Why I Stopped Painting With Liquin | Helloartsy.com

Why I Stopped Painting With Liquin

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”.

Liquin Types

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.

Until recently…

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…

old bottle of neo megilp painting medium

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!


  1. francine cohen says:

    when using transfer paper,how exactly to transfer your picture to the canvas .

    1. John Morfis says:

      I’m going to do a video tutorial on this soon, but I’ll give you a quick overview now:
      From bottom to top you place: canvas, transfer paper, drawing.
      With your drawing on top you simply trace it over (I like using a red pen for this). The pressure of the pen transfers the graphite from the transfer paper onto your canvas.

    2. I print a wallet sized picture from my PC and use a $40 craft projector from Hobby Lobby to trace it. I put a couple of nails in the wall to support the canvas while I trace. Then when I’m done, I look at the picture on a monitor while I paint. Works great.

  2. Thanks for the info! Is it safe to use paint mixed with Neo Megilp, over previous layers of paint that were mixed with Liquin?

    1. John Morfis says:

      Yes you can, they are both alkyd resins. When used heavily Liquin sometimes leaves a very slick surface though. If this is the case and you are looking to paint a really thin glaze layer over the top of the dried Liquin your paint may bead up. (this has to do with the glossy surface and not a problem of Liquin only) If this happens just put some ammonia on a cotton swab and gentle buff the shiny areas of the painting. This will “etch” the surface and allow you to glaze over without the paint beading up.

      1. John Angel says:

        Once a painting has been overpainted six or eight times, it will become oliophobic (it will bead up) because of the build-up of linseed oil caused by the many layers. The traditional way to solve this is to rub the oiliophobic area with a peeled raw potato. This solution has been around for centuries, but don’t ask me how it was discovered!! However, it works. Van Dyck preferred to rub his paintings with garlic, and this works too.

        1. John Morfis says:

          Potato? That’s funny, I never heard of that one John but will have to try it some time. Thanks.

  3. Sandra Busby says:

    That’s really helpful! Thanks so much!

  4. Now that you’ve been using it for a while, I’m wondering if you’re noticing any difference in the tendency to yellow, between the Neo-Megilp and Liquin?

    1. John Morfis says:

      Kathryn, I’ve never noticed any yellowing with the paint film but the bottle sure has me a wee bit suspicious! I just updated the article with brand new photos to give you some insight.

  5. anne Mestitz says:

    hello! do you know if you can paint Liquin over Archival Oil Lean Medium? and also do you know the ratio of Paint to Liquin required for a glaze?
    Thank you

    1. John Morfis says:

      Yes, Chroma Archival Oils Lean Medium is a fast drying alkyd (liquin is too) so there should be no problems. Glaze ratio is subjective Anne but I would start with something around 1 part paint to 5 parts medium. Draw a marker line on the side/edge of your canvas and test out the glaze; then adjust the ratio if needed.

  6. Hi! I need your advise please, in Russia, where I currently live, “there is no such a thing” in the shops like Liquin or any other gel mediums for oils 🙁 .. also I am working on a painting at the moment and planning to do a lake. Could I just mix linseed oil with glossy varnish and turpentine to get that glazed “watery” effect?

    Thank you,

    1. John Morfis says:

      The mixture you mentioned is a classic 3 part medium that was used by many painters throughout time for glazing and thinning paint out without using pure turps which we all know waters things down too much. I used to make something similar in college and it’s all I painted with for a while. Mine was:

      1. 1 part Stand Oil (linseed)
      2. 1 part Damar Varnish (I used to make this from scratch)
      3. 1 part Thinner

      It’s runny compared to liquin, neo megilp or any of the gels out there but it will get the job done.

      Natalia, the recipe you/I proposed are fine but resulting mediums tend to be runny so you have to lay the painting flat to dry or you may get drips and runs.

      1. Dear John,

        Thank you very much for your reply, I will try to look around for any other substitute, but if not lucky will do “the old traditional” way.

        With Many Thanks,

        1. John Morfis says:

          There is really nothing wrong with the 3 part medium. Remember not to get too hung up on materials. Just make each painting better than the previous one, learn from your mistakes, and above all enjoy the process!

          1. Thank you 🙂 Best wishes to you too.

  7. Where does, if at all, Bob Ross Liquid Clear fit in with these? I’m new to painting and the mediums are driving me crazy.

    1. John Morfis says:

      Hi April, I went to the Bob Ross site but unfortunately they don’t say much about that medium you’re referring to. They don’t tell you what it’s made from. I’m not familiar with how Bob (or the company making millions off his name) used this medium. Did he lay it down and let it dry? or Did he lay it down and paint into it? or Did you mix it directly into his paints?

      1. I believe that Bob Ross’ “wet-on-wet” technique begins with either his signature Liquid White, Liquid Black, or Liquid Clear (as mentioned above) being directly applied to an already double-primed canvas. These are also referred to as “ Magic White”, “Magic Black”, etc.

        To my understanding, it is a thin, evenly spread “wet” base layer applied to the canvas that subsequent layers are worked into, thereby allowing for a greater degree of blending and ease in applying and working the oil paints. An additional Bob Ross premise is that a “thin”, or rather “thinned”, paint will stick to a “thick” paint. The Liquid White, Liquid Black, and Liquid Clear are, therefore, also used in thinning paints as layers are building upon the canvas.

        During a recent trip to an art supply store, I asked if they carried any of these products. The answer was a definite, “No”. However, the helpful CSR there did find a possible recipe to make the “Liquid White” after a bit of online research. To my recollection, it was a ratio of 3:1 (or 75:25) of Titanium White to Linseed oil. Anyway, I hope that helps.

        1. Ace Murray says:

          You are correct Ben. I paint in a very similar style as Bob and I use his liquid mediums mostly as a base coat, but also to thin or change the value of my colors. Bob’s liquid white, liquid black and liquid clear are his version of his mentor’s, Bill Alexander, Magic white, magic black, and magic clear. I have a hard time telling the difference.

  8. Hi John – Just wanted to tell you that I studied with Stephen Brown too! Really good teacher and a great painter. I haven’t used Liquin in years, but was thinking of trying it.
    I remember Stephen was a wizard with glazes. Nice website/blog! – Raimi

    1. John Morfis says:

      Oh what a small world indeed. Thanks Raimi.

  9. Margaret Prentice says:

    I use Fine Detail Liquin as my only medium. It is a liquid and not a gel. I’ve never used a gel medium. Have you ever used the Fine Detail and if so, how does it compare with the gel when painting? Now I will try the Gamlin medium you like. Thanks

    1. John Morfis says:

      Hi Margaret, I have never used the Liquin Fine Detail variety. These days I use little to no medium and when I do it’s usually regular linseed oil. If you try the Gamblin Neo Megilp, let us know how it compares.

      1. John, when you say you use little to no medium – and only linseed oil – are you meaning you no longer use the Neo Meglip? Sorry if I’ve misread you

        1. John Morfis says:

          Hi Ryan. I’ve noticed that as I’ve gained more experience as a painter I’ve decreased the amount of medium(s) I use. I generally use linseed oil as needed when my paint or brush feels stiff, when I need to thin out the paint. This is not too often I suppose. If I am in a rush and need my paint to dry fast to meet a deadline I sometimes use neo-megilp. But usually I have more than one painting to work on and am patient enough to wait a couple of days so good ‘ol linseed oil is usually fine in these regards. So not much of any mediums while painting and my first choice is linseed oil. I do add a wee-bit of the neo megilp to my toned-ground mixture that I usually work on top of.

          1. Yes, I feel like minimal mediums would be the ideal scenario however, being somewhat new to the arts, find it almost impossible to pull off. I seem to be forever needing to add something to get the flow and smoothness. Perhaps has a lot to do with the oil paint brand / quality as well. Mine aren’t student grade, but yet not quite the top-of-the-line either.

            thx for the help.

          2. John Morfis says:

            Ryan. Oil paint should be fairly firm and sticky. That’s actually what makes it a joy to work with, especially blending colors and working into wet layers. Yes, it definitely takes some getting used to. I can remember being in your same situation and make paint thinner with all kinds of things. I actually became somewhat of a medium-junkie to be honest. The truth is applying the oil paint is much physical labor. It requires a lot of scrubbing. It won’t glide right on like painting a wall with latex. The first layer is the most laborious, especially if you’re working on a very absorbent ground such as acrylic gesso. It makes you feel like the paint isn’t moving at all so we tend to thin it out. Embrace the scrub I say! Just make sure your brushes are sturdy enough and not floppy-noodle-like things.

          3. Cheers John, I’ll endeavour to head down that path. Appreciate the help.

    2. John Angel says:

      Cheers Margaret et al. Fine Detail Liquin is just ordinary Liquin diluted with turps. Should anybody be interested, I’ve been painting with oils for over 40 years and have been the Studio Director at the Angel Academy of Art, Florence (google us!!!!!), since 1997. My medium is 2 parts Liquin; 1 part linseed oil; 3 parts turps, and it works like a dream. Because it contains Liquin, the old rule of fat-over-lead no longer applies: the rule was because of different drying times, but Liquin dries everything overnight.

      1. John Angel says:

        Addendum: Liquin is essentially a synthetic hard varnish – the old hard varnishes were copal varnish and amber varnish (dammar and mastic resins make soft varnishes and were not used by the Old People in mediums, since they cause weak paint films). My medium, therefore, is an updated version of the traditional oil/varnish/turps.

        There’s a typo in my previous post (above): the rule is fat-over-lean, NOT lead!!

      2. Is Liquin Fine Detail just regular Liquin with turps? The Fine Detail dries much shinier than regular liquin, which is one reason if I use them together I need to varnish at the end to get an even sheen.

        1. John Morfis says:

          I’m not sure what their specific recipe is but your hunch sounds reasonable to me Bart.

        2. John Angel says:

          The essential oils (turps, mineral spirits, petroleum, etc.) are the only things that make oil paint flow without glooping. This is why I have always assumed that Liquin Fine Detail is just Liquin diluted with turps.
          It is a good idea to include an essential oil (I use mineral spirits) in your paint. The essential oils dry by evaporation—as opposed to linseed oil, which dries by oxidation—leaving a zillion tiny holes in the paint film, and these allow the oxygen to reach through the enire thickness of the paint film and dry it evenly. (Irritatingly, there are some pigments that cannot have essential oils mixed with them—black and alizarin are two such—and they need their own medium.)

  10. Hello, thank you for your informative article. I began painting fairly recently and have so many questions! There’s conflicting information online sometimes.

    I took an oil painting class and used the medium I was taught there. It contained Gamsol, linseed oil, and Galkyd Lite. Both times I’ve made it, it coagulated after a few months terribly. I’m wondering if I used the wrong type of linseed oil or wrong Galkyd. But it did work beautifully before that, it was exactly what I was going after.

    I don’t want to make that medium again. I recently purchased a bottle of Liquin Orignal and a bottle of Artists’ Painting Medium made by Winsor & Newton. I also bought “Copal Painting Medium” made by Grumbacher. They were on sale at 75% off and the clerk recommended I just try each of them. I’m not that brave. I still have the Gamsol, Galkyd Lite, and cold pressed linseed oil. So I have a bunch of bottles but am unsure how to get started.

    I’m working on a 12×24 portrait on canvas. What I’m wondering is if I need to mix anything with Liquin Original? Or just use it straight out of the bottle? And from what I have now is there a decent medium or a way to make one besides the Liquin?

    Neo Megilp sounds wonderful and I’m going to get some as soon as I’ve used some of what I have!

    Thank you if you read this far!

    1. John Morfis says:

      Hi Rachel, yes the internet is rife with conflicting information. Often it’s just a matter of preference. The key is not to get paralyzed with too much information. This tends to happen in fb groups and painting forums. Everyone in these groups have strong opinions and the wannabe conservators (lousy artists) come in with their know-it all sermons. If you are new to painting, it’s just important that you keep painting and improving your skills. If you like a medium use it. Don’t let anybody stop you.

      Over time experiment with each of those mediums you have and compare them. I would take one medium per painting and give them a full test.

      Anything alkyd is going to be a rapid drier. If you make your own concoction using an alkyd medium (Galkyd included) it’s not going to last too long. The oxygen you mix into it making the medium immediately starts drying it via oxidization. The more room in the bottle the faster it dries and sometimes the yuckier the bottle will look. As far as fast-drying mediums go, Neo-Megilp is my favorite, but to be honest I paint with virtually no medium and when I do it’s usually just good ‘ol linseed oil.

      But again Rachel, don’t get paralyzed with information. Keep painting, make the next one better than the last and enjoy the process!

      1. Rachel Magnusson says:

        John thank you! Your answer is totally helpful!

  11. Mike Flinn says:

    This is all great information but I want to inject a little sanity here. I’m a professional artist and I use Liquin heavily and have for 25 years. The first paintings I did back then look as fresh as the one I did two days ago. If there’s yellowing I can’t see it. I think we have to be realistic about the value of our art to the future and who is going to be judging the methodology we used. Not to put too fine a cynical point on it but most of us produce work that will not be marveled over by successive generations. Our paintings and our varnishing techniques will not baffle museum curators. So, try to keep your feet on the ground when it comes to preserving your paintings for the 400 years to come. The lighting in most thrift stores isn’t that great anyway…:)

    1. John Morfis says:

      Much of this sentiment is echoed in many of my comments here Mike.

    2. Mike Flinn, I’m bustin’ to ask you something since you have used Liquin “heavily for 25 yrs.” There are lots of videos on the web that warn of how dangerous Liquin is to inhale and that one must have fresh air blowing into the room one is painting in. Have you found this to be true? Please tell me of how you use it safely and “if” you have had any side effects medically from your long use of Liquin? I really really need to use it so I can do portraits because I don’t think or judge values well when rushed with fast drying acrylics. I don’t wish to wait months to sell a customer a portrait either. H E L P. Please help me to understand Liquin. I see so many conflicting opinions on youtube.
      Also – Is it true that I don’t have to worry about fat over lean in doing layers on an oil painting if I use Liquin? Thanks so much for any help. I have a small 10×12 art studio and my windows need to be closed during very hot or cold days.

      1. You still have to follow the ‘fat over lean’ rule, as painting a fast drying layer over a slower drying layer will cause cracks and lock out the oxygen needed for the lower layers to oxidize/dry. Many of Henri Fantin/Latour’s paintings show cracks in the paint layer exposing layers underneath. “By adding substances to his paints to reduce the drying time…Fantin has introduced markedly different rates of contraction in parts of the design layer” (Fantin/Latour, National Gallery of Ottowa, 1983, p 59). While Fantin-Latour did not use Liquin, this is an example of what can happen when using mediums inconsistantly throughout the paint layer.
        You need a fan that will suck the air from your studio and blow it outside. If you are using mineral spirits you are still inhaling toxic fumes, you just can’t smell them. Same thing with Liquin. A small fan that you can fit in a window is ideal.
        As for waiting months to dry, how thick are you painting? A paint film (without liquin) of about 1/8″-1/4″ (.45mm) will take a minimum of 7 months to dry, depending on medium used, the pigments and and the binding oil (linseed, safflower, or walnut). https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsapm.0c01441#
        Of course if you are using liquin the drying time will be shorter.
        Here’s an article with answers by Winsor Newton’s technical advisor.

  12. This is a great post-Thank you for writing! I was concerned about the long term effects of glazing with Liquin because of my old bottle, too. Now I feel it is safe to go ahead and start some glazing with it. Cheers!

  13. Jose Celis says:


    Thank you all for your comments, especially John Morfis’. and Mike Flinn’s. This is really helpful. I am at my VERY early stages of oil painting and I think what I find most frustrating is how much it is out there regarding mediums, brushes, etc. It is so overwhelming that whilst it is great that there are so many options, it has also deterred me from actually start doing the painting thinking that I may not have the right materials.

    So, I got this basic student level oil paint set (Winton), which included a bottle of liquin and I have given it a couple of tries to the whole painting thing and based on the results, I have serious doubts about this new hobby of mine 🙂 So, if you can shed some light on the issue I encounter it would be highly appreciated.

    So, as a usual rookie that I am, I rely on youtube videos to try to learn as much as I can before diving into the deep end. So, everything seemed easy enough, paint stroke here and there. How hard can that be? right? Well, was I WRONG… The first thing I noticed is that my colors didn’t seem to want to stick to the canvas, I felt as if I were painting over a polished glass and using mustard and mayonnaise to paint over it. None of the youtube magic was happening. All I created was a slick mud mess that did not seem to match anything I saw online. I added a bit of liquin to dip my brushes into the colors and used some turpenoid to clean my brushes in between. Maybe the turpenoid diluted the paint too much even after drying them with paper towels for each time I cleaned them? With every paint stroke I’d wiped the previous color I had used and just ended up staining the canvas. The truth is that I found it extremely hard and made me question everything. Form the materials to myself. Any advice would be highly appreciated.

    1. John Morfis says:

      Colors not sticking?… Canvas might be too slick. I’ve seen that before. Try a different brand canvas entirely just to rule that out. It also sounds like you may be using too much medium and/or turpenoid. Painting with oils is a lot of physical brushing… At least that’s the way I paint. It’s like trying to spread peanut butter around. That’s the magic of it though, that layer of wet paint can be magical once you know how to handle it. Get a new canvas from the art store (not a discount store) and give a painting 10-20 hours of your attention with barely any medium/thinner.

      1. Thank you John. I will definitely give it a try. I was using Artist Loft Student grade canvas.
        I have a question though, since I have a set of around 8 canvas, would it help it if I were to prime them with Gesso?


        1. John Morfis says:

          Prime with gesso? Maybe, but I would lightly sand the canvas first, especially if the canvases are slick. 100 – 400 grit sand paper will do the trick. Don’t get too carried away, it may be just you’re not used to painting in oils!

  14. I enjoyed reading through everyone’s comments above and I have a question for John.

    I typically do not use any medium other than a bit of turpenoid and paint in many layers, relatively thin, top layer a bit thicker. My main issue is that my paintings dry with inconsistencies in shine, some areas (generally lighter colors) dry matte, while others (particularly blacks and deep rich colors) dry shiny. This is irritating to the eye but I’ve found can be “fixed” with a retouch varnish which makes all the colors equally rich, shiny and gorgeous. However, waiting 6 months or more to varnish is not an option for some of the recent paintings I’m working on. They have deadlines and would be ruined if I tried varnishing them by that time. I’m wondering if using a bit of neo megilp in with my colors would allow for a more consistently satiny or shiny finish similar to what retouch varnish does. I like matte finishes as well but my main concern is achieving a consistency in the finish before varnishing. Thank you so much for any insight you have on this issue!!

    1. John Morfis says:

      Hi Alannah, Neo Megilp will make all your paints glossier when they are dried…and they will dry very fast too. Will it help with consistency?… probably slightly. But trying to battle paint sheen consistency is a constant battle. The problem is solved simply by varnishing.
      Many artist’s paintings (mine included) have some very uneven spots where the oil has sunken in. You don’t have to wait 6 months to varnish. As soon as your painting is dry to the touch and not squishy underneath you can varnish it. Paint is only squishy if it is really thick… but it sounds like you don’t paint with really thick, impasto layers anyway… so just varnish away. We all do. It’s how real, working, selling artists bring pictures to market. The arm chair artists might tell you to wait a year but this annoying group of wannabes don’t function in the real art world. These fools spend their time arguing out what they consider “best practices” in annoying online forums such as wetcanvas.
      Robert Gamblin, whom tests paints extensively has said that one can varnish as soon as the paint has dried. I agree, I have been doing this for 20+ years with no ill effects.

      1. Hi John,

        Thanks so much for your advice. I’m excited to try neo megilp. You certainly have more years of experience than me, but I’m speaking about the 6 months wait period from about 5 years of trial and error with varnishing specifically. I’ve varnished pieces for shows with retouch varnish that feel completely dry (maybe 3 months dry) and had paint streak or come up before. Varnishing, in general, stresses me out, and I’ve managed to save paintings that streak but it feels like having a mild heart attack, haha. My guess is that this dry time problem was enhanced by the very humid places I used to work in.

        This is the first time I’ve asked a painting question online, because as you said, “armchair” artists are often dogmatic and lack experience. I appreciate your insight and getting back to my question so quickly. Thank you! With that, I’m out the door to pick up some neo megilp and start experimenting.

        1. John Morfis says:

          btw. I just varnish with regular varnish, NOT retouch varnish which is diluted. I use winsor and newton’s picture varnish. Good luck and keep producing 🙂

  15. Pi Pee Pye says:

    Hi, I have inherited a nice bottle of Original like yours.. could be very old.. i have broken the waxy-type skin and got it to mix into some of the darker liquid !! Could I still use this medium, if spend time mixing it more please… any experience of this aspect of Liquin? 🙂

    1. John Morfis says:

      Yes, Liquin gets quite yucky with age. the darkness seems overbearing mostly because you are seeing a cross-section of 1-3 inches. In reality that film will be very thin when mixed into your paint and brushed on. So in essence the brown will have minimal effect. BUT if it is chunky or has any dried lumps in it I wouldn’t use it at all. In the past I’ve typically had to throw away the last 20% of the bottle if it got old.

  16. Pi Pee Pye says:

    Hi John, Yes my first bottle (bought a large one to save money !!! is only 5-6 months old and is going “Yucky”. I will dispose of the second “gift” bottle.. thanks for your rapid and great reply. Happy New Year :).

    1. John Morfis says:

      Sounds reasonable. Your time and efforts are worth way more than a $5-$20 bottle of something. (I’m sure some bozo will chime in and declare that their bottle cost them $21 dollars and they’ll spend the next 2 hours wasting time online instead of actually getting better at painting but that’s their loss 😉 ) Materials are cheap in the long run… very cheap; time is expensive and you can’t make more of it. Happy New Year to you too!

  17. I was in touch via email to Bob Ross business a while back about the fact ‘could i re use liquid white on top of the liquid white once dried’ then paint over the second coat with oils whilst still wet, as i had couple accidents that put me out of action so i never completed the painting though i had done an outline whilst originally wet of the cafe facade ?

  18. Carole Kratzke says:

    I have been living in Spain for the last 8 years,and couldn’t get hold of liquin,but was intrigued to find out why it was so recommended by Artists such as Michael James Smith. I’ve been reading all the comments on here,the fors and againsts,and decided I will carry on with a good quality linseed oil,and pure spirit,I don’t necessarily need quick drying.Slightly put off by the fact that it goes gunky after a while.

    1. John Morfis says:

      There’s nothing wrong with your approach Carole.

  19. I’ve used Liquin for years and am excited to try the Gamblin Neo Meglip, so thanks for the recommendation. I have a problem I’m hoping someone can help me with. I finished a painting on canvas primed with gesso (24 x 36 inches) and painted using oils, Liquin, and Turpenoid. I thought that the “natural” solvent would have less odor and be better for my home studio environment. As luck would have it, this representational landscape painting came out fabulous, one of my best, although I seemed to battle a shiny slick surface at the end when I got down to the details. I let it dry for about a month and then used Soluvar varnish as I have always done with other oil paintings. As I applied a thin coat of Soluvar I noticed a couple of areas in the brown rocks that crawled (the varnish refused to stick to the paint surface.) I let the varnish dry and the weird texture bothered me so I gave it another coat of Soluvar. I covered well with the second coat. I got in a juried show and later displayed it on the wall in my home. Recently I noticed with a bit of horror a few inch long cracks in the upper center involving the sky portion of the landscape painted in shades of whitish blue and pink. When I hold the canvas up to the light, I can see that the cracks go right through to the substrate. I’m thinking the Turpenoid never let the paint properly dry causing shrinkage under the stress of the varnish top coats. Because of my dislike for the shiny surface, I am thankful that I never used Turpenoid again as a painting solvent and have switched the Gamisol with much better results. However, will I be able to save my beautiful painting? Should I remove the varnish, sand down the sky, and reapply a new sky color? Or should I spend the money and seek professional restoration? Thanks!

    1. John Morfis says:

      Hi Wendy, I’m not a conservator and it’s hard to tell without seeing your painting in real life but maybe I can offer a few ideas: First off you have to value your time/money… taking the painting to a professional restorer will probably cost a fortune. If that was my only option, I’d personally put my time and money into making more art! I do realize the annoyance of having one of your works ruined after such many efforts. So here is what I’d do if this was my painting and I wanted to try fixing it myself:

      I would strip the varnish from the troubled spots / cracked areas and a some of the surrounding areas just to be safe. You can do this with solvent and cotton balls or some absorbent material. It’s a painfully slow process…one square inch at a time. You’ll use up about 1 cotton ball per square inch… anymore and you’ll be reapplying the varnish.

      It sounds like the varnish is cracked in the shiniest portions of the painting. ( I bet you glazed many layers with liquin ) Here’s the trick: you need to provide some tooth for the varnish to stick and stay put. I use ammonia to do this. soak a rag in ammonia and wipe the slick spots and surrounding areas with ammonia. Let it dry and repeat. This will etch the surface reducing the glossiness. Let it sit and dry for a day or so, but not collect any dust. Then re-varnish.

      Good luck and let us know how things turned out!

      1. Thank you! The cracking goes deep through the paint layers which are laid not very thick. I can see white through the cracks when I hold it to strong light. Consulting with another painter we wonder if the Turpenoid Natural has migrated down to the gesso and softened it…loosening the paint layers. The application of the varnish probably stressed it to crack. Well, that is one theory. I will attempt to remove the varnish on one crack as you explained and do an experimental sanding to see how far down the crack goes. Reapply paint with a better solvent and let dry and then revarnish. Only happened in the tinted white paint areas, so something in the Turpenoid Natural or in combination with the Liquin made the paint unstable. Will let you know what happens, but I’m waiting until better weather to work outside. Lesson learned: Only use Turpenoid Natural as a brush cleaner or to get paint out of clothing.

  20. I have recovered my old art supplies after a decade in storage (long overseas story) and have to report that the 5 part used bottles of Liquin (one since 1996)are still looking healthy albeit slightly darker in tint than the fresh bottle so I am not sure what happened to yours but something must have got in there, either biological or reactive contaminant.

    Unfortunately most of the paints meanwhile have hardened off somewhat in the tubes so I am not sure how well they can be worked back to a usable consistency with a mixing knife and a drop of oil, any experience helpful as they were artists colour so quite expensive to replace with new.

    1. John Morfis says:

      That’s great about your liquin. Every bottle I owned since the 90’s turned yucky just like that photo, but that’s more than likely oxidization from working with the bottle many times over many months or even years. I wouldn’t bother messing with the old paint. It can’t be reliably reconstituted and at best you’ll have a semi-stable paint film and have tons of chunks in your paint. Supplies are cheap, time is expensive; get some new paint.

  21. JOHN
    My instructor wants me to use Liquin on my oil painting as the finish top coat/ seaer instead of a varnish. Have you ever heard of that technique?

    1. John Morfis says:

      Yes, but it’s not a good practice. A varnish should be easily reversible / removable and Liquin is not. I’m afraid you’ve been given bad advice.

      1. Thank you. I didn’t think so and wanted another opinion. Thanks again.

  22. Hi, First, thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge about oil painting. I have been an acrylic artist for ten years now and have much knowledge about using and controlling it’s practically immediate dry time, mostly learned to paint quickly. but have had times I wish for more open time on my palette and canvas. I am thinking about trying out oils now, gulp, but have brain fry from all the videos I’ve watched about it and to be honest am afraid of some of the newer mediums as they are somewhat toxic, gel mediums that are part polymer, part solvent. They create a more flexible surface, dry fast, enable the artist to work in multiple layers without worrying about the old fat over lean rule but to me this sounds like painting with acrylics so why would I do that. What would you tell a very newbie oil user to use first, medium wise, what paints do you prefer, I know this is highly personal but you’ve been an oil artist for a long time, go for it, I’ll listen. I would really appreciate your knowledge, thanks.

    1. John Morfis says:

      Hi Cat,
      I feel your pain. There is way too much information out there. All of the social media users, arm-chair-conservators, and best-practices-blow-hards have made oil painting confusing and scary for new comers. It’s very annoying.
      Here’s some general advice to get you started:

      • Keep it simple – always. Stick to one medium and don’t use much of it. Worried about the solvents in alkyd mediums? Just use linseed oil – that’s it. Most of the time you won’t need to, only when using tiny brushes where the paint feels too thick.
      • Just paint – don’t worry about glazing, or even “fat over lean”. Just worry about pushing the paint around and getting the right colors. You’ll pick up more knowledge over time.
      • Be patient – oil painting, like a chess game, or a retirement savings account requires some planning and being patient… Painting too wet to work on? Oh well, better wait a day or three!
      • Just paint – (yes again) – if you’re watching endless videos, constantly tuning in to social media and reading blog posts about how great maroger medium, a three-part medium, (or any fanciful recipe) is and was the secret sauce to blah blah blah you really need to tune out and go paint. Seriously, read less, watch less and paint more.

      As far as paints go, I’ve always liked Gamblin and Winsor & Newton, especially as a beginner. They are affordable and offer great paints that have suited my needs for a couple of decades 🙂 I do buy some more expensive paints but that’s not worth getting into now.

      Best of luck to you and see you around!

      1. Thank you, thank you! Good sound advice! I’ll do just that, simple and sweet. Yes, the hardest part for me will probably be waiting for paint to dry. With acrylics I work in thin glaze layers so they dry instantaneously. I am excited to try out oils though. Another chapter to add in my artistic brain . I also watercolor too and am very familiar with Windsor Newton. It’s a very reliable paint and has great colors. Thanks a million for the advice. Cat

  23. Holly Nelson says:

    Hello. I’ve been painting in acrylics for a few years now, but am dabbling with water soluble oils. Can’t use traditional oils because I’m in a shared studio space, plus I’m not keen on solvent fumes, either.

    My experimental oils are drying very slowly, but also differently depending on the pigment. The blue (phthalo, I think) dried tacky in a couple of days, while the T white and yellow were still quite wet. I only use water for cleaning up, not as a medium. I’m sticking with linseed oil as a medium for the O.S. oils at present, to avoid any solvents.

    Could either of the media you’re discussing be used with water soluble oils? And, it sounds like both of them would be solvent based, too. I’ve gotten spolied by the easy cleanup and quick working qualities of acrylics, but would enjoy doing some alla prima work in oils if I can ever get them to behave!

    1. John Morfis says:

      Hi Holly, don’t let regular oils scare you. You can use them with no solvents if you want. You can adapt a workflow that suits your needs. You can paint with no solvents what-so-ever and then only use them outside your space for clean up only. Or, you can eliminate them all together. Just rinse brushes in oil to clean them as you switch colors while painting. I do that all the time. I can’t say I never use solvents but I have eliminated them from my workflow by at least 90%. And yes, any of the alkyd mediums discussed here (liquin, neo-megilp) have solvents in them.

  24. This might be a stupid question, but what would happen long term to a painting if I mixed a little acrylic in with liquin to apply as a thin glaze? I only had a particular color in acrylic and I couldn’t find it locally in oil.

    1. John Morfis says:

      For long term preservation that is not advisable.

  25. Windsor & Newton paint company, does not exist, the owners are Swedish and for years they have been manufacturing in China and France with lower quality.

  26. Charles Hartley says:

    I previously used varnish(s) and found them to be problematic if I wanted to touch up my painting after the varnish was applied. I now use Liquin as a varnish at the end of painting. I thought varnish was applied so that future conservators could remove it as a way of cleaning the painting. If we have faith that future conservators will be able to clean a liquin layer without damaging it (or more importantly the painting below it) why not use Liquin and avoid the varnish as a finish layer?

    1. John Morfis says:

      Hi Charles,

      I’m going to address each comment/question in the order that you stated them:

      You never want to touch up a painting over a varnish layer because that paint isn’t really bonded to anything stable. Removing the varnish will also remove the touch-up layer.
      Don’t use Liquin as a varnish. It’s a bad idea.
      Yes, that’s precisely why varnish is used.
      No, Liquin forms a very strong bond to the paint layer. There’s no way a conservator will be able to easily remove the layer of Liquin, if used as a varnish. You would need harsh chemicals that would also begin to ruin the painting underneath. It would be like trying to removing a layer of cement from a layer of cement.

      Hopefully this helps Charles.

  27. I hav a smaller Liquin bottle 3/4 full and it has not separated.. just dried out a little… It was bought in the med 2000s about 2003 maybe… I just started using it and it is fine…

  28. I heard recently that Winsor & Newton is buying quantities of Gamsol to use as their base for the newer Liquin. It appears that it will have less harmful vapors and better for those who left Liquin complaining of respiratory issues.

  29. Mary Benveniste says:

    Big question! I am working on an oil painting of a Distinguished Gentleman, using Old Holland oils and Liquin as the medium . The face was too orange and somehow I was unable to get rid of the orange skin. I applied some Conte pastel pencils softening the orange with greys and green and it looks so much better. Then I painted pure liquin over the pastel pencil strokes. It looks much softer and I’m finally able to achieve the look I searched for. He has a kind of “Mona Lisa” smile, very expressive and gentle. Don’t know if drawing with pastel over an oil painting, then sealing it with Liquin is a shocking no no, but it’s working marvelously for me to soften blend the flesh contours and transitions.

    1. John Morfis says:

      I’m glad your painting is making progress Mary. Questions like these open big cans of worms and I’m sure if some “hair-splitter” reads this thread they’ll want to jump in and show off all their best-practices know how. First off, every work of art degrades so there’s always a matter of scope? Like when I make color studies I don’t care so much about the long-term life span of the painting. Then there’s the typical contemporary art-world in which often no consideration is made to the artwork’s longevity. Is this bad? Maybe, but many of these artist sure make a ton of money off their artwork so from that perspective it certainly isn’t bad. (The hair splitters are traditionalist-best-practices-blowhard’s blood is starting to boil…I can feel it 🙂 Now, I believe that most conservators would consider your approach somewhat of a no-no only because the pastel was loose and unbound and the liquin was raw without having pigment/particles in it. So yes, it’s somewhat a no-no, but do you really care?

      1. Holly Nelson says:

        Regarding “Lack of longevity…” it’s puzzling to me that in a time when the contemporary art buyers are springing enough cash for paintings to buy a small island, physical integrity and longevity of pieces can almost be seen as a fuddy duddy affectation. It must make art conservators nuts when a painting’s declared components might be incomplete, incorrect, or even undeclared. “Mixed media” might include anything — insect wings, banana peels, the artist’s blood. Yeah, try touching that up.

        But then I learned my attitude from Mayer, who felt that if you didn’t intend a piece to last 400 years, why were you even bothering?

        And of course none of this applies if a piece is being created for reproduction. Your pigments can be as fugitive as the One-Armed Man and that doesn’t matter. But you should at least know your materials’ qualities, I think, so they aren’t a mystery to your buyers.

  30. Mary Villon de Benveniste says:

    Thank you so much John for your quick reply ! I really appreciate your help!
    A few more details. When starting the painting I was very careful to work fat over lean, thick over thin, I laid out my composition with a turpentine and oil paint wash, and gradually added Liquin to the mixture, until I finally just used paint and Liquin.
    As the face was too orange and I seemed unable to get the perfect flesh tones, I decided to use my pastel pencils (light grey and green) cross hatching over the dry surface of his face. I pushed the liquin into the pastel strokes mixing them together and it quickly dried. I’ve continued doing this a few times and adding warm flesh colored oil paint where necessary.
    Pray for me because my painting will hang in a historical society among portraits of past presidents (including our founding fathers) going back hundreds years!

    Thanks again for your comments!

    1. John Morfis says:

      I’m sure it will be fine for our lifetime.

    2. John Morfis says:

      My pleasure, in the future you might want to pair up your colors with value-matched neutrals (grays) and you can easily drop the chroma of the colors this way.

    3. That sounds like the original flesh color mixture was too orange, rather than the Liquin imparting a yellow tone. Color operception is affected by the surrounding colors, so that may have thrown you off. Had you matched your flesh tone to the local color of your subject’s face? Were you painting from life, or using a photo reference? Photographs often distort color and value. As for pastel/liquin, basically you are creating a varnish with a tiny bit of pigment in it mixed with the binder in pastel pencils, which could affect the oxidation/drying of lower levels of paint.

  31. Hey! Thanks for great information! One question: I have a bottle with THICK Liquin, is there anything to do to get it somewhat thinner?
    And… I have had Liquin (half bottle, but 250ml size) that has been much older than your bottle on the photo, it has thickened and after some time become impossible to get out of the bottle, but has never looked anything like your old one… so think it seems like there must be something extra going on with yours… Have you seen this more than once?

    1. John Morfis says:

      Hi Anne,

      Yes, I have always had Liquin get nasty towards the end, and I’ve been around that product since the ’90s ! As far as thinning, you can thin with a touch of spirit/thinner, BUT and this is an important distinction, you shouldn’t try to reconstitute any dried medium or paint. In otherwords thinning a healthy, undried mixture of thicker viscosity is fine, but never try to thin out half dry mediums or paint.

  32. Desmond Fernandes says:

    Hi guys!
    Do Liquin or Neo Meglip emit toxic fumes?
    I recently revisited oils after 50 years and used some turps and white spirit. The vapours killed me! Just heard of Liquin and Neo Meglip and am reticent about using them as my lungs are sensitive.

    Thing is, I prefer oils to acrylics and itching to get stuck in.

    1. John Morfis says:

      Desmond, both liquin and Neo Megilp have solvent in them so I believe the answer to your question is yes, but it’s all a matter of how much toxic fumes right? Using a small amount of a these mediums is not like working with washes made with thinner. There is a huge difference in the amount of vapors in the air. But I totally understand your concerns. It’s why I am 99% solvent-less in my oil painting methods nowadays. I rarely use washes, if at all, and simply use linseed oil if I need to thin out my paints, but I rarely even do that. I’ve adopted a practice of brushing out thick paint into a thin layer. I’ve got a long life ahead of myself and would like to keep painting until the very end 🙂

  33. Barbara Wainscott says:

    When you begin a new painting session with an oil painting where the paint is dry I have read you need to “oil out” before you begin painting. Can this be done with either Liquin or Neo Megilp with no paint added and should you only apply it on the area where you will be painting on or the entire canvas?

    1. John Morfis says:

      Hi Barbara, oiling is not a necessity at all. Should you oil out depends on a couple of things. It’s used mainly for two reasons: 1) to restore the color of any sunken-in paint. 2)wet the surface for a more wet-into-wet feel. If you don’t have the need for either of the aforementioned conditions there is no need to oil out at all. If you do decide that oiling out is required, it’s advisable to oil out only the area you are working on, not the whole painting. And unless you are working in the smallest of areas and making a very fast adjustment I would oil out with good ‘ol linseed oil. It will stay wet for a long time, whereas the Liquin and Neo Megilp will start to setup and dry too soon.

      1. Barbara Wainscott says:

        John, thank you so much for your quick reply! This site is such an amazing aid for those of us who are self-taught. There are so many voices on the internet that sometimes it turns to mud faster than my paint mixes. I am going to be painting five large paintings for my daughter’s new house and saw your post on the Neo Megilp; I’ve been a Liquin user and I am re-thinking this for the upcoming paintings. I have two issues I’m concerned about. I saw on the Gamblin site that they didn’t recommend the Neo Megilp if you wanted the brushstrokes to be prominent, which is the case with a couple of the paintings. And two of the paintings will have very large white backgrounds and I am concerned about yellowing with age. Do you have any suggestions with these regards?

        1. John Morfis says:

          I agree, too many annoying voices. From social media bickering to best-practices-blowhards you’re best to tune 99% of it out and actually work on your paintings. All of these general purpose alkyd mediums (liquin original and neo-megilp) will level your paint to some degree meaning they will flatten out your brush stroke texture but not entirely. Remember you don’t need to add any medium to your paint at all. But, if you insist, all these brands also make gels, which extend the paint (cost effective and typically speeds up drying time) but retains the impasto brushstrokes.

          On the note of yellowing paint. All oil paint yellows to some degree over time with or without medium. Will the medium make it yellow more? Possibly but would it even be discernible to the viewer? When we look at things our eyes tend to adjust to the whitest area of the picture and accept that as white. Most of the time we would have to compare the “yellowed-white” to a whiter version to notice the difference.

  34. I understand it is advisable to use as little medium as possible.

    1. John Morfis says:

      Yes, playing mad scientist with a bunch of painting mediums makes restoration at a later date a nightmare for conservators. But besides all that best-practice stuff, it just makes painting more complicated… and it doesn’t have to be. Keep it simple :). Thanks for your comment.

  35. hi John.Great post! I am doing a series in mixed media, using acrylic molding paste, then acrylic paints as an underpainting with oil paint on top. The texture it creates is fabulous, but as I don’t cover all of the acrylic paint and molding paste with the oil paint, it leaves a big difference in sheen that I’d like to minimize. Thoughts to get around this? I was wondering about using liquin, but gather after reading your post that this isn’t the way to go. I have tried on another painting to use a semi-gloss spray varnish, but it hardly touches the matt sheen of the molding paste, so definitely didn’t even out the sheen.

    1. John Morfis says:

      That’s typically what a varnish is good at solving, but I see you’ve tried that. It sounds like the molding paste might be sucking some of the varnish up. Molding paste, as I recall is very absorbent. I think dealing with this from the start will more than likely give you a much better chance at evening the sheen out later with a varnish.

      How about applying the molding paste, then giving it an entire coating of acrylic thinned out with matte or satin medium? Then accomplish your colored acrylics… and finally your oils. Then I think you will have a good chance of leveling the sheen out with a good thinner-based varnish. Brush it on. Sprays can get tricky, they bead up pretty badly in my experience.

  36. Karen Ott says:

    While at the art supply store I was told today that Liquin is not a reliable medium . I was told that over a course of time (5+ years) the Liquin would crack. This has not been my experience working with it. Even some of my older works that are now 10+ years old show no signs of “cracks”. I’m curious if you’ve ever heard of this before?
    Just FYI – I thin out my oil paints with A LOT of Liquin and ally the oil paints like water colors. Not sure if the amount Liquin or lack of amount of paint make a difference – thank you for your time and knowledge!

    1. John Morfis says:

      Crack in 5 years? I doubt it. Liquin is an alkyd-based medium and quite flexible. I wouldn’t worry at all about it. Everybody and their grandmother is an armchair conservator these days and all emotional about “best practices”. The internet has given many of these people a megaphone which is probably where your art store clerk received their fear-based oil painting education. I wouldn’t worry too much of this Karen. I was tempted to list a few guiding principles regarding oil painting longevity but alas I’d rather stop reading this and go make some amazing paintings as you see fit!

  37. Hi, John… I am fairly new to painting with oil and currently use cold wax medium. Would there be advantages to adding Neo Megilp or Linseed Oil to the oil/cold wax mixture? I love the texture, less gloss and faster drying time that the cold wax medium gives me. Thanks for this fantastic site and your great advice!

    1. John Morfis says:

      I played around with cold wax a few times well over a decade ago. I remember it making my paint dry slower, but the details are always in the recipe and how it’s applied. Linseed oil will level your paints making them harder to show a texture. Both neo megilp and linseed oil will have the tendency to make your paint film more glossy not less glossy. Because neo migilp is an alkyd-based medium it will speed up the drying of your oil paints dramatically. I would’d mix all this stuff together though. Do a few paintings with each and see which you like best.

  38. Mary Lapos says:

    I was recently introduced to Liquin ultra. I’m not getting it . . . Question # 1 . .. Do.You mix the liquin with your oils or put a thin coat on the surface and work your oils into it.?
    #2. The process I was introduced to is that you put the liquin on the surface mixed with a little titanium white and cover the area you intend to work with. You van see thru the mixture easily. Its just another layer. My problem is that I over paint and the oils aren’t mixed with the liquin when I do that. So now I’ve got portions of my painting dried and ready for the next layer but the oils in my “overshoot” area are still sticky. Can I apply liquin to the surface of the sticky layer in the hopes that it will aide in drying or will the whole mess peel off and fall on the floor in 3 months (or sooner!)?

    1. John Morfis says:

      A1: You can do either but due to Liquin’s fast drying time, don’t expect to paint into a thin, wet layer too long. It starts to get gummy.
      A2: Most experts/conservators would advise against using an alkyd, by itself over a wet layer of paint.
      I’m trying to answer your questions directly Mary but at the same time don’t want to be a pedantic, best-practices blow hard! Remember anything you can do with Liquin you can do with linseed oil… it will just take much longer to dry. You can also work your “couch” wider and wipe off any unpainted areas.

  39. Thank you sooo much. I can see more clearly now.

  40. John smoth says:

    If you keep your bottles topped up with marbles as the medium gets used, there will be less oxidation in the container.

    1. John Morfis says:

      Yes, I’ve heard of that but never seen anybody actually do it. Send me a good photo of your bottles with marbles in it and I’ll add it to the post.

  41. Im using Grumbacher Oils and the Liquin Original. Im noticing that after my paintings are sitting and drying I am getting a clouding or color fade in certain areas, to the point of complete color disappearance. Ex: have a horse standing and his tail is gone. Im wondering if Im mixing my mediums wrong.

    1. John Morfis says:

      It’s hard to tell without seeing the painting, especially seeing it in real life but let me hypothesize a bit. First off, oil paint is notorious for sinking in, which causes much of the color saturation to disappear. Varnishing will restore the color but if you are still working on the painting have a look at technique of oiling out.

  42. Tom Williams says:

    Using only self-mixed dammar varnish as a medium, I paint over dry oiled-out layers. The paint via the dammar emulsifies over the oil allowing a luxious flow which resembles water colors and enables the use of water color type brushes like Kolinsky sables. This all works well, but my question is what about fat over lean as I continue my layers. I don’t know how to add more fat to this technique with the final layers. And, how do I glaze after the layering is complete?

    1. John Morfis says:

      Hi Tom. Using dammar varnish as a painting medium is extremely frowned upon by anybody that wants paintings to stand the test of time. The varnish makes the layers of paint not very stable and is easily removed by subsequent layers and definitely at risk with any future cleanings of the painting. If you want an extremely thin layer of paint/medium to get that watercolor feel as you wrote, consider using linseed oil + thinner or if you are liquin / neo megilp (alkyd) enthusiast like many readers here, use one of those + thinner. Fat over lean doesn’t really apply when using alkyd mediums. Enjoy.

  43. Phil Pearson says:

    I have been using Liquin now for a few weeks and the whole house has a strong odor. Is this the Liquin possibly? It smells like I live next to a bodyshop which I don’t. I just can’t track down the smell. Help!!

    1. John Morfis says:

      Yes, Phil Liquin all of those alkyd-based paint mediums that rapidly speed the drying time of oil paint contain thinners.

  44. Hi John, I have just spent the last couple of hours reading through all these comments and have learnt so much from you. I’m new to oil painting and all these mediums had me confused. I have completed 3 paintings so far! I’m no Rembrandt but I’m happy with them. My family are impressed and that’s all that matters to me. Thanks a million for all the information……and encouragement.

    Stay safe

    1. John Morfis says:

      This is great Gina and thank you for your kind praise. Keep at it, oil painting takes years to fully understand. Focus on making little gains with with one and over time you’ll really improve. And above all enjoy the process! Be sure to check out the oil painting guide for beginners.

  45. Thomas Pippitt says:

    I am new to oil painting and a little overwhelmed by all the mediums there are out there. i.e Linseed oil, Stand oil, Neo Megilp Medium, Paint oil medium, etc. I would like to learn the layered method of portrait painting (Grisaille). What mediums should I buy?

    1. John Morfis says:

      It is very confusing when you start out…and reading through online forums and listening to all the best-practice-blowhards in social media groups makes it even harder to learn how to oil paint. Above all Thomas, keep it simple. There is no “technique” on the planet that will replace slowly executed skill.

      Painting in layers over a grisaille (indirect painting) takes time. You really need to let each layer dry, especially as a beginner who will be brushing a lot more. So which medium to use? Plain ‘ol linseed oil (for artists) works just fine but is very slow to dry. If you are impatient and need to be adding a new layer every day I would used neo-megilp instead. But you don’t need both, and you certainly don’t need to be mixing your own painting mediums like some oil painting fundamentalist hipster. And if you didn’t already check out this here’s info on basic oil painting Best of luck

  46. Thank you so much for the very informative article and all the information in the replies to the comments as well! I’m super sensitive to most solvents and smells, even linseed! I tried water soluble route but they were too gummy for me. For those of you who are sensitive, I have found walnut oil to work wonderfully as my thinner. When I do need a solvent, I use a bit of Gamsol as it seems to be the least toxic and does not smell.
    Thank you John for the info on the Liquin and New Megilp mediums. I now know not to spend my $ on them and just continue happily with my walnut oil.

    1. John Morfis says:

      I love how you are willing to just keep it simple!

  47. Lovely writeup about liquin and neo megilp! I’ve used both and i love liquin when it comes to glazing and it has been my staple for the past couple of years.
    BUT the piece i am currently working on is a large piece and for this particular piece i had to do an underpainting in black and white. I used neo megilp medium for this particular step, and it has been almost a week and it is still not dry. I was really hoping that by this time, the underpainting would have dried up and I can move on to colours on top.. Do you have any tips of speeding up the drying time? it’s still sticky when i touch..

    1. John Morfis says:

      Hi Mandy, drying time has a lot to do with environment. If you can get your painting into a warm, dry environment with much airflow it will dry faster. When in a rush I will even sometimes bring paintings outdoors and let them dry under the hot sun during the summer. It’s not ideal for so many reasons but in a pinch I’ll do it. This dries paintings soooo fast, but I always risk bugs, bird poop, etc… I still take the risk once in a while. Some best-practices-blowhard will probably now comment that this is a bad idea, but they don’t have lucrative gallery deadlines and shows so we can promptly ignore their academism. I have also laid paintings in front of fans which can speed up the drying as well, but of course you risk dust blowing into your painting as well. There is trade offs with everything.

  48. Hi I love using Liquin but have made the mistake of using it as a finish on my paintings I hate the shine and would like a more matte fininish. What can I do?

  49. Sheila Ray says:

    My large bottle of liquin has hardened. It is not very old and I kept it closed. Is it ruined or is there a way to still use it?

    1. John Morfis says:

      If it is solid, it is not useful anymore Sheila.

  50. I had a painting flake on me. I was experimenting with a lot of mediums at the time, but then lost track and, I think, I started the piece with a combo of oil/turp/linseed, , ( spell?) and then, heedlessly, began working over it using liquin medium. Lean over fat?

  51. Hi!
    I have been using liquin fine detail for many years…
    I want to know if it’s safe to paint new layers of oil paint with liquin, on top of an old painting ( 8 years aprox) The painting is not varnished…
    Added to that… I’ll need to roll it in a couple of months for shipping reasons.

    1. John Morfis says:

      Yes it should be fine. I would make sure the surface is clean first.

  52. I don’t have this clouding up problem with Liquin unless it becomes contaminate with solvent. It takes only just the smallest amount of solvent to do this. I’m talking about the slightest hint of solvent residue on a palette knife, for example, that is being used to grab some Liquin out of the bottle. If solvent never comes near it, then I never have this problem.

    1. John Morfis says:

      In my use case I have always poured the liquin out onto the palette and then capped it immediately. Btw, liquin has solvent in it.

  53. Loved reading all of this! Thank you so very much!!
    God bless, C-Marie

  54. Years ago, I read online to store Liquin in its bottle, upside down and that it would not dry out. It worked!! Now why, I know not, because that simply moved the air pocket from the top of the bottle, to the bottom of the bottle. The bottle of Liquin that I have is maybe six years old, and it really smells awfully bad, but its consistency is as new.

    Am wondering if a new bottle of Liquin would smell as bad.

    God bless, C-Marie
    Also, the article showed how to remove the childproof outer cap … to be done only if there was no access to it by children …. and to then just use the inner cap as the cap for the bottle. Works very well. Must remember to wipe bottle neck before screwing cap back on.

    1. John Morfis says:

      I believe when you flip the bottle over it promotes any “skinning” and drying out to occur on the bottom and not the top of the medium. Liquin is made with thinner(s) so it will smell a bit new or old.

  55. Ellen Lalonde says:

    What is the difference between Gamblin Neo Meglip and Gamblin Galkyd Medium. Thank you!

  56. Gamblin solvent-free gel is CLEAR and non-toxic. No odor. Game over! Why use anything else? I love it!!!

  57. To the helloartsy.com admin, You always provide great information and insights.

  58. Isabelle Anderson says:

    Lots of great information here!
    I have been using neo megilp for a couple of years now and love it! However, when varnishing I sometimes get the varnish ‘beading up’ and I see from previous answers that this is due to a slick surface. I have read that applying a solvent first and varnishing when that has dried is the answer- just wondered about the best solvent for the job, if anyone has a favourite ?

  59. I used to use a acrylic glaze that was not milky, it was made by Zinsser, but they took that off the market and now the only product I can find that is similar is all milky. Imagine trying to paint with liquin and it was all milky, ! why bother ! Anyway i have yet to find a clear medium for acrylic that is not milky. You can not see what your doing until it is dry. Again why bother. So I paint with oils because I have a clear medium that I can control the viscosity of my paint. Well that and acrylic changes value when it is dry. I have yet to find a MATTE medium for oil. It sounds like this Gamblin medium is not as shinny and that is what I am after. Neo Megilp is worth a try. I wish it had “Matte” on its label.

    1. John Morfis says:

      Hi Don, acrylics are typically emulsions and as a result are quite milky. As far as a matte medium for oils? Look into cold wax mediums, you might be able to reduce the glossiness a bit with some wax. I do not use these so you’ll have to experiment on your own, but I do know that waxes are often used to reduce the sheen in oil-based products.

  60. hi
    im glad i ran across your article,
    have been looking at using Liquin,
    but now will check out Gamblin instead,
    im all for better tools?
    Doesnt Gamblin also make a professional grade oil paint?
    Think i seen it at Michaels or hobby loobby.
    Have you tried it? If so, what is your take on it…?
    and what is your take on Sennilear oil paint?

    thank you

    1. John Morfis says:

      Gamblin makes good quality paint. I’ve used plenty of their paints over the past few decades. I have no experience with Sennilear.

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