I found a painting medium I like much better and I’ll be laying out all my reasons for the recent shift in my painting.
It Was Love At First Stroke
For those of you not familiar with Liquin, it is a paint additive for oil paints made by the Windsor & Newton paint company. Liquin is actually an alkyd resin. It’s a thixotropic medium that dramatically decreases the drying time of your oil paints when mixed into the paint.
I first discovered painting mediums in my college days. We were taught how to make the classic 3-part medium using dammar varnish, stand oil, and turpentine. It was at this time I was introduced to paint glazes and the notion that you can adjust your colors and values with translucent layers of paint.
Having access to a painting medium also introduced me to some more controllable ways of thinning my oil paints, rather than just relying on turpentine or mineral spirits. This was a very important time in my painting career. The quality of my work grew exponentially once I understood how to apply mediums to my paints.
It was around 1996 my painting instructor Stephen Brown introduced me to Liquin. There it was! A premade medium similar to the 3-part medium except I didn’t have to make it, it dried even faster, and it stayed put on my palette (3-part medium is very runny). I was head over heals in love with the stuff.
Liquin became a fixture on my palette because it:
- Made my oil paints dry faster
- Allowed me to glaze and perfect colors with several attempts
- Thinned my paints out nicely for painting fine lines and edges
I was hooked and though over the years I occasionally tried other oil painting mediums I always concluded that I liked Liquin the best. Since then Windsor & Newton has spun Liquin’s commercial success into its own product line of various “Liquins”.
Yep, there’s a bunch of Liquin types now. They all speed up the drying time of oil paint and mostly vary the thickness of the medium itself.
I still stuck with Liquin Original as it later became known as.
In Walks Neo Megilp
I’ve been a fan of the research Robert Gamblin has been doing on oil painting conservation so I decided to try Gamblin’s Neo Megilp. Its claim is that it is a modern, safer, version of the famous maroger medium.
I went back and forth between the Neo Megilp and the Liquin over the course of about 4 paintings trying each one out and trying to pay close attention to each of their working properties. It didn’t take long for me to transition completely into using Neo Megilp.
What I Prefer About Neo Megilp Over Liquin:
- Neo Megilp dries slightly slower than Liquin allowing me to re-wet a previous painting session’s dry areas and paint into the medium. Liquin was terrible for this (It dries too fast).
- Paint leveling is minimal preserving my brushstrokes. Liquin leveled my paint strokes too much.
- Neo Megilp is slightly less glossy than Liquin. No more painting on top of a shiny, glass-like surface.
- Neo Megilp stays put on the palette even better than liquin which tends to separate and run especially as the bottle of Liquin gets older.
I’m actually surprised Gamblin didn’t take a hint from Winsor Newton and start manufacturing a whole line of various Neo Megilp types…
I can see it now:
- Neo Megilp Light
- Neo Megilp Low-Fat
- Neo Megilp Extra-Fat Couch Potato Medium
- New Megilp Anniversary Edition
Of course I’m joking…
…well, sort of, but….
Painting With Liquin: You’re Not Out of My Life Completely
After about 3 months of using Gamblin’s Neo Megilp, Windsor & Newton’s Liquin has definitely taken a back seat as a painting medium in my daily painting methods. I still employ Liquin in ultra small quantities in my toning. Before I begin a painting I tone the canvas with a neutral color.
I mix up the color with my oil paints and add a few drops of odorless mineral spirits (OMS) and a few drops of Liquin. This makes the toned layer of oil paint very fluid and it dries very fast…precisely what I want out of a toned ground!
Hey, check this out…
Good thing I have only been buying small bottles of liquin!
Update (Sep. 6, 2016):
I decided to post two images that depict the two oil painting mediums discussed in this article. The first image is an old bottle of Liquin. Anyone who’s used the popular painting medium is probably used to this nightmarish bottle.
Check it out below…
Next up is an old bottle of Neo Megilp. Check it out…
Just to be fair the Liquin bottle is about 5 years old and the neo megilp is close to 3 years old. While this is certainly no legitimate scientific experiment I will add that the Liquin bottle is one of the larger ones and as a result had more air in it. Even still, Liquin really appears to get nasty with age.
Now the question on every painter’s mind, I’m sure, is will my paintings get all nasty like that substance in the bottle if I use Liquin in my paints?
One thing you do have to keep in mind is the thickness of a medium in a bottle. Paint is normally much thinner when used in a painting and will have pigments that impart their colors way more than any painting medium would.
Liquids always look darker when they are thicker. But you know what? – I’m still sticking with neo megilp when I want to utilize a rapid drying oil painting medium.
What is Your Favorite Painting Medium?
Leave some comments below!