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Since I’ve been working with Portraits, I’ve been experimenting with mediums to obtain near as 24-hour drying time as possible. I’m republishing my favorite medium articles below to encompass my current findings….

There are two formulae’s I use in making Medium.
Formulae #1

  • 25% Lindseed Oil
  • 75% Odorless Mineral Spirits or Odorless Turpentine or Odorless Turpentine Substitute
  • Drop of either Japan Drier, or Cobalt.

Formulae #2 (My favorite)

  • Up to 90% Gamblin Galkyd
  • Up to 50% Gamblin Gamsol (Odorless Mineral Spirits)
  • Up to 10% Lindseed Oil
  • Optional: Drop of either Japan Drier or Cobalt.

The big question here is two fold-For faster drying use no lindseed oil. For slower drying, add up to 10% lindseed oil. For viscosity, add Gamsol. You may add up to 50%, but no more. This thins the Galkyd considerably, but drying time is still quite quick.

For more Medium Clear properties, I will use pure Galkyd. For doing portraits, I’ll add 25% Gamsol to 75% Galkyd and 0% Linseed oil.

Now, if I want medium white or medium black or medium Name Your Color, I’ll take a small amount of that color and mix it into the medium above. Remember the consistency needs to be just enough for the medium to go from clear to the color you desire.

For example,

Many of my international students tell me they’re unable to find medium white (Liquid White being the most popular brand), and how can they make it?

I would use either formulae 1 or 2 and a small amount of Titanium white and mix them together. You’re not trying to change the consistency of the medium, just its color. So mix a small amount of Titanium white at a time. Add a little more if the color doesn’t look white.

Only mix what you think you’ll be using, but if you make too much, just pop the excess into a zip lock refrigerator plastic bag and seal the bag up for future use.
Thanks, Darrell