Marks video: thinning paint with medium

Hello all,

I found Mark's videos on youtube and am very impressed. I'm a traditional oil painter and really enjoy watching his videos.

I was told by another artist to never thin down paint with medium, that the old masters didnt use much medium, and that you should only use straight paint out of the tube. I trusted him because his work is extremely good.

I know other highly skilled traditional artists who use medium, but they tend to just dip their brush in the medium or mix a little into their paint piles on the palette. I've never seen anyone literally pre-mix it in a jar or tube like Mark did.

A few days ago I was listening to an interview with Robert Gamblin, and he said that oil paints manufactured today are stiffer than ever. They're purposely made as stiff as possible "so you can get an impasto outside on a 80 degree day." Thus, the person can thin down as they want from there, but you can't ever de-thin the paint.

Have others here tried Mark's approach? Does the paint become too transparent? I'm just worried that all that oil in the medium will be too much after a few layers of paint? (Then again, as Robert said, the old masters paint was much thinner than the stuff we buy tubed today, so the old masters paint was likely more like the consistency of Marks?)

I want to try this, but I'm afraid of adding too much medium to my paint. haha. What are your thoughts on this? Do you like the paint thinned down beforehand?




  • Hi KP and welcome, have no fear!! I have been using Mark's method and his medium for 7 years now with absolutely no problems. If you follow his suggestions completely you will be amazed. You sound as if you already have a learned background in oil painting.. I think you will be delighted with your results. Here is a link to my paintings … all are done using marks method and medium. I was a novice when I started with Mark's teachings.
  • KP, if you follow Mark's mixing method to the consistency he suggests, and your paint has sufficiently high pigment density, transparency shouldn't be a problem. Geneva paints have the highest pigment density of anything I've used so far, so keep your eye out for it when it becomes available.
  • hi KP...Mark thind down the paint with a particular formulation that keeps the paint wed for a long time. I am not sure if it is suitable for glazing as the method he uses is to put the paint on in one go, not in separate layers.
  • Welcome KP. Many of us here have been using this method for a long time. You could mix up a small batch of medium and put a few drops on each small pile of paint. See how you like it before mixing up the jars. I think you'll like it.
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