Mediums and Solvents

Hi loves! So we talked about the basics of oil painting last week, let’s extend further and talk about mediums and solvents!

What are mediums and solvents?

  • An oil painting medium is used to alter the viscosity (or flow), surface finish, or drying time of oil paint. Most mediums are some type of oil or gel.

  • Solvents are used to thin out oil paints. They also help clean your brushes.

Medium drying times?

  • Slow Drying: Refined linseed oil, stand oil, walnut oil, poppy oil

  • Moderate Drying: Galkyd slow dry, solvent free fluid, solvent free gel

  • Fast drying: Liquin, galkyd

What type of consistency does oil paint have?

  • Depending on the type of oil paint you’re working with, some will be very thick while others will be creamy, resembling the texture of butter. It depends on the type of oil in the paint.

  • I know it’s a lot different from acrylics but the cool thing is that you can manipulate it to your liking using mediums and solvents!

What else can you do with mediums?

  • Besides altering drying times and manipulating the viscosity, you can use mediums to oil out your paintings.

  • Oiling out is when you even out the surface quality and saturate your colors back in. Sometimes when oil dries, the colors will visibly become dull (especially on darker colors).

  • I oil out my pieces often when I need to accurately see my colors.

Below are images of different types of mediums you can use, you do not have to use Gamblin mediums, brands like Winsor & Newton also make mediums (like Liquin).

What exactly can I do with solvents?

  • Solvents are what people commonly refer to when they talk about toxicity in oils.

  • Solvents such as Turpentine and Mineral Spirits are often used.

  • Important: Turpentine has a very strong odor so if you choose to use this solvent, please make sure you are in a well ventilated space.

  • You can purchase mineral spirits odorless so you won’t have much of an odor issues, but you should still work in a ventilated space.

  • There are non-toxic solvent alternatives that you can use if you are not comfortable with these.

  • These include Gamsol, Sansodor, and Distilled Turpentine. Gamsol is probably the most popular out of these.

  • Truthfully the only time I find myself using solvents is when I need to quickly clean my brush of a color or clean my palette.

Below are some solvents you can use:

 This concludes mediums and solvents I hope this was helpful!