Thin and thick paint

New to painting, I bought quite a bit of aBob Ross supplies. My first painting came out ok. But I think part of the issue I had was the paint was too thick. How do I get my paints thinner so they flow easier. Example, parts of the painting was wet for several days. How do I get the paint to spread easier and more smoothly. I think if paint was the right consistency my painting would have come out much better. 


  • Mark

    Welcome to the forum.

    Adjust the consistency of the tube paint with linseed or walnut oil. One drop at a time.

  • @Dencal is right, @Mark_Stevens22. I use walnut oil. If you want a slightly leaner medium that will dry a bit faster, you can add a tiny bit of OMS to the oil.

    Welcome to the forum.  :)
  • edited November 6
    Thanks you 2. I have to ask, being new to all this, what is OMS? So, when dropping the oil on to the paint,  just add a drop to the paint on the pallet let it sit or stir it in? Again thanks for the quick response, been in forums where it might take a week to get a response if at all. Says a lot for the paint community. I'll have to post my next painting. At 57 this is a new venture for me and I appreciate the help and advice. 
  • OMS - odorless mineral spirit - or turps as they used to call it.

    I didn't start painting until I was past sixty. It's never too late. It's one of the best things that's happened to me.

    You're in a good place here, @Mark_Stevens22. It a really supportive community. There is no other painters' forum like it on the web. 
  • edited November 8
    I'd been watching Bob Ross, and thought, I can do that and it would be good therapy for me being out of work at the time. Thank you tessieguy. Enjoy the day. Oh, do I stir the oils into the paint?
  • Hi @Mark_Stevens22

    You can look up and watch for free the Mark Carder youtube videos. They cover the mechanics and processes of oil painting - and lots of other useful things as well. 

    OMS is a solvent, as is turpentine. It is a little different than turpentine because it is petroleum-based, while turpentine comes from pine trees. Use ventilation if you use these, because they can be irritating to breathe. Don't add more than about 10% solvent to your paint nut on the palette. Mix it up by stirring with your palette knife until the paint and solvent are completely mixed together. 

    Oil paint will stay wet - called "open" - for several days depending on how thick the application is, but also the temperature and humidity of your studio. It is normal.
  • Everyone is very helpful here, thank you all!
  • edited November 8
    @Mark_Steves22, I missed you last question about whether to stir the oil into the paint. The answer is yes. You can do this with a pallet knife, or you can just dip your brush in the oil and swish your brush around in the paint until it is the consistency you want. Mark uses rather fluid paint that levels well. I like mine a bit stiffer, so that the brushstrokes are visible and create texture.  :)

    BTW, @Desertsky is right, there is turpentine derived from pine trees and there is solvent derived from petroleum. People who don't know the difference, or for whom the difference is of no consequence, just call them both turps as I used to before I took up painting. OMS is much less irritating to mucus membranes than turpentine which should only be used in a well-ventilated space. It gives me a wheezy chest, so I don't use it. OMS doesn't smell anywhere near as strong as turpentine and doesn't affect my chest. 
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