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Leave out the clove oil?

I really like Mark Carders slow dry medium, but the clove oil is starting to get to me.  Can I just leave it out or is there a substitute?  What is the drawback to leaving it out?  Thank you.


  • The paint will dry faster.  Especially the burnt umber.

  • You can leave it out, @JSSfan814. As @GTO said, it just means your paint will dry faster. I don't use it because the smell gets to me. It seems to permeate the whole house. You can just mix smaller amounts of paint; just the amount you'll use in a session. That way you don't end up with dry paint on your palette. :)
  • @Richard_P recently suggested that instead of using SDM you can just use slower drying pigments and walnut oil. For example, you could swap the burnt umber for a 50/50-ish mix of ivory black and burnt sienna, which looks the same as burnt umber.

    I think it's a good idea. Also what tassieguy suggested. Instead of pre-mixing all value strings you can just do 1 or 2 at a time and mix a bit as you go or re-mix ones that dry out.
  • How long do you need the paints to stay open for? I have done a lot of testing so the longer you need the less choice available.
  • edited March 12
    I practise with what @tassieguy & @CJD are suggesting, it's seems the only and best way, I only mix what paint I need in the moment at each painting session. Walnut oil is helpful.
     I just don't get the same workflow that Mark C. suggests, instead I am developing my own personal workflow now which is not so fast and that's ok.
     I work in the impasto style, so my paint dries rather quickly from overnight up to 3 to 4 maybe 5 days while substituting clove oil for walnut oil. Clove oil extends my paint up to 1 1/ 2 to nearly 2 weeks.
  • edited March 30
    I use about 1/5-th as much of clove oil as Mark recommends and keep it in air-tight glass jars. It does not smell as much and gets reasonably dry on canvas in a few days. On glass palette left at ambient temperature, it stays soft for a couple of weeks and I often recycle it adding some linseed oil or solvent if needed. Agree to all the above suggestions. 
  • I use a 16 X12 palette in a palette seal that I close up after I am done working. It is airtight so it keeps the smell down and the paint lasts longer. If I know I am going to be gone for a long stretch I can put the box in the freezer.
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