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Solvent free slow dry medium

Hello fellow artists!

I've been using oil paints now for 6 years or so and bought Marks Geneva line of paints a year ago... and what can I say.... I LOVE IT. Every time I use it its a delight. However I do have quite a large collection of paints from other brands, with some colors that I really like or some power-colors.
I want to use them together with the geneva paint but of course they behave differently; I specifically miss the leveling properties and the long open time on the palette in them. I thought of trying out Marks recipe of a SDM on the DMP website but it contains 10 parts odorless mineral spirits which is exactly the thing that I want to avoid.

My question now is: does someone know a recipe or have experience with a solvent free slow dry medium that acts remotely similar to the geneva paint? Key characteristic should be solvent free, and leveling surface, the drying time doesn't have to be 5 to 10 days.

thank you and best wishes



  • C_Geier

    Welcome to the Forum.

    Replace the OMS with citrus solvent (ZestIt).


    Experiment with Gamblin’s solvent free fluid

    the gel and fluid has a modified soy oil alkyd component which speeds drying 36 to 48 hours.
    Some clove oil may extend this out to a week.

    Using Mark’s SDM for a decade in a well ventilated space, mixed into paint all that is noticeable is the clove oil. I use small closed containers and only bring out what I might need for the next hour. No solvent or rags used, just paper towel and walnut oil with 2% clove oil for brush cleaning and storage immersion.


  • I just use walnut alkyd with paint. You could just use walnut oil to have it dry slowly.

    @dencal interesting you suggested zestit, I tried some of that last year and you definitely need ventilation. It may say non toxic but I had a headache within 10mins and I had the window open. Had to get rid of it the smell was so strong...
  • gar3thjon3s

    Have a try with this product

    Zest-it® Solvent (Citrus Free)

    Zest-it Solvent is a much safer solvent for oil painters than Gum Turpentine and makes an excellent replacement. 
    Ideal for those oil painters who prefer a non-citrus smell, a stronger action, slightly faster drying and a little more 'bite' to their solvent than the original Oil Paint Dilutant and Brush Cleaner. 

    Read more - Zest-it® Solvent (Citrus Free) and about Brush Cleaning

  • edited April 2020
    I've tried the Zest-it solvent, @Dencal. It still smells quite strong. It's just like OMS. 

    I just use pure walnut oil as a medium and brush dip. It adds luster to the paint, takes days to dry, has virtually no odor and has good leveling properties if you use enough of it. It yellows less than linseed oil and it's completely non-toxic - you can eat it. And it's inexpensive. I get it from our local health food store.  If solvent free painting is what you're after walnut oil is great. :)
  • For training in DMP method during summer 2016, I used safflower oil and clove oil as SDM. Later during winter 2016 I used linseed oil and clove oil and that worked well for me. Now I use only linseed oil and use very little though.
  • @dencal interesting they make a non-citrus version. I'm not sure what the benefits of this are over say Gamsol though - surely both are solvents, and whilst advertised as comparatively "safe", you'd definitely want to have ventilation while using either?
  • What bothers me about painting mediums and solvents is even if you can't smell them, they're still in the air.  Some are more refined with less of the toxic compounds, but there's still solvent in the air.

  • I started out preparing my own slow-dry media from Mark's recipes, mixing my own titanium white, burnt umber, pyrole red, cadmium yellow, and French ultramirine (following Mark's instructions), and putting them in "Baby Brezza" reusable storage pouches (ten 7 fl oz pouches for $9.99 from Amazon).  I had some problems with some of the colors: my cadmium yellow wasn't bright enough so I ordered Geneva cadmium yellow, the titanium white got too thin, and the burnt umber got too thick.  If you are going to mix your own slow-dry colors, let them sit in a sealed jar for a day and then adjust the consistency if needed.

  • @ASCooperband, I have never seen the Baby Brezza pouches!  What a great idea!

    How well do they work?  Any problems using them?

    I've been using the aluminum paint tubes and they tend to be difficult to fill and messy.  
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