topiary cats

topiary cats

Monday, April 27, 2015

Happy Mediums

Everyone always asks about mediums.  I have a bunch of them and I like them all. Some more than others.

Here are my mediums being happy.  Not pictured is my Canada Balsam; the stupid cats knocked everything over in my studio and I can't find three (3) size 6 long-handled color shapers, my Canada Balsam, and probably some more stuff I haven't located yet.

I am trying to pretend that it doesn't drive me batshit insane.

Anyhow, the Canada Balsam looks exactly like the Blue Ridge Copal except the words "Canada Balsam" are written on the bottle.

1. Liquin-  An old standard.  It's an alkyd which dries the paint.  It stinks and is toxic.  I'm done with Liquin because I like all things Gamblin better, and I like Gamblin's alkyds better.

2. English turps (real-deal turps)- a good thing to have around.  I don't use it much but some mediums require it, like resins.

3. Dammar varnish- I used to use this more, not so much anymore.  I will use a variant- retouch varnish- but I prefer Gamvar for my varnishing needs.

4. Spike oil of Lavender- it does not smell like lavender.  It smells like camphor.  It is a strong solvent, can be added to mediums, I don't use it much at all.  Jerry's has this new line of lavender-based solvents and they smell MUCH better than the stuff I have. (not really like lavender, but mildly pleasant) I didn't get any though, because I just don't need it,

5. Gamblin Cold Wax medium- I guess you could use this for thicker paint applications but I got it to make a more matte finish.  I usually prefer gloss but I like matte for the interference colors.  It's good to have options.

6. Neo-megilp- Gamblin's version of Maroger's, an alkyd but not nearly as unstable, expensive, and toxic as Maroger. It's a thick gel.

7 Galkyd (i have lite, it is thinner viscosity)- nice linseedy-smelling alkyd.  It is Gamblin, nothing nore needs to be said.

8. M Graham Walnut Alkyd- Carey told me to get it and if someone tells me to get something I will, and I LOVE it.  It is so nice and silky-smooth and wonderful.  Love.  Made with walnut oil, like M Graham paints which I also love.

9. Blue Ridge Copal- resin, dries the paint.  resins can add additional luminosity to the paint layers.  requires real-deal turps.  No mineral spirits.

10. Linseed oil- my basic  medium is half-half Gamsol (Gamblin's version of odorless mineral spirits) mixed with linseed oil.

11.  Oleogel- my FAVORITE medium.  Seriously, I love this stuff.  LOVE.  It is basically clear oil paint, made by Natural Pigments.  No driers.  Wonderful and silky and smooth and fantastic in all possible ways. I can't even describe how awesome this stuff feels under a brush.  The only thing is that it is the same consistency of paint from the tube- so if you need to make your paint looser then maybe use something else. I am very fortunate that a few stores here in NYC carry Rublev so I don't have to order online. :)

I do need to try Gamblin's solvent-free gel- I suspect it might be like oleogel, except Gamblin's is an alkyd which will dry the paint.  Sometimes I like that and sometimes I don't.


  1. What a wonderful collection! These days, I don't use any at all and just work the oils a bit with a palette knife to soften them. If really in need of thinning, I may add a smidge of linseed oil. Having said that, acrylics have taken over my world for the time being.

    I hope you find the missing stuff (and, um, cat fur is a medium, too, isn't it? In my house, these days, it may as well be!)

  2. They are so pretty, all being used and all....


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