Old Masters Medium I

Ingredients By Volume:

1 Part – Venice Turpentine or Strasbourg Turpentine

1 Part – Stand Oil or Sun-Thickened Linseed Oil

1 Part – Pure Gum Turpentine

· Mix Venice Turpentine with oil at room temperature, mix well until the two combine in an opaque thick homogeneous paste.

· Now combine into the above mix Turpentine, slowly and bit by bit until the right consistency is achieved. The above indicated quantity of turpentine (1 part) may be reduced or increased in order to achieve the preferred consistency.

About Old Masters Medium

Studies carried out by many academics and artists painters have produced several proposals for the ever interesting quest for the Old Masters Oil Painting Mediums. Of these, of course, some can be considered unlikely, but other authoritative studies should be taken into account.

Oils Studio made some trials on the probability of such mixes and arrived at some interesting oil painting mediums. The recipes presented here have been tested and the mediums have been prepared at room temperature. Some recipes were adapted to comply with easier preparation.

All 6 Old Masters oil painting mediums discussed should dry within a period of time between 12 hours and 3 days. Drying times depend enormously of the oil paints being used, atmospheric conditions and climate characteristics of the area where you live. You may use a drier to speed the drying process. However, the presence of balsam turpentines imparts a smooth flat glossy finish as the balsams flat out in the drying process. A shortened drying time may not be sufficient to allow the balsam to flatten out completely, so be careful to calculate how long you want the drying time to be.

Both driers below may be used safely in the ratio of 1% up to 5% calculated over the total volume of oil painting medium. To remain 100% safe, an average 3% should be used. Suppose one of the painting mediums above was prepared, making a total
A drier or siccative may be used safely. We do not recommend cobalt siccatives because these tend to dry the surface leaving a softer under-layer. If you decide to use a drier, use a lead oxides based drier.
The French Manufacturer LeFranc & Bourgeois makes produces 2 distinct driers:

·Brown Courtrai Drier: Prepared with suspended manganese and lead oxides, it is the strongest siccative available. This siccative has gained some bad reputation in the past due to abuse from artists. Used in the recommended doses, it is perfectly safe to employ in oil painting.

·White Courtrai Drier: Prepared with suspended lead oxides, it is less powerful and due to its pale colour, it is to be preferred by many painters. Application rules applying to this siccative (illustrated above) are exactly the same as for Brown Courtrai Drier.
Both above driers speed up drying times considerably and help drying and stabilising the paint film from the inside out.

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Medium 1-1-3

Fat (oily) painting medium recipe. I call it simply 1-1-3. Density of this medium you can adjust with more or less turpentine.

Ingredients By Volume:

1 part Stand oil
1 part Dammar varnish
3 part Turpentine

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Stand Oil Recipe

Heat – Fusing oil – Polymerization

This procedure can be done with linseed oil, walnut oil and poppy oil. I prefer walnut. Polymerized (stand) oil can be exchanged for sun thickened oil.

Take 1 part raw walnut oil and 1 part polymerized walnut oil*, in a small metal cooking pan and heat it slowly on an enclosed electric hotplate while stirring the oils. At a certain point the oils start to fuse (keep stirring!), but when the oil reach it’s smoking point remove the cooking pan immediately from heat to prevent darkening of the oil. Cool it.
This fused oil gives a most excellent painting medium, and can be used as is.
It’s characteristics are fluid, non-sticky and very suitable for delicate work where small details and sharp lines are possible without bleeding. Dries to a very glossy & saturated film.

Smoking points of oil:

Flax seed oil Unrefined 225°F | 107°C
Walnut oil Unrefined 320°F | 160°C
Walnut oil Semirefined 400°F | 204°C
Poppy oil ?
Safflower oil Unrefined 225°F | 107°C
Safflower oil Semirefined 320°F | 160°C
Safflower oil Refined 510°F | 266°C

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Rubens Oil Painting Medium

One medium used by Rubens followed this recipe:

3 part Venice Turpentine
2 part Sun Thickened Walnut oil
1 part Mastic Varnish
with an added siccatif

(Today, one might freely create a similar recipe with Venice Turp., Sun-thickened linseed or Stand Oil, and Damar Varnish)

Due to the yellowing nature of oil and varnish and their effect upon highlights, the lights were given more force by comparison with darks. “The influence of the colour of the vehicle on the quantity and depth of shadow is, indeed, plainly to be traced in the general style of oil painting, as compared with tempera and other methods.”

If a fresh painting turns yellow or brown, placing it several times in the sun or in open air will exhaust the exudations which cause the yellowing of the surface. when pictures are safe from further change, then removal from the sun will preserve them. “…their protection from the sun’s rays, when there is no longer any ‘superfluity of oil’ to dissipate, is essential to their preservation.”

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2-3 Painting Medium

From my collection one of the interesting mediums, I call it 2-3.

If the thickness of your oil paints are keeping you from spreading or blending them easily, you need some additional oil painting medium to mix in with the paint.

2 part Stand Oil (or sun thickned)

3 part Turpentine

Stand oil is so thick that the two liquids won’t want to combine right away—be prepared to wait a few days for it to completely mix.

If you’re wondering what to put it in, glass containers with a tight screw on cap work best.

If you get impatient, turn the container on its side or top every few hours to help the stand oil and turpentine mix together faster.

Once it’s all one liquid, I usually pour just a small amount into a container and dip into it with my brush whenever I’m mixing colors or working with thicker, more opaque paint. Make sure to keep the rest of the medium sealed up and it’ll last quite a while.

There are a few other benefits to using this medium as well. It’ll make your oil paint tougher and more durable—and it will keep the skin of your painting from cracking as it dries.

As far as drawbacks go, there’s only one: drying time.

Oil paintings take longer to dry when stand oil is involved, up to a week (or longer even) depending on your location’s humidity and temperature.

If waiting that long is out of the question, you can substitute sun-thickened linseed oil for the stand oil and gain a few days.

Just realize that using sun-thickened linseed oil in your medium may turn your lighter colors (like white) slightly yellow over time.

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Universal Painting Medium

Use it for both layering, and for glazing purposes. Use it in each and every layer that I apply.

1 part Linseed Oil
1 part Walnut Oil
1 part Venice Turpentine
2 parts Oil Of Spike

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