The Artist's Road  World Map

The Medium is the Message - Perspectives No. 424

The Medium is the Message

Perspectives No. 424

The Alchemist by Joseph Wright
The Alchemist                    Joseph Wright

   Oil painting mediums have been around for centuries, yet they are frequently asked about in our oil painting classes. We weren't taught too much about them in our school days and had to do some investigations on our own to understand what they were and how they are meant to be used. From those investigations, we wrote an in-depth article, “Understanding Oil Painting Mediums”, which we are reprising this month. Among the questions we are asked are: “What are mediums for?”, and “What are they made of?”, “Does one have to use a medium at all?” All good questions and we hope we have provided answers to them for you in our article. Concurrently, we contacted a few professional painters we have previously featured in our Voices of Experience articles and asked them what mediums, if any, they prefer and why. Here are their responses:

   Atmospheric Changes, 20 x 16", oil, © Thomas PaquetteThomas Paquette:
  
   “I use very little medium, and not much thinner. When needed, I opt for Gamblin Gamsol for thinner and Gamblin Galkyd for their low odor and flexibility. It took me a long time to adapt to those after relying for decades on a medium I made from Damar crystals dissolved in turpentine and stand oil, but I am happier with fewer headaches and better air.”  https://thomaspaquette.com


  
Dawn Road Series, Oil, 24 x 24", © Annie Helmericks Louder   Annie Helmericks Louder:

   “I use Liquin and sometimes I use Gamblin cold wax medium - they can also be combined”.  https://helmericks.com/paintdraw.html

  


Le Bateau au Repos, Boat at Rest, © Howard Friedland   Howard Friedland:

   “I use Gamblin’s Solvent-Free Gel or NeoMegilp sometimes, if I need the paint to flow better when I block - in on an absorbent canvas or linen”. https://www.howardfriedland.com

 
Wagon Trail, 20 x 24", Oil, © West Fraser   West Fraser:

  
   “Yes, I do use a medium. If one only uses turps or thinner, the paint goes dull and flat. Several years ago I started using a mixture of linseed oil and turpentine, but, tiring of the odor and fumes from the turpentine, I did start using a Gamblin product, Galkyd medium. I thin it one third Galkyd to one quarter Gamsol to begin with, adding Gamblin’s slow drying medium to the mix toward the end of the painting”. https://westfraserstudio.com


North Haven, Oil, 20 x 24", © George Van Hook   George Van Hook:

   “I don’t use turpentine any more, preferring Gamsol for its low odor and low toxicity, and I don’t use much medium at all”. George told us that years ago he heard Richard Schmid remark that he doesn’t use mediums because the paint already has all the oil in it it needs. George adopted that approach as well and now only uses some Gamsol with about 10% Liquin in it when necessary for blocking-in. https://www.georgevanhookfineartist.com

   It appears that each artist tailors their use of a medium to their own tastes and working methods—no one formula fits all. Some prefer not to use any, some use it throughout the development of a picture.

   If you are interested in knowing more about oil mediums, read Understanding Oil Painting Mediums first and then try your own experiments to find what suits you best.




Copyright Hulsey Trusty Designs, L.L.C. (except where noted). All rights reserved.
Become an Artist's Road Member Today!

The Artist's Road LogoClick here to become a Member and enjoy access to all the in-depth painting and travel articles, videos and tutorials. Guaranteed!

Search the Site
Pay-Per-View Articles

New! If you're not a Member of The Artist's Road, some of our articles are available as Pay-Per-View.

Click here to find out more!

Perspectives

Not ready to become a Member yet? Subscribe to our free email postcards, "Perspectives". Enter your email address here.

New Member Content

El Mercado, Etla, Mexico, 15 x 22" WC, © Eric MichaelsVoices of Experience:Eric Michaels


Autumn Bouquet, 9 x 12", Oil, © A. Trusty
Autumn Bouquet:A Step-by-Step Oil Demo

Vo
Summer Sunset, 24 x 36", Oil, © Mary Garrishices of Experience:Mary Garrish


Ro
Rose Delight Watercolor Demonstration by John Hulseyse Delight:A Step-by-Step WC Slide Show


Thin
Peony Love Affair, Oil Painting, © A. Trustyk Pink!



The Model Resting (detail), Casein/Tempera, 1889, Henri de Toulouse LautrecCasein - An Overlooked Medium

  The Twilight Moon, 1898, Isaac LevitanAutumn and Isaac Levitan

 

  Paint Strokes in Oil by John hulseyCreating A Vision



 Forest of Fontainebleau, 1834, Camille CorotThe Charm of Fontainebleau

 

In thCarrieres de Lumieres II, photograph © J. Hulseye Footsteps of Van Gogh-Part II


 John Hulsey Paints in the Studio BoatThe Studio Boat

 

Clearing Off, Charlotte ComanThe Women of the Hudson River School

and MUCH MORE!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Artist's Road Store
A Primer on Night Painting - Nocturnes

Nocturnes - A Primer on Night Painting

Filled with inspirational examples by the masters of nightime painting, this little book is sure to fire up your creative energies. Never tried painting at night? We show you how it's done with a step-by-step-oil demo and a tale of night painting in the wilds of Rocky Mountain National Park. The Primer on Night Painting - Nocturnes is a 7 x 7" PDF download with 40 pages of text and images. It includes a gallery of paintings by masters of the nocturne, information to inspire and encourage you in your plein air nocturne painting, an illustrated step-by-step demo and tips for working in pastel and oil. Also available in a softcover edition. Check out the tools and other products that we use in our own art and travels in The Artist's Road Store. We only offer things for sale that we enthusiastically believe in.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

About Us

Photograph of John Hulsey and Ann Trusty in Glacier National Park
We are artists, authors and teachers with over 40 years of experience in painting the world's beautiful places. We created The Artist's Road in order to share our knowledge and experiences with you, and create a community of like-minded individuals.  You can learn more about us and see our original paintings by clicking on the links below.
About Ann
     About John
 Hulsey Trusty Studios

We are also regular contributors to the Plein Air blog at Artist Daily.

TAR logo

UA-19449656-1