Make your own Geneva paints

Has someone living in Europe or elsewhere where Geneva paints are not available, tried Mark’s recipee for medium and mixed with Winsor&Newton color tubes as advised in Mark’s video? I have tried as indicated in the video but results are not satisfactory. The resulting paint is very sticky and does not flow. I suspect because of Venecian Turpentine. I used Talens V. Turpentine. Can you advise?


  • I live in Barcelona, Spain. Anyone close by interested in interchanging experiences with making own paints a la Geneva?
  • MarcelC

    Welcome to the Forum.

    I used the formula Slow Dry Medium (SDM) before Geneva was available in Australia. Still do, to use up a large stock of oil colour.

    You have not provided any information to allow anyone to diagnose your SDM problem.
    Thick and sticky suggests too much resin or not enough solvent.
    SDM should be about the viscosity of olive oil on a cool day. The mixed paint values should slide off a vertically held palette knife after a few seconds. Mark used tomato ketchup to describe the desirable consistency of mixed paint.

    Suggest adding small amounts of solvent progressively to adjust the consistency.

  • I mixed his formula last year and I’m still using it, like Denis I had a stock of Winsor oils already but I did have access to everything he suggested. It’s doing just fine,  although now I mix it in when I’m mixing my palette colors  and he’s right on the consistency and I found that using a palette knife to mix the best way. 
  • I just made a batch with WN oils as described in Mark's video.
  • WN - Windsor yellow appears to be a good alt to yellow bismouth
  • I made a batch over a year ago.  The consistency is perfect.  I've noticed that it is a little thicker now after 1 1/2 years.  I use it primarily for portraits and use other paints for landscapes, etc.

    One thing I've started doing with my paints of other brands is to add a few drops to my paints on the palette to slow the drying down.  Works great.

    Was your Venice turpentine old?  Or some of your other ingredients?  Also, were you able to follow Mark's directions exactly?  Especially when adding the SDM to the paint?  
  • I mix all my paints, using Mark's recipes with Shiva Venice Turpentine ( ) and have had no problems. I use Daler-Rowney Georgian Oil Colour pigments.
    I found that the viscosity of some colors change over a period of a few days.  For example, titanium white got thinner and burnt umber got thicker. To mix my paints, I coated the inside of a jar with medium, added the pigment, stirred in more medium until it had the consistency of ketchup, covered the jar, let it stand for 3 days, mixed more medium or more pigment if needed, and only then transferred the mixture to a reusable plastic squeeze pouch ( ).
  • @ASCooperband Great idea to put the paint in the reusable squeeze pouches.  The batch I made over a year ago is about to run out, so I need to make some more.  i used the small canning jars which are great for mixing, but I noticed that the paint that ends up on the sides has cured.   I was planning to just leave it when I make more paint, but I might try the squeeze pouches.

    Have you had any problems with the paint drying around the spout or inside?  Does the zip-lock stay sealed?  
  • Absolutely no problem with paint drying inside.  Just wipe the outside of the spout thoroughly before screwing on the cap so the paint doesn't dry there.  (I apply a tiny bit of mineral oil to the outside threads of the spout because one time, before I started wiping the spout carefully, the paint did bond the cap and spout together and I twisted off the spout trying to open it.)  Be careful not to over-tighten the cap or you will twist off the spout.
    For some colors of paint, the slow-dry medium separates inside the pouch. Because one side of the pouch has a full length zip seal, it is easy to open the pouch, stir the paint and medium back together, and reseal the pouch.  The same easy access makes it simple to add more medium if the paint thickens too much or to sop up excess medium with a paper towel if the paint thins too much after filling the pouch.  You want to squeeze the pouch just enough that the paint is almost at the seal before zipping it; some paint will inevitably get past the seal, so be sure to wipe that off after sealing.

  • Thanks @ASCooperband
    I'm about to order some pigments from Natural Pigments to make my next batch of paints from scratch.  I sometimes make my paints and sometimes buy them.  I'm about to make a complete set of slow-drying paints.  Your idea of using the baby food tubes is perfect for this project!!!
Sign In or Register to comment.