Darwin #5 Medium

Ingredients By Volume:

1 Part – Raw Cold Pressed Linseed Oil
1 Part – Damar Varnish (5 pound-cut)
1 Part – Pure Un-bleached Bees Wax
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Mix the oil with the wax pellets in a pan and heat together until the wax melts and blends with the oil. Remove from the heat and pour in the Damar varnish. Place the pan in a basin with cold water to cool the mix sharply, keep stirring into a soft smooth paste while it cools. Pour into a clean glass jar.

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Darwin #4 Medium

INGREDIENTS BY VOLUME

4 Parts – Venice Turpentine
2 Parts – Pure Un-bleached Bees Wax
6 Parts – Rectified Turpentine
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Place the bees wax pellets together with Venice Turpentine in a bain-marie over medium heat. Allow the wax to melt and blend with the balsam. Remove from the heat. Now gently and slowly start pouring the turpentine until all ingredients are perfectly blended. Do not over-heat the Venice Turpentine, heat just enough to melt the wax.

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Darwin #3 Medium

INGREDIENTS BY VOLUME

1 Part -Raw Cold Pressed Linseed
4 Parts – Venice Turpentine
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Mix the 2 ingredients together at room temperature. If using Venice Turpentine, warm it in a bain-marie prior to mixing. This recipe makes a fairly thick medium, which you can thin with turpentine for a leaner medium.

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Darwin #2 Medium

Ingredients By Volume:

1 Part – Stand Oil
1 Part – Venice Turpentine
1 Part – Rectified Turpentine

If you are using Strasbourg Turpentine, combine it with the oil first and then add the turpentine, combining all the ingredients well together. If using Venice Turpentine, it needs to be warmed in a bain-marie prior to mixing with the oil, because it is too viscous at room temperature. Then add turpentine.

Rectified Turpentine is preferred and is given in this recipe as a standard 1 part. You can use less or more than 1 part according to what your preference in regards to the consistency you want this medium to have. This heavily with turpentine for a lean medium. As given this medium is quite rich in fat and should only be used as such in the upper layers of the painting. Use up to 20% per volume of tube oil colours.

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Darwin #1 Medium

INGREDIENTS BY VOLUME

Consider 1 Part = 100 ml.
1 Part – Raw Cold Pressed Linseed Oil
1 Part – Double Rectified Turpentine
1 Part – Damar Varnish (5 pound-cut)
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Mix the 3 ingredients in a clean glass bottle, shake energetically until all are perfectly blended. Use up to 20% maximum medium per volume of tube oil paints. This medium is fat in this combination. Thin with turpentine for lean layers. Do not add more oil for upper layers, the oil content is high enough in keeping with the fat-over-lean rule.

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BASIC BEES WAX MEDIUM

Ingredients By Volume:

1 Part – Pure un-bleached yellow bees wax pellets
3 Parts – Cold Pressed Raw Linseed Oil
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Make enough medium to fill 2 glass jars:

Jar A – Wax Coarse Medium
Jar B – Wax Soft Creamy Medium

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Jar A

· Pour the oil in a pan.

· Mix in the bees wax pellets.

· Heat the pan until the wax pellets melt in the oil stirring a little.

· Remove the pan from the heat and pour the 1/2 of the mixture into your first glass jar. This will be your coarse wax medium.

· Leave to cool down to room temperature

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Jar B

· Now the remaining wax medium in the pan!… Place the pan in a basin containing cold water and keep stirring the mix while it cools down sharply.

· When the mix in the pan is cool enough (dull opaque) but still somewhat soft, scoop the whole contents into a food processor equipped with a blade.

· Process the mixture at a high speed. You will notice that the medium changes from a dull appearance to a shiny creamy texture very similar to mayonnaise at which point it should be ready. Turn off the processor and check that there are no lumpy bits left.

· Pour the creamy bees wax medium in a clean glass jar.

· Wash the food processor immediately after!!!

Although a little “original”, this method of processing the bees wax media is actually highly effective. It requires a little patience and some work but it pays off having 2 wax media different in texture, allowing coarse and smooth paint work when mixed with oil colors.

Jar A

Medium A sets in the jar a little hard, scoop it out with a metal spoon or a stiff palette knife onto the palette, crush it with a fork into a coarse paste and mix with oil colors. This medium is ideal for all abstract techniques, landscapes, painterly styles and impressionistic painting. It brings life and texture and creates random areas of interest across the picture. Dries to a soft sheen, due the presence of linseed oil. Also very good for all knife work. It can be thinned with turpentine.

Jar B

Medium B is a very smooth creamy paste. Immediately after processing it looks smooth and very shiny, like mayonnaise and after being poured into a jar and let to stand for 24 hours, it has the appearance of butter and feels like butter. Mixed with oil colours, allows really interesting brush work. Brush marks keep their shape, retaining their natural beauty for very expressive painting. Medium B is also the ideal for mixing with Maroger Medium in small quantities (up to max. 10% by volume) for an “Italian School of Painting” approach in still lives, portraits, etc. Dries to a soft sheen. It can be thinned with turpentine.

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Traditional Levkas Gesso

‘Levkas’ is derived fromo a Greek word meaning ‘white’.

· Heat 1 Liter of Rabbit Skin Glue prepared the day before in a bain-marie; never boil.

· Incorporate into it 2 pounds of alabaster powder. Use a wire wisk to get the lumps out.

· Add 1/2 teasponn of linseed oil for flexibility.

· Apply it to your panel warm in even crisscross layersand let it dry overnight.

· Apply several more layers. After which the mixture can be applied with a putty knife. Add a bit of water if the Levkas becomes too thick to avoid cracking.

· Sand to an egg shell finish.

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The Old Flemish and Italian Masters Traditional Ground

Step #1 Making the Gypsum Biscuits:

Ingredients:
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8 parts – water
1 part – finest gypsum powder or Plaster of Paris by volume
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· Sprinkle the gypsum into the water through a sieve, stir continuously for at least 30 minutes or until the gypsum no longer sets.

· Then stir this mix every 2 hours for that day and the following 2 days.

· Cover with a damp cloth and leave it so for a full month, stirring it at least twice every day.

· Take then a sieve large enough, place a cotton sheeting piece or muslin inside the sieve and pour the water and the gypsum and leave to drain all the water, squeezing with your hand gently until all the water has been poured off.

· Make small cakes or balls of gypsum using your hands and let these cakes to dry thoroughly.

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Step #2 Making the Gesso Sottile:

· Have your Rabbit Skin Glue glue ready and warm, pour the cakes, one by one into the glue, and stir to mix them well, until you obtain a heavy double-cream consistency gesso.

· Apply this gesso warm with a brush over degreased and already sized MDF or Masonite panels. Brush on 8 coats, at right angles. When you first brush a coat, the surface shines, wait it to dry until it becomes dull and matt before brushing the following coat. A total absolute maximum of 12 coats can be applied.

· Leave the panel so prepared to dry completely until the following day or maybe for 2 days if necessary.

· Finish by polishing the gesso with garnet paper or a pad of damp linen cloth, using circular movements across the entire surface. This technique will produce a marble touch effect just enough absorbent for oils.

PLEASE NOTE: The initial measure you used to measure the volume of gypsum and water for the cakes must be the same volume measure you use to measure the Rabbit Skin Glue glue. The quantities for the full gesso, i.e. the cakes and the glue, are 2 parts of Gypsum Cakes to 1 part Rabbit Skin Glue Glue. So, suppose you use a ½ pint glass. Measure ½ pint glass of Rabbit Skin Glue granules by volume and 10 x ½ pint glass of cold water, soak the granules and make the glue following one of the recipes previously given. Therefore, in keeping with the same ratio, measure 8 x ½ pint glass of water and 1 x ½ pint glass of dry gypsum powder (as indicated for making the cakes: 8 parts of water to 1 part of gypsum, by volume). It is important to keep the same measurement ratio all along in order to obtain the desired heavy double-cream consistency. You may have noticed that this ancient recipe does not include any white pigment, so your ground will not have the solid white opaque color, typical of a more modern traditional gesso. This, however, is not a shortcoming, as you will have a half tone ground from the onset to work on, by tracing a design on and applying a translucent Imprimatura.

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Traditional Gesso – Modern Practical Recipe

Ingredients:
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1 Part – Prepared Rabbit Skin Glue by volume
1 Part – Dry Gypsum, the finest available.
1/5 Part – Dry Zinc White pigment.
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· Pre-mix the Zinc White Pigment thoroughly with the gypsum.

·Separately, make the glue. Soak 2 parts of Rabbit Skin Glue granules in 10 parts cold tap water. Leave it to soak overnight for better results.

· Place the container with soaked Rabbit Skin Glue in another containing hot water and allow to melt into a uniform jelly. Keep it warm but do not allow to boil.

· Now slowly sprinkle the gypsum and zinc white mix through a sieve as if it were flour.

· Do not stir. As the gypsum/pigment falls into the warm glue, it sinks to the bottom of the container. Sprinkle only small amounts at a time to enable the gypsum to actually absorb the glue.

· When all the gypsum/pigment has been absorbed, stir very slowly with a wooden spoon, taking great care not to incorporate air bubbles.

· Brush this gesso on a panel at right angles and up to 8 coats maximum.

· Leave to dry and next day, polish the surface with garnet paper or a damp linen cloth pad in circular motions across the surface.

PLEASE NOTE: If you rush the procedure and incorporate air in the mix, after brushing it on the panel, the air bubbles blow up during the drying process. As the gesso hardens, it doesn’t have time to level out the holes left by the blown up air bubbles. You panel will look more like a notice-board upon which people leave notes stuck with pins, which renders it useless for oil painting.

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Sun Thickened Oil-How To make?

The process is simple. Linseed Oil is poured into shallow tin or lead vessels up to 3 or 4 inches high. These vessels are then covered with glass slabs in a way to allow air to circulate but protecting the oil from dust. The oil is left under direct exposure to the Sun for a number of weeks, being stirred several times each day. It becomes pure and thickens rendering it an excellent oil with optimal drying properties and imparting toughness and elasticity to the oil film.

Sun-Thickened Oil is one of the best choices, both on its own or mixed in oil painting mediums, the use in such mediums being a traditional practice for many centuries. Cenino Cennini did indeed recommended it and in his opinion there could be no better oil then Sun-Thickened Oil. Manufacturers of art materials do not produce this oil unfortunately, so your only choice is actually to make it yourself, but since the process is fairly simple, spare a good bottle of raw cold pressed linseed oil and during the Summer try to make some of this oil yourself. Perhaps one day manufacturers will realize what they are missing by not making this oil, so here is an appeal to them. The best substitute for sun-thickened oil is actually Stand-Oil and for all intents and purposes, any recipes mentioning sun-thickened oil may be safely mixed by replacing it with Stand-Oil.

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