Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

You can send an email to [email protected] if you have questions about how to use this forum.

What is the consistency of venice turpentine?

edited June 2018 in Studio & Supplies
Hello everyone!
Due to the very high price of venice turpentine in Brazil, since I can only import and the fees are high, an art teacher suggested (via facebook) to replace it with dammar varnish, since it would work approximately in the same way.

In an old thread ( this was answered to a user:

"If you want to replace the venice turpentine, you could consider just leaving it out, or maybe using more stand oil, or maybe substituting dammar varnish, but I have no idea what sort of proportions to use"

Note that Mark Carder himself approved the comment. Another problem is that I only have access to the dammar in liquid form, which means that it already has solvent and I will need to consider this during mixing. And pure clove oil costs, proportionately, six to twelve times more than paint, so it does not make sense to use it in the medium and I'll just add small amounts to each pile so it will not dry out while I'm using it, maybe three or four days.

So as I have never even seen the venice turpentine (yes, I searched at veterinary stores) I would like to know how consistent it is so that I can reproduce a medium with similar physical properties with SDM. I suppose it's something between the damar and the linssed stand oil.

Thank you all!
Ps.: sorry for my english 


  • First, your English is splendid :-)
    Second, those far wiser than I will make suggestions about the proper mix for medium.

    Venice turpentine is very thick, much like stand oil.

    I worked for sometime without and found a combination that worked as a medium. But I must say, I have finally created the medium according to Mark Carder's 'recipe' and it works quite well.

    I tried to find a slow dry medium 'recipe' that would work without Venice turpentine and no one was able to tell me of any good alternative.

    All the best.
  • Dammar varnish is not a good substitute.  Any varnish will make the paint surface brittle if you mix them.  Stand oil is a much better substitute and available anywhere.  Venice Turpentine is actually larch tree sap.  You should be able to find it in Brazil at stores that sell horse supplies.  It is used to protect hooves.  If you can find a version that is pure larch tree sap, it is also a good substitute for artist grade VT.  However, your best bet is just to buy Geneva paint and forget all the mixing.  The results are better and the open working time is longer.
  • Welcome to the forem. Here’s a photo of Venice turpentine next to damar varnish.
  • Thank you, Renoir! Yes, in fact there is no way to replace an ingredient in a medium and get the same results. I will have to accept the limitations of my mix.

    Thanks for the tip, MikeDerby. The stand oil is easy to find, I already have a bottle here with me. I looked in stores for supplies of horses, and I could not find it. Here they use a mixture of other oils and waxes, probably because of the high cost of turpentine from venice via import. I found a pine turpentine, but it's not the same thing.

    Veronique, thank you very much for the image, that explains a lot! It's definitely more like stand oil.

    One question: is venice turpentine sticky like stand oil, or is it as slippery as linseed oil?

    I'll do this: mix 10 parts of odorless mineral spirits (ecosolv) with 10 of stand oil and one of refined linseed oil. If it gets too thick, I'll put in a bit more of linseed oil and maybe one of damar varnish, to keep it shiny and help with viscosity, since it has solvent in the formula. For titanium white, 10 parts of ecosolv, 5 refined linseed oil and 5 stand oil.

    I accept other suggestions. :) 

    Thank you all.

  • It is sticky. Daniel Green uses 1 part stand oil to 2 parts turps to thin his paints and he did his video painting over 3 days  but I got the feeling that the painting dried overnight.  I think it is the clove oil that makes it dry slower. When you mix the recipe the Venice turps dissolves so the resultant solution isn’t  thick at all.
  • I agree with Veronique that the clove oil is really what helps the paint stay wet longer. All the best!
  • Mark has said it is OK to use imitation VT and is what he uses. Shiva Signature brand Imitation Venice Turpentine - Venice Turpentine is a luxurious, regal oil painting medium. When added to color, it increases the paint's adhesive quality to the canvas and will impart an enamel-like gloss to colors when dry. New 3.75 oz bottle has a wide spill-proof bottom. All other sizes come in metal cans. About $8 USD.  Shiva makes other artist's mediums and may be available on special order from your supplier. I get it from Jerry'
  • SummerSummer -
    edited June 2018
    Google says that the consistency is that of a yellowish or yellowish green viscous oleoresin from the European larch (Larix decidua) used chiefly for lithographic work, in sealing wax, and in varnishes — called also larch turpentine, Venetian turpentine.

    Venice Turpentine is a natural oleoresin and if you use it, the integrity of your medium recipe will be maintained and continue to be archival if your other ingredients are archival as well.  That means that your paintings can be cleaned a few hundred years from now by conservators.  I don't believe that is the case for other resins like Liquin which are synthetic.

    This reminds me that just the other day I came across a brand of paint I never heard of before.   And hey, they use both natural and synthetic resins.  It's called Mussini by Schmincke.  Anyone here use it?  They claim they are the only oil paints made that contain resin in their formula.   :o   They claim that it is a technique used by many of the old masters.   :'(   (Thankfully not the synthetic.)   The Mussini paints contain both natural and synthetic resins that produce more luminosity and brilliance and are supposed to be good for glazing.  I'm not eager to give them a try just yet.  I have too much Liquin to use up first--haha.  And, I'm happy with Geneva paints that I believe are still the safest and best for pigment load, open time, leveling, and they are archival.  Mussini--by Schmincke with both types of resin already in the paint!  Hmm. 


Sign In or Register to comment.