Art Spectrum Oil Painting Mediums

Art Spectrum Oil Mediums







Using Art Spectrum Artists’ Oil Painting Mediums

Painting with oil paint should be no more involved than working with a water-based paint. For instance, Art Spectrum mediums are used to thin oil paint just as water or binding mediums are used with acrylics. Wax or fillers are added to oil paints just as impasto mediums are added to acrylics. Pure soap and water are used for cleaning brushes with both types of paint.

The ‘lean to fat’ rule

When one layer of oil paint contains an equal amount of oil as the next layer, the top layer will dry while the bottom layer will be deprived of oxygen and remain wet. This will cause wrinkling and eventually cracking. To prevent this problem, use Artists’ Oil Painting Medium No. 1 first and then Artists’ Oil Painting Medium No. 2 for subsequent layers. This will give an even tension throughout the painting. This method is known as ‘lean to fat’.

Painting Medium No. 3 is viscous and ‘fatter’ for those who like a heavier medium. It should be used over the leaner mediums.

(NB: ‘Lean’ and ‘fat’ should not be confused with ‘thick’ and ‘thin’. A lean paint can be very stiff and go on thickly while a fat paint may have so much oil in it that it goes on thinly.)

Artists’ Oil Painting Medium No. 1 (lean)

Often an excessive amount of gum turpentine is used as a substitute for a ‘lean’ medium. Too much gum turpentine ‘denatures’ the oil paint in the lean layers. This leaves an underbound pigment when the paint dries which can be easily brushed off. Medium No. 1 contains the minimum formulated account of Stand Oil to cross-link the medium and the oil paint, preventing the breakdown of the vehicle and ensuring permanency.

The use of this Medium No. 1 saves time as no prior mixing is required. It can be used to obtain even watercolour effects. Two thin coats of oil paint will give a better coverage than one thick layer and will provide a better surface for future work. A very important advantage of using Medium No. 1 is that it dries over night. The drying rate can be increased by adding 5 ml of Light Drying Oil per 100 ml of medium. More than the recommended amount could effect the quality and permanency of the paint.

Another recommended use of Medium No. 1 is as a ‘sealer’ or cushion over acrylic primed canvas. Simply coat the acrylic gesso with the medium prior to use and allow it to dry, or work on it wet.


Artists’ Oil Painting Medium No. 1:

  1. Is a permanent artists’ painting medium.
  2. Is easy to apply. Simply place a small amount in a container and dip in your brush when required.
  3. Is rapid drying. It can dry (harden) overnight.
  4. Is cost saving. It is cheaper than paint.
  5. Allows colour brilliance. Using this medium allows white ground to glow through.

Artists’ Oil Painting Medium No. 1 can also be used for:

  1. Sealing acrylic grounds. When applied direct to the acrylic ground it acts as a mild sealer and helps to prevent the ‘deadening’ effect of over absorption of the oil vehicle.
  2. Preparing a coloured ground. Simply add a small amount of oil paint to the medium.
  3. Underpainting. Can quickly lay down an under painting by rubbing with a soft cloth or one of the larger sized brushes.

Artists’ Oil Painting Medium No. 2 (fat)

Medium No. 2 is a fat medium. It contains more oil than Medium No. 1. It should be mixed with the oil paint as the layers of painting develop. It has some of the properties of a glazing medium but it is preferable to use Art Spectrum 24-hour Glazing Medium if very thin veils of colour are desired.

Artists’ Oil Painting Medium No. 3 (very fat)

Medium No. 3 is a thicker medium than No. 2. It is for painters who like a heavier, more viscous, medium. It is ideal for artists who paint in many layers. The artist begins with Medium No. 1, then uses Medium No. 2, then finally Medium No. 3.

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