I have been using M. Graham’s Walnut Alkyd Medium for a number of years in my solvent free painting workflow as a replacement for solvent based oil mediums. I have found that even ‘odourless’ solvents make my throat hurt after only a couple of hours of use. I now stay away from all solvents whilst oil painting, and my studio has only the beautiful smell of drying linseed oil.
From M. Graham’s site:
Walnut/Alkyd Medium was developed to provide artist’s with a non-toxic, environmentally responsible alternative to solvent based, rapid drying alkyd mediums. This is a medium that closely resembles the wonderful combinations of sun-thickened oil and natural resins used so effectively throughout the history of art but with the singular advantage of being free from solvents.
How I use the medium
- Dipping the brush in a very small amount of medium before picking up a certain colour or mixing a certain colour on the palette. This method gives great control to use as little or as much medium as necessary.
- Mixing the medium into a large amount of paint on the palette – this is best if you have a large area to cover with a specific consistency paint.
- Spreading a small amount of medium onto the canvas forming a ‘couch’ to paint into. Use a brush or a rag to spread the paint extremely thinly then wipe off all excess with a dry cloth leaving a very slight amount on the canvas to make it slippery. This method is fantastic for glazing and results in very fast drying to a high gloss.
- I have also experimented with mixing the medium with other ingredients to form new mixes. I have mixed it with the Langridge Safe-Gel medium to form a quick drying loose gel. I am also planning to experiment with other ingredients such as stand oil and Venice Turpentine.
- Thin layers or glazes will dry to the touch within 24 hours.
- Thicker layers will dry in a similar time to other solvent based alkyd mediums.