Greetings from California!

Hi everyone,

I’m very enthused to be apart of this community. I am pretty new to the medium of oil, and looking to improve my value and color representation. I’ve been an artist my whole life, and I really hope to learn allot from everyone here! I am so thankful for finally being able to grow as an artist for myself. 

Below is my first oil painting from life. My current living situation doesn’t allow me to use solvents and thinners, so I’ve been using water mixable oils until I can find a more ventilated space to work in.  

Thanks for your time,




  • I like it.  I like the turquoise and lemon  color selection.  If you want critiques, please say so.  Some do and others don't.

  • Nice work Jacob.  Welcome to the forum.
    i work in a no ventilated room.  I use no solvents.  I use walnut oil mixed with some clove oil.
    i dip brushes in safflower oil between sessions.

  • Hi, @JacobDuane. Welcome to the forum.  :)
  • JacobDuane

    Hello and Welcome.

    Great still life.


  • Thanks everyone! Since I'm totally learning, I'd love some advice.

    I'm working on my second painting right now, and I'll post another thread for feedback. Actually taking a couple days to set something up with better lighting so I can read the values easier. I just watched Mark's video on setting up a still life, and I'm going to take his advice and mess around with the composition for a bit before jumping into the painting. 

    GTO said:
    Nice work Jacob.  Welcome to the forum.
    i work in a no ventilated room.  I use no solvents.  I use walnut oil mixed with some clove oil.
    i dip brushes in safflower oil between sessions.

    Hi GTO, thank you for the tip! How are you thinning the paint without spirits or thinner? I've been using water to thin and lay out a sketch with a base color layer. I also use linseed oil, but it gets really - as Mark would put it - "Buttery". I'm struggling a little with understanding the Fat over Lean principal, but that may not be a problem right now since I'm not working on anything that takes longer than a couple days to finish. 

    Thanks again for your time.
  • @JacobDuane I mix (I think 2%) close with straight up walnut oil.  That’s it.  I use a little extra clove for the umber paint because it dries so fast.  I use titanium white.  I only use lead whit for the foundation (mixed with some umber to get a mid tone). I’m currently using Graham oil paint because they use walnut oil for their paint.  
    I don’t have my exact percentages at hand but will post again later and let you know, as well as to the walnut and safflower oils that I use.  
  • Welcome to the forum, Jacob. The consensus in the forum on water mixable oil paints is walnut oil to thin and never use water as a thinner. Water is for cleaning up the brushes if you have to clean your brushes. A lot of artists here don't clean their brushes after a session they just use a brush dip as @GTO mentioned. Clove oil is used extensively as an additive to brush dips and mediums to forestall drying for oils and water-mixable oils. There's no solvent in clove oil or volatile organic compounds. Your still life is terrific you don't seem to have a problem with values from what I see. I might think your highlights on the bowl are a little to much white but that's difficult to judge from a photo. Check out the recent discussions for a talk about fat over lean. it's covered really well there.
  • @JacobDuane. Here’s what I use:
    4oz walnut oil with 2 Tsp clove for slow dry medium
    2 oz safflower 1/2 tsp clove For brush dip
    I use Gamblin safflower oil and Graham walnut oil.
    i don’t clean brushes with any solvent.  I wipe them with a paper towel and dip them in the brush dip.

  • Very nice work, Jacob. Welcome. I'm.a newby also. I used to use solvents and even ventilated my new tiny studio w/an exhaust fan before using it for the first time but since I'm using the Geneva paints and brush dip I'm basically painting solvent free. The paint is a good consistency w/o using solvents, the brush dip lets me keep from washing brushes until the painting is over then I use 'The masters' brush cleaner which is solvent free. I only use the fan if I 'have to' use Gamsol for something.

  • Hello and welcome

  • @BOB73 wow thanks for that. I just came from working a lot with watercolor and gouache before switching to oil. So I was definitely heading in the wrong direction with that! I think that might be why some of my background blacks look so grey?  

    @GTO Thank you, I’ll give it a whirl.

    @Doug_F The Geneva paints look much better than what I’m working with for sure.  I was on the fence about the cost investment, but I think it may be worth it to jump in. The paints I started with are super cheap Reeves from Amazon. You’re completely correct about the highlights on the bowl, I see it now. Might be a bit too cool and too high of a saturation on the local color as well.

    Ok, I’m floored about these recommendations.  Time to get some brush dip, and some better oils. Thanks.
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