THANK YOU, THANK YOU WILLIAM MCCOY! You really know your art stuff!
Can't wait to give your advice on "Slinging Paint " a try!
I was wondering if there are any studies showing whether or not the addition of damar varnish mixed in with paint can contribute to yellowing. I know first hand that cobalt drier is terrible since a painting that I did at 15 is yellow, but damar varnish I wonder... and using it as a retouch between sessions-- any issues with yellowing?
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of obtaining a copy of The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques, by Ralph Mayer, 5th edition. Having it within reach will cover a multitude of artistic sins and errors.
Damar varnish is made from a natural resin of forest trees of Asia, and as a natural resin, it WILL yellow over time, and contribute to yellowing. IT IS NOT A PAINTING MEDIUM and should never be used as one. Varnishes form hard, even brittle, layers. It is included in some medium recipes, but it is NOT a principal ingredient in them, and shouldn't be used that way.
Same problem with cobalt drier. What a misused substance! You succumbed to the same problem many beginning artists do, by focusing on the word "drier" without reading the accompanying label. When it says "use sparingly" it means EXCEEDINGLY sparingly. Cobalt drier is a siccative compound that accelerates the curing process (oxidation) of oil paint, but when used in too great a quantity, it undermines the toughness and flexibility of the paint layer. If some of the paint on the painting you mentioned hasn't fallen off the support by now, I'd be surprised. There's nothing wrong with cobalt drier, per se, except when used in ways in which it was not intended, which you did.
Painting, whether oils, acrylics, alkyds, watercolors, or whatever, are all examples of applied chemistry. That's why it's NECESSARY to understand what the materials will do before you start using them. If one uses those chemicals without understanding their characteristics, one gets unexpected, and sometimes disastrous results. No different that buying a chemistry set and starting to mix compounds willy-nilly without reading the instructions. Sometimes it blows up in your face.
Get your own, treasured copy of the Artist's Handbook, and you will avoid disasters in your work. There's everything in it that you'll ever need to know.
Yes, I need to get this book. The painting with cobalt drier was used 32 years ago, so I can fully see the effects of time. Fortunately this was the only painting that ever used this chemical.
Try draining all your tube colors on blotter-paper 24-78 hours proir to mixing them with your medium...tube paints are already too "fat",so by adding more oily mediums, they will dry slowly, and even when dry to the touch, are not fully dry ,and so not stable enough for subsequent coats. Try using a volume of dammar varnish in the medium, it will dry quicker (and harder) It will 'handle differently though. the most important is to remove the exsessive oil that the tube color contains, and then you can add your own binding medium. Enjoy !
Hi - i just joined this site, and i was led to it by your questions concerning oil painting mediums. i saw some responses and here's what i have found in my inquiries:
1. Regarding Liquin: it is a great product for the right purpose; however, it is highly toxic (just open the bottle and smell it!) and smells like gasoline. I mix it with lead white (you can still find it in zinc white and some underpainting whites-- use the large tubes; THIS IS STRICTLY OUTDOOR, WELL VENTILATED WORK, AND USE A MASK IF YOU HAVE ONE, AND GLOVES) as a traditional ground on well gessoed canvases or panels. The advantages: it makes the support surface very inert and it will not absorb the oil from your paint. It does decrease drying time; however, then you can use these surfaces as test panels for the brands of paint you use. I paint a stripe right from the tube and watch them daily to see if they have dried. this way you get the actual drying times of the paint (without absorption by gesso or canvas...) and then apply painting mediums as you see fit.
2. Regarding quicker drying time, use the Ralph Mayer's recipe: 5parts rectified turpentine (i use W&N distilled--stay away from the so called 'pure gum spirits of turpentine'. I bought some recently and the manufacturer's must be cutting corners: it smells like mineral spirits, and i only use it to clean my brushes. it should smell like sweet pine and not be offensive (all the rectified, venice, and distilled turpentines have this pleasant aroma), 1part stand oil, 1 part damar varnish, and 7 drops or more of COPAL medium, don't confuse the word with COBALT, which i did for years! the copal is a drier, and i have seen this in art supply stores as a medium, which i have read is great for glazes and other thin paint applications that you might want to dry more quickly.
3. Regarding some responses: it may not have been to your post, but I read a reply somewhere that said "you don't need to use medium at all, or, just use with some paints..." This is true to a point; however, in order to have a consistently matte or glossy surface, I find a little medium gives you the consistency, or a way to control it. I can always tell a bad painting when I see dry and wet spots across the canvas. It detracts from the image, colors, everything. If have found that best thing to do is this: use test panels like I mentioned above. find out how much oil actually is in the paint you purchase. see how they dry, straight from the tube.
4. I'm curious about walnut oil paints. do you like them?
"I used an oil paint medium that I made from 1 part stand oil, 2 parts linseed oil, 1 part Turp. ( I used Gamsol) . I used it sparingly with Graham oil paint, which has a walnut oil base. I can't get the painting to dry! I really liked using the medium. My question is how long will it take to dry, it's now going on three weeks and If I make a new medium should I add a drier to the mix and reduce the linseed oil amount. HELP!"
You have used an oil painting medium that is extraordinarily "fat", meaning that it contains an enormous ratio of drying oil (Linseed Oil and Stand Oil) to that of solvent (Gamsol). Because of this oil-to-solvent ratio being so heavily weighted toward the oil side, it is quite understandable that your applied paint would require an unusually long time to dry.
I not only have used M. Graham's oil paint, but I have also mixed both Linseed Oil, and Walnut Oil as ingredients within the same medium, and I have no drying problems, whatsoever. I do not believe that the M. Graham oil paint is your source of slow drying, but the tremendous oil-to-solvent ratio of your medium may be.
I avoid all alkyd mediums. They are unknown quantities, in my opinion. they are alkyd-based (synthetic resin) mediums, and, except for the manufacturer, no one is quite sure just what the ingredients truly are in such mediums, nor the ratios in which they occur within the mix. One thing that is true is that the alkyd mediums exhibit much different drying characteristics than traditional, drying-oil-based mediums. Used together, or interleaved with each other in the form of paint layers, they can be problematic.
However, one thing is definitely true about alkyd mediums--they do dry really fast. In fact, they dry fast, like a "lean" medium, but they remain flexible after drying, like a "fat" medium. It is that characteristic that can make them problematic, when mixed with a traditional drying oil medium, within the same painting.
For much faster drying, and a more archival application, try a more traditional mix of one part Stand Oil to one, or two parts Turpentine--real, bona-fide, gum spirits of Turpentine, and not Odorless Mineral Spirits (which is much slower-drying than real, Turpentine.). You will experience a much different drying rate; it should be much faster, and much more archival than other choices.
So, to achieve faster drying, use a ratio of less oil to solvent. Make that solvent Turpentine, and not OMS. Apply your paint in thin layers, rather than thick, impasto strokes. These will all contribute to faster drying, and improved archival integrity.
Hi - I don't mean to sound too judgemental, but its 'copal', not 'cobalt';I always referred to it as the latter, until I bought some recently. I'm going to mix up a batch of Mayer's oil painting medium right now; thanks for the advice, i will use the copal sparingly. Dan
Actually there are both copal and cobalt drier.
To KatPaints, and ALL:
Well, sort of.
Some pre-mixed drier blends may have copal in them, BUT copal is a natural varnish resin, NOT a drier, per sé (see Mayer's note at* following). Cobalt linoleate, IS however, a drier of long use and notoriety. Make note of Mayer's definitions and tidbits, to wit:
"Driers or siccatives are metallic salts combined with materials such as oils or resins which mix with the usual paint and varnish ingredients. They are diluted with solvents for convenience in using. Their chemical and physical reactions are not always fully established."
"As a general rule, driers detract from the life of paint and varnish films and are considered undesirable additions to oil paints and varnishes for permanent painting, especially when used indiscriminately. However, when sparingly applied with judgement by experienced painters [italics, mine], a good drier can be used with safety and in some instances, as in some glaze manipulations, may be essential. Driers have been in use as long as drying oils."
"Inasmuch as the oils and resins take up a very small percentage of metallic salts, driers are composed largely of inert materials. Only a comparatively minute amout of active drying ingredient is required to give a strong siccative effect. Lead, manganese and cobalt are the chief metals whose compounds are used as driers in paints and varnishes; each has its own special function but cobalt is the only one now considered suitable for artists' materials."
"Cobalt linoleate, which is made by cooking cobalt salts in linseed oil, is the best (or rather least harmful) drier for permenent painting. It is less progressive than other driers—that is, it seems to act mainly while it is still in a liquid state—and less likely to cause excessive darkening with age. It is put up in small bottles by several artists' supply firms. ..."
"The most important rule to observe in adding siccatives to glazes or painting mediums is to test the drying action of the mixture before using it...."
"The addition of drier to prepared, ready-made liquid painting mediums often leads to cracking and other failures, because these mediums usually contain driers, *copal varnish (which is always made with drier) [italics, mine], and other materials which are not compatible with the siccatives added by the artist."
*(The point he makes here is probably what has led to the confusion expressed in several previous postings.)
Ralph Mayer's full discussion on driers takes up over three pages in The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques. Everyone get a copy AND READ IT and quit speculating on what a drier is or is not. "Cobalt" is the correct term and chemical; "Copal" is a varnish resin, though varnishes dry more rapidly than oils, they are brittle. However, Cobalt and Copal are NOT the same thing, and NOT the same function.
If you want drying effects without damaging the paint layer, mix a tiny amount of Liquin Alkyd medium into your paint mixtures, and it will dry plenty fast enough, and won't damage the toughness and flexibility of the paint film. "Driers" are compounds that you will fiddle with at your own risk. When your paint flakes off the canvas, you will see how detrimental it can be. Unless you're an experienced chemist, leave it alone.
The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques, by Ralph Mayer, Fifth Edition, ©1991, published by Viking Penguin. Revised and Updated by Steven Sheehan, Director of the Ralph Mayer Center, Yale University School of Art.
Get it, read it, refer to it, absorb it. Stop guessing.
By all means, keep slinging paint (but with as few adulterants as possible)
W. M. McCoy
May I suggest a simplification of your process? In the initial part of your painting, when you lay down the initial layer of paint, just dilute it some pure Gamsol, but not much. The Gamsol will help it dry faster.
Next, I would simplify, as suggested by others, your medium mix: perhaps something like 50/50 Gamsol and either Linseed oil or Stand oil; which is what I use. I also have premixed 2/3rds Gamsol &1/3rd Refined Linseed Oil as my "third" medium.
As you apply more paint, then start to add more of your medium, especially if you are adding additional layers of paint, and make sure you add more linseed (or Stand) oil as you mix your paints.
Thank you for your suggestion. I have now started using a Walnut Alkyd Medium and am very happy with it. If I use it evenly while mixing paint, everything dries with an even shine. No matting either.
Your drying times may be lengthed by your choice of materials. M. Graham paints have Walnut Oil as their binder. That is slower-drying than Linseed Oil The Gamsol solvent, while considered "turps" by many artists, is truly not real, bona-fide, Distilled Spirits Of Gum Turpentine--it is Mineral Spirits (a petroleum distillate) Real Turpentine is derived from pine trees, and it dries MUCH faster than Odorless Mineral Spirits of any brand. And, using that as an ingredient, rather than Mineral Spirits, with Linseed Oil or Stand Oil, will definitely speed the drying of your applied paint.
Personally, I avoid the use of alkyd mediums, because I question their compatibility with traditional oil paint. I avoid the use of water-mixable oils, because of the comments I've noticed from those who have used them--mostly with "drying"problems" heading their lists. I do not buy any commercially-sold, oil painting medium whose total ingredients are not listed on their labels. Sadly, this eliminates most of the commercially-available painting mediums.
For my glazing and layering process, I use a recipe whose ingredients I have engineered to actually be a bit slower drying than most commercial mediums. Here in Arizona, where the climate is usually quite dry, and very hot, I am always working against the fast-drying of my paint. I don't want my paint to tack up on the palette, like it does when I use alkyd mediums. Climate does, indeed, have a great affect upon the drying of oil paint. Most of these problems with drying can be solved by simply choosing traditional medium ingredients, that will help support the faster-drying of your paint.
I want "slow drying" so I use the following ingredients:
1 part Linseed Oil
1 part Walnut Oil
1 part Venice Turpentine (this is a resin, not a solvent)
2 parts Oil Of Spike Lavender (this is a solvent, not a drying oil)
This medium has been working extraordinarily well for my glazing and layering process for years, now, and when applied in the proper manner, (thinly, and minimally) my paint dries on the canvas within a day or two. And, of course, one sure way to get your paint to dry faster once applied, is to simply apply it in a thin film. A thin paint film almost always dries faster than a thick paint film, all other factors being equal.