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Can I use a medium that just contains the oils - refined Linseed, Linseed Stand oil, Clover leaf?

Hi - New to the site but really enjoyed the videos and ready to start painting - just the way I like to paint but never have been able to mix paint or colours right! So frustrating!  But what I have seen has taught me so much already.  I need now to form the initial paint mix, but for health reasons cannot use any form of turpentine, and not keen on substitutes - is it possible to just use the above oils to liquify the paints - I read the recipes on the supplies page but they all seem to have a form of turpentine in them.  Hoping I can find a way to form the paints without!  Would be grateful for some advice.   Thanks!


  • Patricia_B

    Yes. I have used linseed oil, walnut oil and stand oil individually to act as a medium to modify paint consistency. Each works well, but don’t expect a long open time on the palette or canvas, a couple of days tops, earth colours will get lumpy in a day.

    I assume you mean ‘clove oil’ rather than clover oil. This will extend the open time. 6 to ten days.

    Geneva does not use solvents. Gamblin has a non-solvent medium.


  • Thanks for that - I just went to their site, inserted requirements into their table and they recommended the following, I think it is pure Safflower oil.  Do you think that would be fine? I did actually buy a large bottle of linseed oil, some stand linseed oil and clove leaf oil, so would prefer to use that if given the okay. Many thanks for the reply!
  • Sorry - for some reason it just links to the table page - it looked like it was a bottle of their safflower oil - the result. I just looked up a previous discussion here saying the venice turpentine is safe enough to use but does contain a percentage of turps so I would not be able to use that, unfortunately.  If people think using the three oils I have is okay, I will quite happily progress by mixing those into jars with the five main paints. 
  • dencaldencal -
    edited October 2018

    Check that the clove oil is 100%. Often cut with alcohol. Too much CO in the mix can mean a sticky surface.

    Yes any or all of these will act as a medium, with varying characteristics.
    Without a solvent the paint may be too thick to manage . Solvent is a pigment dispersal medium.
    Thick paint is problematic when painting thin lines, fine edges, flat backgrounds and detailed features.

    Be mindful of the fat over lean rule. To avoid wrinkling and cracking.
    Start lean with little oil and increase with each subsequent layer. If you are following Mark’s one layer approach, no problem.


  • Thanks - I'll look at the video detailing the mix percentages when making up the paint 'potion' in the jars, and try to do the same just with the three oils, so it will fit the different paint requirements as closely as possible, though I realize not perfectly so, and shall follow your advice.   Much appreciated!
  • Can you use OMS odorless mineral spirits?
  • Hi - I actually used them for painting a  base coat the other day with burnt umber and white, (as shown in a video) on a few small canvases in preparation for a first exercize, but did that outside, but could tell that to use them within the paints when painting inside would be too much. I have painted in past, when last attempted oil painting, just using linseed oil,and that worked fine, quite liked it, though canvas took months to dry!  My problem has always been the mixing of colours rather, and wondered if just using oil as medium would cause any problems in following Mark's teachings, or in the paint mixes themselves.
  • Once the oms is added to the other mediums and paint it shouldn't be to bad. the final product will smell like cloves. and you are right to be outdoors when using oms from the container. Dencal's suggestions are your best alternatives.
  • Okay. That's great. Thank you both for the advice.
  • Thanks guys. I was wondering this myself. Got some confusing advise from some idiot at the art supply store.
  • God Bless our forum!
  • I also add W&N artist's painting medium to my mix of paint, slows drying time even further. I prefer this over venice turp.
  • I use walnut oil with clove oil to thin tubed paint to a slippery and fluid consistency that takes longer to dry. I don't use solvents.
  • how is walnut oil better than linseed other than WO gets ringworms out of your skin?
  • Walnut oil adds a slippery quality to the paint so that once you've added enough it glides over the surface (even ones with a toothy nature). So it feels somewhat like painting with a thinner paint (like a water based media or oil thinned with solvent).

    Try it!
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