recipe for slow-dry medium (australia)

Hi, very new here i live in Australia and oil of cloves and Venice turpentine
is very difficult to get / expensive in large amounts, my favorite art supply website is
"" and im trying to recreate the recipe for slow-drying medium
from their available products,

so far my recipe is:

  • 1L          -      Gamblin Gamsol Odourless Mineral Spirits
  • 500ML   -      Art Spectrum Stand Linseed Oil
  • 100ML   -      Art Spectrum Refined Linseed Oil
  • 500ML   -      Gamblin Solvent-Free Fluid Mediums
  • 125ML   -     Gamblin Neo-Megilp Medium

i was thinking Gamblin Solvent-Free Fluid Medium would be a replacement of
Venice turpentine and oil of cloves since its safflower oil and alkyd resin but im not sure
if it would be thick enough so that's why i was thinking also adding the Gamblin Neo-Megilp Medium,
to thicken it up if needed,

my hope is that the alkyd resin would replace Venice turpentine and the Safflower oil would replace
oil of cloves,

i haven't made the medium yet im about to purchase it all, i was just wondering what more experienced people thought of the recipe and the products used,

it doesn't matter if its not exactly the same i just want it to have a close enough effect to drawmixpaints slow dry medium

i appreciate any advice, tips or information you can give :)


  • lawdawe

    Geneva oil paint is available in Australia. Geneva does not need any slow dry medium. Geneva can be purchased by pressing 

    Venice Turpentine is available. Yes it is expensive but 120mls makes nearly a litre of slow dry medium and will last for years. For example….

    IHerb is a reliable global supplier with quality clove oil at a reasonable price.

    This product is about $25 in Australia.

    None of the products you have listed will slow the drying time, in fact Gamblin’s Solvent Free Gel will speed up the drying time.

    Clove oil is the essential ingredient to inhibit the polymerisation of the oil paint.

  • Hi Dencal,

    thanks for commenting so quickly, and appreciate the links and information,

    what is the drying time of Venice Turpentine and clove oil?

    according to Gamblin's medium guide,

    Gamblin Solvent-Free Fluid Medium: is 3-4 Days drying time,
    Gamblin Neo-Megilp Medium: is 3-4 Days drying time,

    while stand oil and refined linseed oil: is is 4-6+ Days drying time

    so im guessing the Venice turpentine drying time is equal or longer than the 4-6 days drying time?
    if the 3-4 is going to be too quick?

    one of the main reasons im trying to source it all from artsuppliesaustralia is its all in one place, and from order i can get the products in 3 days,
    the other reason is the quantities ive said in the recipe im trying to make is around $160 total,
    while that one bottle of Venice Turpentine is $160 and for the quantity of the recipe would be double that needed,

    i have read that safflower oil also has polymerization abilities similar to clove oil, maybe not as good but has been used as an alternative in the past

    i will be buying Geneva paint in the future but i want to use up the paint i already have first,

    saying all this, ill probably buy the Venice turpentine in the link you sent at 75ml and make the original drawmixpaints recipe as 75ml = 5 parts and change the other quantities to suit

    thanks for your help so far

  • id just like to add that on Talens website the place selling the Venice turpentine

    What is Venetian turpentine and when do I use it?

    Venetian turpentine owes its name to its history. This turpentine balsam that is extracted from an Austrian larch used to be traded via Venice.

    This traditional glazing medium is valued for its ability to positively influence the gradual transition of colours as well as the durability of the paint layer.

    The medium increases the flow as well as the gloss of the paint, shortens the drying time a little, is slightly yellowing and can be thinned with white spirit and turpentine. Only to be used in the final layers.


    searching i cant get a actual day measurement but a few different websites and even Talens, have said the drying time is moderate which is the same description of what Gamblins fluid medium has,

    by a few different websites and forums seems like Venice turpentine has a quicker drying time than what stand oil has, but a slower drying time than just oil paint, which is what the Gamblins solvent free fluid medium does as well in comparison to stand oil.

    what ill do is ill make two batches with the original recipe and the altered one and do a detailed comparison study with tests for people who want a cheaper alternative and ill post the results once done,

  • lawdawe

    Using SDM with water mixable oils or artists oils the drying times on the canvas are as follows….

    Burnt Umber - 3 to 5 days
    Ultra Marine Blue and P Alizarin Crimson - 5 to 8 days
    Cad Yellow light and Titanium White - 10 days.

    All of this is very dependent on the temperature and humidity of the studio.
    Additionally, all of our applied values are mixtures rather than pure pigments.

    I paint using premixed values in 10 ml snap caps so I can avoid picking up skinned over paint from the palette. This is important when’d working on a canvas over a week or ten days. Also, I hate scraping up wasted paint from my palette. The long open times allows me back in at the end to adjust edges, values and temperatures or to redo bits without excavating semi dried paint. 

    When you take your studio costs, materials costs and time costs into account, the SDM cost is a very small component of the value of the produced paintings.

    My approach was to go with the Carder formula to the letter with the intention of later modification once I knew what to expect. The result convinced me that the expense and effort was very worthwhile.

  • edited July 29
    There is some caution from conservators on use of clove oil. I know Mark Carder has a different view, but for your information this is from article by George O'Hanlon that points to at least some caution. It would be interesting to know Mark's perspective on whether he uses it within limited quantities, as he appears to use it successfully:

    "Although the claim clove oil darkens paint has not been proven, using clove oil as a drying retarder in oil paint is greatly discouraged as its addition may substantially weaken the dried paint film. The use of clove oil in oil painting was also asked on the forum managed by the University of Delaware, Materials Information and Technical Resources for Artists (MITRA). Kristen deGhetaldi answered the artist:

    'Every so often we will encounter a painting by an artist who is known to have used clove oil or a painting that lists clove oil on the reverse as an ingredient in the paint. Many of these paintings have proven impossible to safely clean, meaning the yellowed, degraded varnishes used to coat the surface cannot be removed without causing irreversible damage to the paint layer. Clove oil is an attractive additive BECAUSE it hinders drying...but adding too much can create a film that remains sticky and does not form a cohesive, healthy paint film, one that will remain sensitive to even the mildest of solvents. Most likely adding a drop or two to a substantial amount of medium is not the end of the world, but artists often add far more than is necessary in order to combat the drying processes.'"
    MITRA Forum Question  Source:

  • thank you for both of your comments, i have bought the ingredients to follow the SDM to the letter,
    the clove oil and Venice turpentine are 3 weeks away in delivery, the rest of my products will be arriving mid this week, i will be experimenting with mediums in my next painting, my current painting i havent used mediums and im fairly new to painting so i dont want to start putting in paint with mediums halfway through my current painting,

    been looking at mediums because most days i only have an hour or so to paint and i need the paints to dry slower and be more fluid like, this is my current painting, and the paint is drying in 24 hours with no mediums, im not very good at colour matching or mixing colours right now as this is only my third painting and all ive done in the past is greyscale pencil sketches, so i need the paint on my palette and canvas to stay wet for longer,
    i must say i have really enjoyed Marks canvas stain colour instead of painting on the white canvas which is what i did for my first 2 paintings, i do want geneva paint in the future but i want to use up the oil paint i already have first,
  • lawdawe

    Looking good.

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