Master Your Mediums: A Guide for Oil Painters: PART II of II

Janice K. Johnson

This article is Part II, so if you have not still, study Section I first! There I discuss oil mediums, solvents, and the mediums that I Never use or recommend.

Sound, Particle-Based “Mediums”

Technically these are additives, not mediums, but checking out their homes prospects me to the medium I at the moment use and propose, so it can be helpful to explain them right here:

Fumed Silica (warmth-processed sand)
Fumed silica is an ethereal, feathery, powder dust made from granite sand. The particles have a massive surface spot and reduced mass, so when it really is mixed with paint or oil it normally takes on “thixotropic” properties. This means when you mix it or apply force it behaves like a gentle flowing liquid, but when you do not contact it, it holds its form like a gel. I’ve utilised it by mixing it straight into my oil paint with a palette knife right on the easel, and alongside with a minor oil, it is really a great way to extend the paint when keeping it transparent to make glassy glazes. The right way to combine it is with a muller, but I have relished the paste I can get just with the knife. Nevertheless, there is an much easier way to use it which I’ll address down below.

To remember its properties, keep in brain: Silica is clear! It’s sand, and that’s what glass is produced of, so use fumed silica for transparent glazes.

Watch my video clip demo for how I include fumed silica to my oil paint listed here


Chalk (ground calcium)
Chalk dust is the very same things kids for generations have clapped out of blackboard erasers, and it really is just as messy! I’ve used it by mixing it instantly into my paint, and it can make the paint “chunky”, dry, and easy to pile up into craggy impastos. I really feel particular it truly is possible the primary ingredient in any correct “top secret medium of the Outdated Masters”. Like fumed silica, you can also blend it a lot more appropriately and extensively with a muller.

To recall its houses, hold in head: Chalk is OPAQUE. Which is why we use it to write on chalkboards! So use chalk in your whites and gentle-paint mixtures, to create up chunky impastos, thrust 3D designs forward into the light-weight, and practically catch the gentle with bright peaks of texture.

Look at my online video demo for how I include chalk dust medium to my oil paint listed here


My Preferred Mediums
And now is where we get to the very good component: The mediums I most highly endorse! It truly is basically extremely very simple: They are just the dry solids I shown above, but conveniently mulled and tubed with linseed oil. Organic Pigments helps make these mediums. They are pretty very simple and inexpensive, and you could also make them simply at dwelling, but Pure Pigments has done the function for me, and I choose to just open up the tubes and start out portray.


Tubed FUMED SILICA Medium for Glazes:
Oleogel medium by All-natural Pigments
I use Oleogel by mixing it into my paint proper on the palette with my palette knife, and I also use it to oil out my functioning space of my painting with a makeup wedge (left graphic). Since it has reliable particles combined into the linseed oil, it truly is significantly more steady than making use of linseed oil on your own, and it can make a genuinely wonderful clear glaze. Out of the tube it appears like a very clear gel, you can see it in the center of my palette in the middle impression. (Purely natural pigments also can make fast-drying edition known as OleoRESgel, which I think has alkyd extra, so that might be a a wonderful alternative for Liquin or Galkyd. And Pure Pigments lists all their elements on their labels and fact sheets.)


Tubed CHALK Mediums for Impastos:

Impasto putty medium by Natural Pigments
Impasto medium by Normal Pigments
Velazquez medium by Normal Pigments

These are 3 distinctive proportions of the similar substances: Chalk dust mixed with linseed oil. Impasto Putty has the most chalk, and it truly is really thick, practically like a dry peanut butter, and it sorts small peaks when you “lift off” the palette knife.

Impasto Medium is in the center, the regularity is additional like area-temperature butter, with medium peaks.

Velazquez Medium is my favored, it really is a little bit much less chalk and extra oil, and so you get prolonged ropey peaks, and the consistency is much more like a stretchy bitter cream.

All of them allow you to pile up your paint into thick impastos that look like aged-master paint outcomes to me.

These chalk-based mostly mediums also enable you to extend out the paint really skinny, so I use it for my direct white less than portray layer as effectively, where I am utilizing the opacity and transparency of lead white paint to build a array of values around the brown uncooked umber underpainting….

Observe my video demo for mixing Oleogel and Impasto Putty into my paint listed here

Observe my video demo for how I use Oleogel and Impasto Putty in my current painting


I will be sharing a lot more about making a lead white beneath painting when I launch my new portray video course afterwards this 12 months: Glazing and Scumbling a Nonetheless Lifestyle with ROSES. My online movie course Glazing and Scumbling is a great introduction to the approaches I am going to be sharing in the far more sophisticated Roses training course.

Indicator up for my mailing record to be notified as shortly as the new on the internet online video study course is unveiled!

I educate Alla Prima, Direct, and Indirect oil portray listed here on the web, available as fully pre-recorded online video classes you can look at any time, which includes my Intro to Oil Painting which is ideal for beginners. I also give mentorship applications if you want assistance and support although doing the job by way of the programs.

Your Queries about Mediums Answered:
These are much more queries people today asked me about mediums on social media that I couldn’t in shape gracefully into the article:

Do you use distinct mediums for plein air vs studio get the job done?
Doing work en plein air or even alla prima in the studio, I come across I am racing towards time so I use just a single medium, a uncomplicated combination of 50/50 linseed and odorless mineral spirits.

Do you use distinct mediums for distinctive grounds or supports, like chalk primed panel, or oil primed linen?
No, but I use distinct grounds for different sorts of paintings: I use a chalk gesso ground on a smooth hard panel for Oblique portray, and I like RayMar’s oil primed linen panels for my immediate and alla prima paintings. You can see my resources lists with hyperlinks to my recommended goods.

Why do some mediums make the paint remain tacky, and ought to you paint on a tacky layer?
If the earlier paint layer is tacky you are most likely using as well substantially oil – or maybe other substances that are not drying fast adequate. A superior way to gauge if your past paint layer is dry adequate to paint in excess of is the “thumbnail exam” – If you can make an indentation in your paint movie with a company push of your thumbnail, you must wait for it to dry additional ahead of portray on it.

Can you blend distinct mediums together?
As long as they are straightforward mediums, possibly sure, but you should be familiar with each component in your paint. I like to continue to keep transparent mediums and impasto mediums independent, given that I use them for diverse purposes in diverse areas of the painting.

Are some mediums a lot more damaging than some others?
Solvents (paint thinner or mineral spirits or turpentine) are much worse for your health than any other component utilised for painting, so do all the things you can to restrict your exposure to fumes.

Is Galkyd fats or lean?
Rapidly-drying or sluggish-drying is considerably a lot more crucial theory than fat or lean. Alkyd mediums are rapidly-drying, so use it only in the lowest layers of a painting, or for soaked-in-moist solutions, as in alla prima or plein air portray.

How do you avoid sinking in?
I never, I just live with it! The dark places of a painting look lighter-value and “matte” in its place of shiny and darkish for the reason that the oil is sucked into earlier paint levels. The much more layers there are, the worse the sinking-in will become. I do “oil out” the location I program to paint into that working day, but I go away the rest matte. When the painting is accomplished and dry, I do oil out the whole surface the moment to take a very good photograph of the painting, but later on I wipe that oil off with odorless mineral spirits and a makeup sponge.
When the painting has had quite a few weeks or months to dry, I varnish it, and then all the loaded glossy dark hues return.

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