I’ve always found the technical aspect of painting with oil to be an intriguing challenge. It’s important to know the components and strengths of pigments as they interact with each other long after the painting is dry—so it is integral to use the highest standard of oil paint and mediums and I have a few favourites. The more expensive are the highly pigmented paints - Old Holland, Williamsburg and Michael Harding—beautiful beautiful beautiful..and worth every penny- from consistency, handling and saturation. I think it’s important to invest in good quality pigments, but I have found that M Graham Paints and mediums are cost effective and bound with walnut oil allowing for brilliant refractive qualities.
For the past year I have been using KAMA oil paint and mediums. They are ground by hand in an artist run store out of Montreal and they not only offer excellent paint—in unique colours like ‘hemoglobin’-but also powdered pigment and all the fixings if you are inclined to make your own. They are brilliant—also using walnut oil as binder but they are a lot ‘drier’ than M Graham. I really like experimenting with mediums and reading Marc Dalessio's blog led me on a hunt for Canadian Balsam— and I found it at KAMA! It’s very expensive but after investigating it I just HAD to try it.
Today I mixed my medium by using 1 part sun-thickened linseed oil, 1 part solvent and 1 part Canadian Balsam. I work very thin and lay in using only turps and a little alkyd to speed up the drying—as I lay in thicker passages I add the medium. The Balsam moves the paint beautifully—very fluid. Canadian Balsam is a sap from fir trees, used to improve adhesion from one paint layer to another and impart a silky smooth quality to the paint. It is supposed to be clearer than other balsams and leave a refractive sheen..will find out when this little painting dries.
oil in canvas