Please tell me about SDM...

Okay, so I have all of the ingredients to mix the SDM, but I am still a little freaked out about the whole idea of slowing down the drying time.

Can some of you with experience using SDM give me some feedback about your experiences?

How long does it take for a painting to dry using paints with the SDM? How long before you can varnish? How long can the paint be left out on the glass palette before it begins to dry? Biggest advantage to SDM, drawbacks... Etc., etc...

Anything you can offer would help calm me down :)

Thanks everyone!!


  • djfedeli

    SDM makes tube paint; smoother, easy to mix, self leveling, glossy, longer open time for adjustment on the palette and canvas, almost infinite storage in airtight jars as stock, several weeks useful storage in airtight plastic cups as mixed value strings.

    A painting dries to touch dry stage progressively starting with the earth colors in about two days, then reds, blues and finally yellow tones in about a week. Remember though, that paint on the canvas is a compound of these colors.

    The painting can be oiled out or retouch varnished in about ten days, depending on thickness of application, temperature and humidity. Final varnish in six months.

    My glass palette is usable the next day, extendable to about a week with airtight fridge storage with some clove oil on a cotton ball.

    Drawbacks; availability of clove oil and cost and availability of venetian turpentine. Advantages; see first paragraph.

    I love SDM for the latitude it allows in having my canvas workable for a week or so, SDM adjusts the tube paint to an even and consistent ketchup viscosity that brushes well and mixes beautifully.

  • Denis gave good information. When I'm finished painting for the day I dip my brush in the sdm and walk away. I may not come back to it for several days but I just pick up where I left off. My paintings usually dry within a week. I think once you start your first painting with this medium you're going to love it.
  • dencal & Ronna,

    Thank you very much for your feedback!

    I intended to do the mix either way, but I have been fretting over it. I sounds like the overall drying time isn't extended too much longer, so that makes me feel better about it. I am anxious to feel and see the results!

    So I spent a total of about $43 for all the materials, which makes 23oz of SDM for color and 11.5 oz for white. The total came out to about $1.25/oz. (in case that seems good, I included the list below). Just for a point of reference, the SDM from Gamblin is about $2.00/oz, so I guess the overall cost isn't too crazy.

    Thanks again for your opinions - much appreciated.

    OMS Gamsol 16 oz Can - $8.97 (Jerry's Artarama)
    Weber Linseed Oil (Refined) 4 oz Can - $3.53 (Jerry's Artarama)
    Shiva Signature Stand Oil 8 oz Bottle - $7.12 (Jerry's Artarama)
    Shiva Signature Imitation Venice Turpentine 3.75 oz Bottle - $5.64 (x2) (Jerry's Artarama)
    Clove Oil 4 oz Bottle - $11.24 (ProBiotics)
  • @dencal If you keep your paint in piles (instead of shallow smears) on the glass palette, unless it's hot in your studio, your palette should be useable without the fridge for much longer than 48 hours. Also @djfedeli, six months before varnishing is being cautious (which is good!), but in practice you probably don't need to wait that long. I don't want to give specifics since there are a lot of factors and I don't have enough personal experience with it, but I'm just letting you know that if the overall drying time is too long for your purposes, don't worry about it, as there are ways to speed up drying of a finished painting and in most cases you don't actually need to wait six months even if you do nothing to speed the drying time up.

    Our studio is kept at around 68°F/20°C and is extremely dry, and during our workshops, paint mixed with SDM on the palette has been totally usable for at least a week, except when students smear their paint flat onto the palettes (instead of keeping them in little piles as Mark does when he mixes his steps in his videos). SDM is essential for this method because it's wet-on-wet, and without it, your paint will dry way too fast.

    Hope that helps! Also if you really want to keep your paint useable for a long time, the fridge method works great. My first two paintings took me three months each and I know for a fact that I used paint that was weeks old on both of them, using the fridge method to extend the drying time. There are other methods people have talked about on the forum and in our classes as well, so depending on your needs, there are different things you can do, and this forum will have the info for you should you need it!

    Thanks @dencal as always for your prompt and thorough responses to these kinds of technical questions! :) People like you are a big part of what makes this place so useful.
  • I made a simple cover out of foam board with a 2" high side also out of foam board and put together duck tape. I set this over the palette when not painting and put a few drops of clove oil on the palette. The paint will stay usable for 3-4 weeks. Some pigments up to a 6 weeks. The clove oil fumes displaces the oxygen and inhibits drying. I can keep pigment straight from the tube for 2 weeks this way.
  • Thanks gfish - that is an awesome suggestion!
  • It may be helpful to know that clove oil is not technically an oil, but rather a very, very slow evaporating solvent. Meaning that after a month or so, usually less, it will completely evaporate into the air. Which is why a dry oil painting will no longer smell of cloves.
Sign In or Register to comment.