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Dear MITRA moderators,
Due to my painting style, I need a medium that will enable me to blend my initial wet-in-wet oil layers the next day. Like many, back in the day I used the old painting medium mix of 1/3 each dammar varnish, linseed or stand oil, and artist's rectified turpentine. Needless to say, once I learned of the longevity pitfalls with dammar varnish, it has been in my rear view mirror. I also switched from turps to odorless mineral spirits. I do miss the "buttery feel" of how the paint moved when I used the old 1/3's mix.
I started using walnut oil several years ago when I was told that it yellowed less than linseed products. When I learned that alkyd oil mediums are recommended for the greatest longevity, I tried one, but it dried way too fast for my technique, getting quite gummy both in the brush and on the panel before the end of my painting session. I then tried the walnut alkyd, which I greatly prefer over the other alkyd medium brand due to the slower drying time, but it also gets too gummy and isn't reliably blendable the next day. (I do mix a touch of OMS with the walnut alkyd, which works better than the straight product for me.)
Additionally, with both the walnut oil medium and the walnut alkyd medium, I find each layer to be a weak paint film when dry to the touch or even "bone dry". I have read similar comments about walnut oil's weak paint film on other MITRA posts, though the manufacturer has assured me that it will get stronger with age. However, my periodically slightly vigorous application or removal technique when painting indirectly with subsequent layers has meant that sometimes I inadvertently bite into the previous layer, so I'm also looking to strengthen my painting medium.
Chemically, I know that walnut oil and stand oil should be compatible, but would it overly complicate the structure to put a few drops of stand oil in with my walnut alkyd medium – or at least the last couple of fatter paint layers? Are the benefits of alkyd oil painting mediums so great that it would outweigh any such complication, or would it be better to return to a slower-drying oil medium mixture – but without the dammar varnish?
I want to make painting fun again like it used to be! For me, this means paint that flows and moves, doesn't dry too quickly, and makes a strong paint film so that I don't have to worry about removing the previous layer when cleaning up the edge of a newly applied stroke. It also means that I can rest easy knowing that I have done my best to create works with the greatest chance for longevity.
I appreciate any information or advice you can impart. Thanks very much!
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I can see no technical problem with adding stand oil to an
alkyd medium to increase body and slow down the drying time. Stand oil is a
perfectly stable oil as a paint additive/modifier.
I do not fbelieve that walnut
oil fills are exceedingly weak. It is just that linseed oil films are slightly
stronger. Walnut oil is a fine binder with pigments that tend to make good
films on their own. Probably it is fine for the whole palette. I greatly prefer it to poppy and safflower oils
for lead white paint.
This might not be relevant, but I understand that you can make a stand oil out of walnut oil in the same way you would for linseed oil.