Six Maroger Medium Recipies

Note of Caution: I do NOT recommend making Maroger mediums. They are very toxic to make!

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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

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 #3 Medium


1 Part -Raw Cold Pressed Linseed
4 Parts – Venice Turpentine

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 #1 Medium


Consider 1 Part = 100 ml.
1 Part – Raw Cold Pressed Linseed Oil
1 Part – Double Rectified Turpentine
1 Part – Damar Varnish (5 pound-cut)

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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Ingredients By Volume:

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

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


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


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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The Portuguese Oil Painting Medium

The Portuguese School of Painting was chiefly influenced by the Flemish and Dutch schools of painting of the XV, XVI and XVII Centuries. The Flemish tradition was to last longer in Portugal than in the rest of Central Europe and paintings produced in the XVIII Century still show a technique employed by the Flemish and the Dutch Masters of the previous 2 or 3 centuries.

Numerous accounts of the Portuguese techniques exist, namely those mentioned by Sir Charles Eastlake, but by no means not just such accounts. The present medium recipe is believed to have been employed by painters in Portugal for centuries, certainly between the XV and the XVII centuries.

The recipe published here was passed to us many years ago by an Artist Oil Painter and Restorer who was working in the restoration of several works of art in a church.

Ingredients By Volume

Consider 1 Part = 1 3/4 fl.Oz.

1 Part – Sun-Thickened Linseed Oil (replace with Stand Oil)
1 Part – Strasbourg Fir Turpentine

To thin:
Pure Gum Turpentine
1% – Oil of Spike Lavender
3% – Lead Oxide Drier (optional)
· Firstly mix the oil with Strasbourg Turpentine into a very heavy and thick opaque paste.

· Pour in the turpentine (pure gum or double-rectified) slowly into the above, combining it well. Up to 1 part ( 50 ml. ( 1 3/4 fl.Oz.) may be used, but only enough turpentine should be used to thin the mixture to the preferred thickness/consistency. As a guider, this medium should have the consistency of running honey or slightly thicker.

· When all the above ingredients are perfectly well combined, mix in Oil of Spike Lavender.

· Lastly, as an option, incorporate 3% drier (we recommend LeFranc & Bourgeois Siccative of Courtrai Brown or Siccative of Courtrai White).
This medium imparts a high gloss but not excessive. The presence of Strasbourg Fir Turpentine makes the brush strokes disappear while the paint film slowly flattens out into a very flat and smooth surface. Ideal for painting on primed wooden panels, it may also be used on “drum-tight” stretched canvases. It gives colours brilliance and luminance.

The Portuguese Wax Medium Complement

Recipes of Wax mediums can also be found, among them this one which complements well The Portuguese Oil Painting Medium but that we have adapted a little by replacing the original Venice Turpentine content with Damar Varnish (5-Pound-Cut consistency), because as a complement to the other medium, the presence of the balsam would place the ratio of balsams at a higher point than what we consider a desirable and balanced rate.

The presence of wax mediums is well documented in Portuguese Painting, chiefly from the XVIII Century, when Italian Schools of Art had a major influence in Portugal in several areas of artistic expression, such as Painting, Sculpture, Architecture and even Music (the Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti lived in Lisbon as a Court Composer for long years, just to give an example).

Ingredients By Volume

1 Part – Raw Cold Pressed Linseed Oil
1 Part – Yellow Pure Bees Wax Pellets
1 Part – Damar Varnish (5 Pound-Cut Concentrate)

· Combine the raw cold pressed linseed oil with the bees wax pellets in a pan.

· Heat the mix gently stirring a little until the wax pellets melt into the oil.

· Remove from the heat.

· Now mix in the Damar Varnish, stirring

· Place cold water in a basin and place the pan in the cold water, keep stirring the mix in the pan. The mix starts to set into a soft paste. Be patient and keep stirring as this paste benefits from not allowing it to set alone. Stirring while sharply cooling it in the way we indicate above makes it smoother and prevents the forming of hard wax blobs which are difficult to smooth down when combining this medium with the other one.


Simply combine the wax medium at any desired rate with the medium on top of this page. Whereas the first medium imparts a smooth glossy finish, as the Strasbourg Turpentine flats out while drying, the wax medium retains the brush stroke more visible and cuts glossiness just enough.

The two mediums combined make an excellent medium for painting in any style, bring up colour and natural beauty to the paint film.

Keep in mind that both the Portuguese Medium and the Wax Complement are quite fat mediums and therefore should only be used in the last layers of the painting, in-keeping with the fat-over-lean rules. The presence of stand oil in one medium and raw cold pressed in the other medium impart an incredible level of elasticity and toughness to which the balsam on one medium and the Damar on the other contribute to give brilliance of finish and luminance.

As indicated before for the first medium, these two mediums should primarily be used on rigid panels. Use a rigid and stable material.

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