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Mediums and solvents?

Hi, I'm new to oil painting! I would like to know what mediums and solvents you guys use and for what purpose? I don't have a very good idea of what linseed oil turpentine etc. does to paint or if its harmful to breathe in? I'm looking for something that can make my "georgian oil" paints.
•slow drying
•smooth/ easy to use. And non toxic. 
Any feedback helps! Thanks!


  • PaulBPaulB mod
    Welcome.  Check out Mark's videos and supply lists, and you'll find you can work with no mediums or solvents, or you can mix your own SDM.
  • Thanks ! and I have been watching a lot of his videos. The thing is I want to get my paint like his "Genava paint" using mediums. Hopefully one day I can get a few of his tubes. I just really like all the characteristics his paint has.
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    Great.  Go find the SDM recipe on the supply list and that should do it.

  • Welcome to the Forum

    Mark’s brand of paint called Geneva is smooth, non toxic, highly pigmented, slow dry and premixed with medium.

    Here are Mark’s recipes for his slow dry medium for use with other brands of oil paint.

    There are currently no mediums on the market that slow the drying rate of oil paint adequately, so you will need to make it yourself.

    recipe for slow-dry medium (for all colors except titanium white):

    • 10 parts odorless mineral spirits (any artist-grade odorless mineral spirits will do)
    • 5 parts stand oil or linseed stand oil (this is viscous like honey and is not the same as refined linseed oil)
    • 1 part refined linseed oil
    • 5 parts Venice turpentine *
    • 2 parts oil of cloves †

    For burnt umber, you will need extra clove oil. Please watch this video for instructions on how to incorporate the extra clove oil into burnt umber:

    recipe for slow-dry medium for titanium white:

    • 10 parts odorless mineral spirits
    • 1 part stand oil or linseed stand oil
    • 5 parts refined linseed oil
    • 5 parts Venice turpentine *

    Venice turpentine is not at all the same as what is commonly known as "turpentine", a solvent commonly used by artists many years ago (and still used by some artists today). Venice turpentine, on the other hand, is simply tree sap — a thick resin which is thick like honey.

    † Oil of cloves is sold as "clove leaf oil", "clove bud oil", or simply "clove oil" — any of these forms is fine. You may try looking for it in drug stores, health food stores, or from an online supplier.

    Here is a video tutorial on mixing paint with medium:

    Odorless mineral spirit is toxic and you can substitute with a citrus solvent.
    Gamblin has a non toxic medium.

    Drying oils such as linseed and walnut are used to dilute/thin the stiff tube paint (mfrd with 30 to 50% oil).
    Oil improves brushability, blending, mixing and fine detail strokes. When dry oils form a tough, flexible surface.

    Solvents such as oderless mineral spirit, act as a dispersant for the pigmented oils and rapidly  evaporates when they have done their work, ideally leaving no residue.

    Clove oil retards the speed of drying in the pigmented oils. Gives a week or two for adjustments and additions, compared to a day or two without clove oil. Acts a bit like a solvent, no residue and evaporates over the two weeks.

    Venice Turpentine (larch tree resin 100%) improves gloss, brushability, smoothness and durability.


  • Thank you for the information!
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