Mediums for Oil Painters article 2

I came across this article Mediums for Oil Painters by Kenneth Freed. It gives a run down on the different components of oil painting mediums:

To painters, discussing mediums can be like a political debate. There are pro-Maroger, anti-Maroger, pro-natural resins and anti-natural resins, as well as pro-alkyd and anti-alkyd proponents. The disputes are always about potential cracking, lack of adhesion and yellowing. I have always been the curious type and have experimented with almost every medium that I could get my hands on. However, if you are new to painting, the best approach is to experiment with the paint right out of the tube so that you can understand and fully integrate into your procedure what the paint can do without additives.

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2 thoughts on “Mediums for Oil Painters article

  • Phil Gross

    Hi Daniel
    I was reading your notes on walnut alkyd. I have mildly experimented with it along with walnut oil. The directions on the label are a bit confusing and made it seem that using the alkyd as a stand alone medium would not be advisable. So I mix it in small portions with store bought walnut oil.

    Now I think I will give it a dry by itself. Have you mixed it with walnut oil or linseed or stand with satisfying results. Thanks for you article.


    • Daniel Rigos Post author

      Hi Phil,
      I think the directions are just making it clear to not mix ‘too much’ of the walnut alkyd with your paint. It can’t be used exactly like a solvent, ie, don’t try and thin the paint down to the consistency of water. The walnut alkyd is more of a paint extender to help spread the paint more easily and also to help it dry quicker. It shouldn’t make any difference whether you mix it with walnut oil or not. Walnut alkyd is just walnut oil with a bit of alkyd to help it dry. So by adding walnut oil to the walnut alkyd all you are doing is having less alkyd in the paint mix which means it won’t dry as quickly.

      That said, I usually spread a very thin layer of linseed oil out over my canvas before starting painting. This makes the paint and brush strokes flow really smoothly onto the canvas. I then also mix a little walnut alkyd with my paint on the palette. This helps thin it out a bit and also helps it dry quickly. So in essence I am mixing both linseed oil and walnut alkyd with my paint.

      I think you can pretty much mix it as you want. Straight, with some linseed/walnut, or stand oil. The main thing is to just not overload the paint with medium.

      Hope this helps!