Mediums

I am now offering a series of painting mediums for oil paints. The purpose of using a painting medium is to alter paint handling so as to be able to achieve effects which are more difficult or impossible without it.

In choosing a painting medium, you should be clear about what effect you are trying to achieve and how the medium will help you do so. Painting mediums should be used sparingly as additions to the paint (I’d suggest not more than 50% for my mediums below, and not more than 10% for mediums which consist entirely of liquid components).

The mediums I have formulated here are all based on a few fundamental principles:

I use a good-quality cold-pressed linseed oil which is then washed with water, in order to remove “mucilage”, as the base for the mediums.

Mediums consist of oils, sometimes including heat-bodied, with resins and balsams, into which are mulled various particulates. By using various types of particulate materials, which might be thought of as colourless pigments, the rheology of the paint can be altered, and their presence serves to make sure that excessive amounts of oil are not being added to the paintfilm.

All powders are properly mulled, not merely stirred into liquids. Mulling serves to ensure that particles are subjected to sufficient shear forces to guarantee that they are properly coated with an adsorbed layer of liquid. Furthermore the mulling is carried out in a very specific manner, using very small amounts of medium-paste under the muller in each pass (the vast majority of demonstrations of mulling I have seen online are doing it wrongly! – you can’t mull paint properly by pushing large amounts of it around, no matter how long you do it for! If there’s paint going up the sides of the muller, it’s not being properly mulled).

I endeavour to get as much solids as possible into the medium (except for the cristobalite medium, which is deliberately formulated to be more fluid). This means that a tube should last a long time, that small additions to paint, mixed in with a palette knife, will be effective, and that for some purposes it may be adjusted by addition of a little further oil.

Please note that if you place orders for multiple items, I will issue a partial refund for shipping. I would be very grateful if people could ensure that they choose International shipping if they are outside the UK

The image below shows the different mediums, and mixed with yellow ochre and with ultramarine:

mediums

Fumed Silica Medium
This consists of fumed silica mulled into cold-pressed linseed oil with the addition of a little stand oil. This is a very firm gel which mixed into paint gives somewhat thixotropic properties to the paint and is also somewhat transparentising. It may be used as an addition to paint by mixing in with a palette knife, and may also be used as a “couch” or “oil-out” to paint into by spreading very thinly by brush-pressure. With the addition of a little extra oil to slacken it off a little, it also acts as a good glazing medium.
Tube, 50ml (please select UK or International Shipping)


Price + Shipping (UK or International)




Putty Medium
Chalk whiting in cold-pressed linseed with a little stand oil. Chalk is near-transparent in oil. In bulk, the medium looks a light grey, but mixed into paint it is a little transparentising and offers a good addition to titanium white to decrease its opacity. In terms of handling, it is stiff enough to form low impastos as it gives additional body to paint.
Tube, 50ml (please select UK or International Shipping)


Price + Shipping (UK or International)




Impasto Putty Medium
This is similar to the putty medium but with the addition of some bentonite which adds additional body and a further element of thixotropy, stiff enough to form higher stiffer impastos.
Tube, 50ml (please select UK or International Shipping)


Impasto Putty Medium (+UK or International Shipping)




Cristobalite Medium
Cristobalite powder in stand oil and Canada balsam. This is a transparentising medium, and can be used to give a long, flowing character to paint. Cristobalite is very tough, and translucent, being the major component of opal.
Tube, 50ml (please select UK or International Shipping)


Cristobalite Medium (+UK or International Shipping)





CKM (Corcoran-Kassan-Malloy) Medium
This is a complex medium devised for David Jon Kassan. The rationale behind this is as follows. We were discussing some of the appearances and effects seen in Rembrandt, and it occurred to us that these are likely to be due to some extent to the wide range of sizes and shapes of pigment particles in historic paints, together with the oils frequently being somewhat bodied. Modern pigments tend to consist of very small, very uniform particles. We reasoned that we could replicate historical handling by incorporating particles across a wider range of sizes together with some bodied oils and/or resins. We eventually decided on a mix of cristobalite, fumed silica, and bentonite.  The problem with these is that they will all act to some extent as matting agents, and so a combination of bodied oils and resins is used to combat this, and also give “longer” handling. The medium is thixotropic, and useful for building  impastos. In bulk, it looks dull grey but is transparentising, and conveys handling properties, on any paint, which have some similarities to those of stack process lead white. I’m afraid this one is fairly expensive, due both to the costs of materials and also the amount of work involved in its preparation, but its properties are pretty special!
Tube, 50ml (please select UK or International Shipping)

Please note that if you place orders for multiple items, I will issue a partial refund for shipping. I would be very grateful if people could ensure that they choose International shipping if they are outside the UK


CKM Medium (+UK or International Shipping)




Marogers Medium
I am not currently offering a Marogers Medium commercially, as we are not now allowed to sell materials containing lead within, or from, the EU. I do have experience in making Marogers Medium, and I am currently working on formulating a lead-free Marogers. In the meantime, I’d suggest that the closest of the mediums I offer are the Fumed Silica Medium, above, and the one immediately below

Mastic Medium with Fumed Silica
This is made similarly to Marogers. It consists of Thick Mastic Varnish (Mastic pieces directly from Chios, dissolved in just enough good quality W&N turpentine to cover it – this takes about 10 days to fully dissolve at room temperature, with frequent shaking in a closed jar, and it is then allowed to stand undisturbed for about another 10 days so that waxes and other matter settle out leaving a clear pale yellow varnish) – which is then mixed 1:1 with washed cold-pressed linseed oil. This does not form a Marogers gel, but a little fumed silica is then mulled into it. It does have very similar handling properties to a true Maroger, being a thixotropic gel which sets up but flows under the brush. As with true Marogers and Meglips, I’d caution against use of excessive quantities of this as doing so may lead to some yellowing. It is not so fast-drying as a true Marogers and may still have some tack at beyond 24 hours. Please also note the presence of turpentine in this, for those who are sensitive. It is, however, lead-free. Unfortunately, good quality mastic and turpentine are both now a little expensive.
Tube, 50ml (please select UK or International Shipping)


Mastic Medium (+UK or International Shipping)




Bespoke Mediums
All these painting mediums are handmade in small batches, so I can alter the formulation for individual orders, to suit your needs. For example, mediums can be made “shorter” or “longer” in their handling by careful additions of wax or various resins and balsams, so that they form stiff peaks and hold brushstrokes, or form ropey strings, level, and provide an enameled appearance . Please feel free to contact me to discuss your requirements.

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