Mixed Up Mediums: A Review of Oil Painting Mediums With Some Basic Tips

This article reviews some of the more popular oil painting mediums, their purpose, and some tips on how to use them. The purpose of adding these substances to your oil paints is to change the behavior of the paint during application and affecting results after the painting dries. Behavior refers to how the paint comes off the brush and glides on the surface, how it covers either the surface or succeeding layers, and just how it feels as you apply it.

Brands of paint act differently and mediums help you control the paint the way you want it to act as you use it. Some paint brands—and here I am only referring to the artist grade paints rather than the student grades—are stiffer right out of the tube. Student grades have less pigment and more fillers like extra oil and just do not perform well. If you use those paints that are stiffer out of the tube, but want more versatility in how they handle, or behave, you’ll need a medium. Other artist grade paints are what I call fluffier and go on more smoothly right out of the tube. If you want brush strokes apparent in your final painting, a stiffer paint works better. Adding a refined linseed oil in tiny amounts until it feels right to you will encourage the paint to level out and show less strokes. Less linseed oil and more strokes will show. If you prefer an impasto technique (think Van Gogh), Gamblin Alkyd Gel thickens paint nicely. Always remember to never put a faster drying layer over a slow drying layer of paint. The top layer can dry too quickly and form a barrier causing the underlying layer to be sealed in and could ripple or crackle the surface down the road.

Glazing mediums allow you to apply thin layers of paint and build color and luminosity by having the viewer’s eye mix the colors rather than mixing the paint on the palette or canvas. Using a medium like Liquin by Winsor & Newton speeds drying time while thinning the paint allowing layers to be built without waiting a few days for each layer to dry before you apply the next layer. There are also glazing mediums available like A traditional medium used for decades by many painters is refined linseed oil, a touch of solvent (typically mineral spirits), and a touch of stand oil, and a touch of Japan or Cobalt Drier These ingredients are mixed in a balance to achieve your desired results, like faster drying time, more gloss, etc. Stand oil is just a thicker linseed oil that can reduce brush strokes and increase gloss. Adding Damar varnish to your mix also adds gloss and can speed drying time. Damar varnish is made from tree resin and alkyd is a form of synthetic resin.

There are a number of mediums and I recommend you try several until you find what works best for your style of painting. Along with those mentioned above are safflower oil, poppy seed oil, and walnut oil.

5 Useful Oil Painting Tips

1. Invest in expensive paints

Oil paints can be expensive, but it’s definitely worth investing in some expensive ones. Generally speaking, the more expensive they are, the higher the quality. By all means, if you’re doing several under layers, get these done first using a cheaper oil paint; then simply save the most expensive paints for the topmost layer.

2. Don’t use acrylics on top of layers of oil paint

One of the main properties of oil paint is that it’s incredibly slow to dry. In fact, it can be notoriously slow to dry. With this in mind, you shouldn’t use another type of paint, such as acrylic, on top of oils. Acrylics, for example, are very quick to dry. If you apply a layer of acrylic on top of a layer of oil paint, the layer of acrylic will eventually crack or flake due to the oil paint taking a lot longer to dry out.

3. Try using acrylic paint for bottom layers of the painting

Conversely, you could try using acrylic paint for the bottom layers of the painting. The paint will dry very fast and you’ll be able to apply oil paint on top of it without any problems arising. The advantage of this is that you can have the bottom layers done very quickly; they’ll also dry out very quickly so you won’t have to wait too long before you can get started with the rest of the painting.

4. Learn the rules, then experiment

Painting is all about creativity and self-expression, though the act of creating a painting of quality requires a lot of skill, time and expertise. It’s important to learn how to paint and how to do it well; master the basic techniques and get yourself to the stage where you can complete a good painting. Once you’re confident with your skills and abilities, you should then experiment with your creativity. Try new things; take standard techniques and invent your own touches and twists here and there.

5. Avoid cracking by using the fat over lean technique

Fat over lean basically means making each layer of paint thicker than the one before it. The purpose of this is to prevent cracking; the thinner layers will dry more quickly than the thicker layers on top of them. So when it comes to your first few layers, use thinner paint and less oil (as mentioned previously, you could alternatively paint the first few layers with acrylics). As you work your way up to the topmost layer, make the paint thicker and add more oils to it.

Tips on How to Hire an Exterior Painting Company

It is always recommended to go for a painting company instead of doing the complicated and tricky exterior painting job yourself. A professional exterior painter knows the job really well and can give your exteriors the facelift that you desire. Choosing the right exterior painting company is a difficult task when you have so many options available. Every painting company has something unique that it offers.

How to choose a professional painter?

Employing an outside painting company to do the job for you is worth the cost only if the painter delivers satisfactory results. For getting the painting job done right, once you have decided to hire a professional exterior painter, you can use the below tips to make your selection easy.

1) Find referrals

The people you know can help you in finding a good painter. Ask for referrals from family, friends, peers, and neighbors. They can very easily suggest some good painters with whom they previously had a pleasant experience. You can sort through the options they provide and make your own decision.

2) Call quotes

Before handing over the painting contract, ask the companies you are considering for a quote. Based on the quotes provided, you can easily pick the painting company that matches your budget and requirements.

3) Preplan and book a painter

If you want to hire a good painting company, you need to contact them well in advance. Many painters remain booked all throughout the year. Thus, to get your exteriors painted on schedule, you should prioritize making a booking several weeks in advance.

4) Reputation

You cannot trust every painter when it comes to a valuable asset like your home. It is important to assess the goodwill of the painting company. A reputable painting company will not do an imperfect job or add unknown additional charges to the final bill. They will go by your budget and timeline to fully satisfy your painting needs. Looking at their past projects, rewards and recognition can give you an idea about the reputation of the company.

5) Ask about Job Requirements

A credible painter will not hesitate in sharing the details of the painting process that he follows. Knowing everything in detail is important to make the right decision. For instance, you should be able to get information about surface preparation, priming, and the number of paint coats needed for the job to be done. You should also be able to voice your preferences about the brand of paint to use or type of gloss.

6) Warranties

The decision to hire a painting contractor can depend on the warranties they provide. Reputable painters usually provide a guarantee against damage, breakage, paint failure and defects. They will keep your garden, landscaping, electrical fittings, doors and windows safe during painting. They should also have insurance so that if a member of their painting crew is injured while painting, the homeowner will not be held accountable.