underpainting. I clean my brushes with EZ-Air oil brush cleaner, which works well enough, so I'm set in that regard.

Dave, I was really surprised to read your post, that is definitely not what I expected. I read some safety data sheet about spike lavender online and it seemed relatively harmless to inconclusive; however, I searched again after reading your reply and found something more in line with your response, so I'm wondering where did I find this first safety sheet?!?!?

After all this, I'm still not sure about whether or not I will try it, because of the safety issue. At the very least, I'll wait until I have a better work space, then I can experiment with spike lavender alone and with other mediums more freely.

Thanks everyone.
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:29 PM
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Re: Oil of spike lavender...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 00011001
I appreciate the replies Dave, Shannon, Nancy, Don, skopas, and JT.

I have been using oils for under a year. I use them straight from the tube, usually with an acrylic underpainting, but somehow feel that I am missing out, hence the interest in spike lavender. I do have some stand oil, but I haven't used it. I'm thinking I should just get some water miscible oils and thin those for the underpainting. I clean my brushes with EZ-Air oil brush cleaner, which works well enough, so I'm set in that regard.

Dave, I was really surprised to read your post, that is definitely not what I expected. I read some safety data sheet about spike lavender online and it seemed relatively harmless to inconclusive; however, I searched again after reading your reply and found something more in line with your response, so I'm wondering where did I find this first safety sheet?!?!?

After all this, I'm still not sure about whether or not I will try it, because of the safety issue. At the very least, I'll wait until I have a better work space, then I can experiment with spike lavender alone and with other mediums more freely.

Thanks everyone.

If you feel that you are missing out, or missing something because of not understanding a variety of mediums, that could be a bit backward. Rather than go exploring mediums, why not find out what the oil paint will do. You already have stand oil, and can thin it 50/50 with mineral spirits, and use it a drop or two to a lima bean sized paint nut to alter its consistency. I know several remarkable oil painters who use only stand oil/oms. The trouble with mediums is that they are often not needed, or duplicate each other, etc., but folks will hear about various things, and jump into them with both feet. It is a costly proposition.

See what you have can do, and if you are looking for a special effect, ask around here or elsewhere, and view the work of others who use a particular medium. See how they use it, and if that is what you are looking for. I would recommend that you use your money to buy the best paint and brushes and canvases you can get, and some good books, or a workshop. Mediums should not be used unless there is a special effect that one is after. The linseed oil that the pigment is in with oil paints, is the medium. If you paint with oils, you work in the oil medium. The rest is again for a special effect.

Don't get me wrong, I like some mediums. However, buying a bunch of mediums, and seeing what they do, is not prudent, in my opinion. Once you start down that road, you will find yourself debating black oil, and maroger, and alkyds, and you will have to try them. You will be told by manufacturers, proponents, and aficionados alike that lead is the best, or that lead mediums will make your paint crack, or that alkyds will delaminate, and cause your painting to fall right off the canvas onto the floor. Then you could go with amber, and get into it with the copal crowd, the latter of which will tell you that copal is so smooth that it will allow an artist to pick up a paint laden brush, close their eyes, and paint a masterpiece, surpassing any 19th century master, and that it blows amber out of the water. Of course the amber bunch will assert that one simply cannot paint in layers without it. After you have tried hard copal, soft copal, of course all of the balsams, including strasbourg turpentine, Canada balsam, venice turpentine, copaiba balsam (cause Van Gogh used it of course ) then you can move to heavy metal mediums such black oil and maroger, cobalt drier, manganese drying oils, etc. and don't forget the damar mediums, and the various bodied oils, there will be the bees wax mediums that cannot be lived without, and then you can move into the fumed silica gels, and copper/lead oil concoctions. After all of that someone may just come along and tell you that you aint seen nothin, no, nothin at all until you tried sandarac

So, get yourself some good paints, some good brushes, and something to paint on, and see what a miraculous thing that a tube of oil paint really is

JT
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:12 PM
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Re: Oil of spike lavender...

If you main concern is being able to thin paint without any toxic solvents, I'd really like to reiterate using walnut oil. That, in conjunction with a paint that is naturally loose (such as Rembrandt or Grumbacher Pre-Tested) should really allow you do what you are looking for. Rembrandt and Grumbacher Pre-Tested are reasonably enough priced to where you can get a few tubes and give it a try. However you go though, good luck with it. It's a fun journey.
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Old 11-16-2010, 11:19 AM
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Re: Oil of spike lavender...

How could I ever have forgotten the whole drying oil medium category. Cold pressed linseed oil, akali refined linseed oil, walnut oil, poppy oil, safflower oil. Cold pressed is best, no refined is best, no, walnut allows paint to move better under the brush. Safflower is less yellowing. No it isn't as strong of a paint film as linseed oil. Or the notion that walnut, poppy, safflower, etc. to are salad oils that have no use in painting. Btw, linseed when it is processed differently is also an edible (Don't eat artist or hardware versions), in the form or the flaxseed oil we see at the store, or the flax seed cookies we see in the cookie aisle at the supermarket. Don't eat to many of those cookies though!

Oh yeah, and of course, who could do without Gum Elemi, Robertson's mediums, or ground glass, or marble dust.............................................. .

Forgot to mention that spike does not in and of itself violate the fat over lean principle, because it is an essential oil, or a solvent, as Dave has pointed out. People sometimes missunderstand this, because materials have names such as oil of turpentine, oil of spike, etc. These essential oils evaporate off, and only a minor residue remains. they don't stay and oxidize as part of the paint film.

Good paint, good brushes, good supports. There are many good choices for these.

JT
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Old 04-08-2013, 11:19 AM
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Re: Oil of spike lavender...

Didn't want to make a new thread, but will Oil of Spike Lavender dissolve Damar Varnish in my medium mix, or should I stick with rectified turpentine which is touted as the best of the turps to use for Damar Varnish...???? Thanks.

P.S. And if they answer is yes to spike oil dissolving damar varnish, I may just have to buy a bottle and try it out!


Nate
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:55 PM
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Re: Oil of spike lavender...

Like JT said I use Oil of Spike in a medium comprised of equal parts Venice Turpentine, linseed stand oil, and Oil of Spike.

I ve had no adverse reactions with any dissolving of underlayers, and most colours dry in a day or two.

I don't do the "washy" solvent+paint underpainting, so I don't know how Oil of Spike behaves on its own...
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:20 PM
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Re: Oil of spike lavender...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Russell
Like JT said I use Oil of Spike in a medium comprised of equal parts Venice Turpentine, linseed stand oil, and Oil of Spike.

I ve had no adverse reactions with any dissolving of underlayers, and most colours dry in a day or two.

I don't do the "washy" solvent+paint underpainting, so I don't know how Oil of Spike behaves on its own...

Keith, thanks for the reply, but are the characteristics of Venice Turpentine similar to Damar Varnish? In other words, Venice Turpentine also will not fully dissolve like Damar Varnish in mineral spririts?

I'm asking only because I never heard of that Venitian Turpentine needed actual Turpentine and not mineral spirits, whereas with Damar that's all I hear.


P.S. Also, what is the story with the price of Oil Spike of Lavender@?#@?3 Is it gold? Blick has it on sale...a measly 55ml bottle (1.86oz) is $28.05... Just wow...I would need to order a couple of those ...that is very expensive for an ingredient in my mix....sheeeshhh.

http://www.dickblick.com/products/ho...84847#ph otos

Nate

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Old 04-08-2013, 09:45 PM
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Re: Oil of spike lavender...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RembrandtEternal
Keith, thanks for the reply, but are the characteristics of Venice Turpentine similar to Damar Varnish? In other words, Venice Turpentine also will not fully dissolve like Damar Varnish in mineral spririts?

I'm asking only because I never heard of that Venitian Turpentine needed actual Turpentine and not mineral spirits, whereas with Damar that's all I hear.


P.S. Also, what is the story with the price of Oil Spike of Lavender@?#@?3 Is it gold? Blick has it on sale...a measly 55ml bottle (1.86oz) is $28.05... Just wow...I would need to order a couple of those ...that is very expensive for an ingredient in my mix....sheeeshhh.


http://www.dickblick.com/products/ho...84847#ph otos

Nate

Venetian Turpentine is a resin, or balsam, to be more precise. The "real stuff" is the unmodified sap of a Larch Tree, and in viscosity, it is somewhere between molasses on a cold day, and partly-chewed chewing gum. In short,it is THICK. The liquid that we think of as "Turpentine" today, is really the distilled spirits of gum turpentine, which is the liquid that gets distilled off the sap of a pine tree, leaving the solid, known as rosin.

In short, Venice Turpentine is not a solvent--it is a balsam.

Why is a resin necessary at all? Those of us who paint in layers, or who use a glazing method (painting in extremely thin layers of paint) often encounter a problem with beading up of the freshly-applied medium or paint, caused by surface tension between the thoroughly-dryed surface of the underpainting, and the freshly-applied medium or paint. This beading is reduced, or eliminated by including in the medium recipe, a resin. It makes for better adhesion between the two.

I used Damar Varnish for a long time until I got frustrated with its drying so fast that it tacked up on my palette while I was working with it, causing my paint to become sticky, and "draggy" on my brush. The reason is quite understandable, because the solvent of choice for Damar Resin is, in fact, Distilled Gum Spirits of Turpentine--an exceedingly FAST drying solvent.

Venice Turpentine, a balsam, is not diluted with any Turpentine, because it is the natural (beginning stage) form of Turpentine, And, Oil Of Spike is much slower drying than Distilled Spirits of Gum Turpentine.

Switching to Venice Turpentine as a resin, and switching to Oil Of Spike Lavender as the solvent in my medium totally eliminated the condition of my medium causing my paint to tack up too quickly on my palette.

Oil Of Spike is wonderful stuff, I've used it for many years now, it smells great, it imparts a slippery characteristic to the medium that serves the glazing process quite well. It is expensive, but a little goes a really long way, and the glazing process, when executed properly, only involves a minimum amount of medium. I've found the best price is from Jerry's Artarama, online, where the price is only 13 +dollars a bottle. I usually buy 2 bottles at a time. It's cheaper than buying one bottle at a local store, even with the cost of shipping! I've been buying LeFranc & Bourgeois Essence d' Aspic (Oil Of Spike Lavender).

I buy my Larch Tree Venice Turpentine from Zecchi Art Co. in Italy. There is a branch here in the U. S., I have just discovered. Now I don't need to have a lesson in Italian so I can order it.

Venice Turpentine, and Oil Of Spike.....both good stuff. Give them a try. They've served me well for years, now.
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