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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Dammar resin in a painting mediumApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2019-06-13 08:45:15 ... Most recent comment 2019-06-13 22:54:16
    Paint Mediums

    ​ Hi! Is there a minimum amount of Dammar resin that can be safe as an ingredient in oil painting mediums?   It is well-known that large amounts are not acceptable. From my own experience I can say that nothing compares with mastic/dammar painting mediums when I produce/create the painting: blending, flowing, drying rate, tixothropy, etc... But in terms of conservation and durability the story is totally different.  For his recipe (the famous 1:1:5), Ralph Mayer calls for a 5-pound cut Dammar Varnish.  Do you think that 1 part Dammar Varnish in this recipe is excessive, moderate, acceptable? Can be reduce the amount of dammar varnish in this recipe to get an acceptable painting medium, in order to prevent yellowing, varnishing problems, cracking, etc...? Or the answer is simple: NEVER use! Thank you !

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​I know exactly what you mean about the desirable properties damar imparts to a painting medium. The fact that color mixtures retain their wet shade makes it so much easier to resume work a second day. The initial, tacky set-up of the paint prevents beading. And, it's really tough to equal the "candy" gloss of tree exudate gum varnishes with synthetics. 

    Matthew Kinsey, Utrecht Art Supplies
    2019-06-13 17:07:58
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    I believe that this has been discussed here and a search may be fruitful. I do understand the attraction to such mediums due to handling issues more than optical effects, however, and simply put, any amount of soft resin added to oil paint will increase its solubility in organic solvents. Of course, this is proportional to the ratio.  I have not conducted exhaustive research into the point where the resin component begins to compromise the paint film in terms of solubility or flexibility (I am more concerned about the former). Even this would be difficult to ascertain as it would also depend on which pigments were present (different pigments contribute different resistance to the actions of solvents). In short, our stance is going to remain that any addition of soft resin is problematic. The truth might be more complicated, but I cannot access data to show where that line is.

    Brian Baade
    2019-06-13 22:54:16

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