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How to Use Painting Medium

One question I am often asked is how I use medium when I paint with Indirect method, so a while ago I made a video demonstrating how, posted below.


For my closed grisaille (gray scale) layer, and or the first couple layers of color over the grisaille, I work very opaquely. I am not glazing, but instead using the previous layer as a guide for putting down color and value as accurately as I can, completely covering the previous layer.


In the final layers, I do work more transparently at times, with a little more medium. Since I am mostly just refining and adding detail to the previous layers, it’s not always necessary to completely cover what I already painted. I only work opaquely when I need to significantly correct an earlier layer.


It also helps to paint the first layers with very blurry/blended edges. I paint very blurry contours in the early stages, and only sharpen my edges later.


Medium recipes, from Lean to Fat:

  1. 2 parts linseed, 1 part OMS

  2. Linseed only

  3. 1 part linseed, 1 part stand

  4. 1 parts linseed, 2 parts stand


I don't use any balsam, drier, or varnish in my mediums. I find that drying times are more predictable and I can get the effects I want without those additives, and by using a simple oil medium I don't have to worry about surprising results in the future, or paint being removed by future restoration.


My videos about painting and drawing comprise an entire classical atelier education online.

For more information about my online art classes and videos visit the VIDEOS page.

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San Francisco, California, United States