Non toxic recipe for getting “non-Geneva” oil paints to similar consistency?

I have the recommended published recipes from the supply list but am looking to a avoid OMS as I have a parrot in the house who can be harmed by Solvents in the air.  Any thoughts or places to start would be appreciated!


  • Some artists don't use solvents, @nikonf22. I just use walnut oil to thin the paint. 
  • I use M Graham Walnut Alkyd Medium, and love it.

    “Walnut oil can be used to increase flow and slow drying of oil colour, and can be used to clean up, with no need for harmful solvents.

    The Walnut/Alkyd medium thins colour and accelerates drying, improving adhesion between layers and increasing surface sheen and flexibility.It is non-yellowing and ideally suited for alla-prima and glaze applications.”

  • I would worry that adding the Alkyd would not play well w straight Geneva paints.  The walnut oil seems like a good move.  Any experience with this?  I will have to give both a try!  I am new to this and am still struggling to get my mixing skills in order.  
  • What are you using?  If you are using Straight Geneva paints, you don't need to add anything they are supposed to have medium added to the tubes, and the tubes are larger to get you a decent price point for a diluted paint.  This is how they are supposed to be, and they are a premium product, not diluted like a student grade paint might be.

    You don't add OMS to Geneva paints.  I don't know what you do if you have Geneva paint, but want to thicken them or thin them. while retaining their non-toxic character.  There are lots of things one could try, but which one is best is another thing.

    Geneva paints are particularly good when you use Mark's system of premixing a palette of the colours one will need to complete a painting, because they mix easily and remain open for a very long time.  If you want to paint conventionally, there are lots of paints that are non-toxic, and will remain open for quite some time.  There are also lots of mediums that will delay the cure, like Marc Delessio's lavender oil medium.  Not cheap though.
  • You could try the Gamblin Solvent Free Gel medium.  It speeds up the drying of regular paints a bit.  I use it with my non-Geneva paints. 

    I like the idea of walnut oil too.  I use it some as well.  It helps slow the drying time.  You could add a bit of clove oil into the walnut oil if you want the drying to be even slower.  Don't add more than a few percent of clove oil mixed into the walnut oil though.  Maybe 3% or so.  Too much clove oil causes problems in the paint.  

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