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Mediums for closed studio with no ventilation

Hi All,

First off enormous thanks to Mark for this site and content. I am a developer by trade so a lover of open source but I didn't expect this quality of content to be available for free. Just incredible.

Anyway, I just so happened to make the decision to spend all my free time painting for a few years to see if I could get to a place that I am somewhat OK :) It seems this is the place for me.

I am looking at getting everything set up this week in terms of the studio. The one downside that I have is that my only available space for a studio is my garage, but this has no ventilation. I wondered if it would be possible to only use walnut oil as a medium for my oils? I really am not good with solvents and as there will be 0 air flow I really need to find an alternative.

Lastly, what is the best way to support this project? Is there a patreon account or just buying things from the Geneva art store?

Thanks all,


  • PaulBPaulB mod
    Hi Jamie, I'm an engineer and open source developer who paints.  This is the right place.

    You can buy paint and gear from Geneva Fine Arts, that's a direct way to support the teachings of Mark, or you can buy his videos or take a class with him.  Geneva paint is non-toxic, and I use it in an unventilated room.  It smells of clove oil.

    I have to say that "a few years" to get to a place that you are somewhat okay will be easily achieved.  I would say "a few paintings" is more like it, if you conscientiously apply the method.
  • Jamie

    Geneva is designed to be free of toxic mediums and should not need any additional medium.
    A garage is a useful space for a studio and is very easy to ventilate. Use a quiet exhaust fan or a ceiling vent, flex duct and external motor.


  • Just out of interest: What kind of open source software do you both work on? :)
  • Thanks All and good to meet you.

    I really appreciate the help. I think I will get some extraction in there eventually but the list of jobs before that one is pretty long.

    I will be sure to buy some paints next time around. I didn't actually realise they shipped to the UK but looks like they have drop shipping here.

    On the dev front I am web dev for work using React JS (front end) and Node.js (back end). I play with Python for fun but not for work.

    Easel made today so off to the next step.

    Some of the images I have seen in this forum are mind blowing. If I can get 50% of the way there I will be very happy indeed!
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    I contribute to some productivity software.
  • You don't actually need any extraction or fan system unless you use solvents.
  • So after reading some more about walnut oil and emailing M Graham, they seem to suggest it is not great for thinning paint as it can be hard to work with and overly greasy, but of course great for increasing drying time. Also, there would be no fat over lean if I decided to add some layers.

    I have spent quite literally days trying to find a non solvent (natural) slow drying medium to thin out my Winsor and Newton oils but cannot find anything remotely like a definitive answer. I wish I had found Draw Mix Paint and Geneva prior to buying W&N oils. 

    Should I just take the hit and buy the Geneva paints now or does anyone have any ideas on a slow drying medium without the solvents so I don't have to waste the tubes that I have bought already? I have some walnut and lavender oils and then safflower and clove oils as I am in the UK and the brush dip is not available here so I need to make my own.

    Any help would be great as always :)

    I will definitely be buying Geneva going forward
  • I use walnut oil with clove oil and it works well for me. Try it and see if you like it..
  • Thanks Richard,

    I think I am overthinking it :) I just need to get some paint on the canvass and see what happens! With that said...what kind of ratios do you use?
  • @Richard_P uses this. Well have to wait till he weighs in on this.
  • edited June 2018
    I fill up a 20ml eyedropper with walnut oil and then add 20 drops of clove oil to it. That might a bit too much, maybe 10-20 would work better.

    Mark's ratio for slow-dry medium to add to paint (apart from Titanium white) works out as 2 parts clove oil to 21 non-clove oil parts.
  • Thank you Richard_P!

    I will give this a go. I really appreciate the help.
  • I recommend also using an air filter I bought one, the brand is Austin
  • I recommend also using an air filter I bought one, the brand is Austin
    Thanks Paul, would you say that would be needed even with the Geneva paints?
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