Medium mixture for each layer

by John
(Champlin, MN)

Hi Delmus, I recently purchased your e-book and dvd. The dvd hasn't come in the mail yet, but on your e-book I can't find where you say what your medium mixture is beyond the umber layer. On the website you say you use an eye dropper to measure with your palette cups, but I don't see that anywhere in the e-book. I'm just wondering if you could please explain your process to me a little bit more. On the e-book it says 50% turps, 25% dammar, and 25% linseed oil for the umber layer, but that's the last time you mention a medium used.... Unless I am just missing it. Please help. If your dvd explains this, please forgive me for being impatient haha :)


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Damar Crystals
by: Delmus


Damar Crystals are the pure form, which is then added to turps and "melted down" to use as a varnish. the liquid form from large manufacturers are just that. sometimes they also add other additives, so check their site for actual ingredients. In my paintings, I use mostly the Liquin with linseed oil and turps. I keep OMS in my brush cleaning jar, but my mixtures have the turps. I also add a touch (drops) of lavender oil to my mixture cup to make the room smell nice and activate my brain.


thanks for the feedback on that piece. I wish I had a good answer for ya, but I've never run across it before. I'm thinking the addition of the Liquin is preventing alot of problems for me when I do use the OMS. I now keep a small can of turpentine just for my mixtures to prevent issues in the future. I also have found that only a drop or two of the Liquin in the cup is enough to get most paint films to dry in 24 hours. Titanium white is the slowest to dry, and sometimes this does take several days to weeks depending on thickness. This is usually in the final stages and layers, when a thicker highlight is added. In the next revision of the original ebook, I will talk in great lengths on this.

Mineral spirits and Damar
by: Paul Baswell

Delmus i just wanted to add that damar and mineral spirits react to each other. this causes disastrous bubbling in the paint film. i don't know if your remember my exspireance on this in 2010? but i think we talked about it that painting took over a year befor it stoped feeling wet to the tuch and there are still spots 2 years later that have a ruff cerface texsture. i do not give out much hope that the painting will last vary long but you never know!

Re: Medium mixture for each layer
by: John

Thanks, Delmus! That helps a lot! One more quick question... so will OMS not work with Damar in liquid form as well? I've heard about damar resin crystals, but I'm not sure about that. I bought some Grumbacher Damar Liquid Varnish, but now I understand I must use that with turps and not OMS. Is that correct?

Medium mixture for indirect painting methods.
by: Delmus

Excellent Question! The answer you are looking for is within the first paragraph of chapter 7. "I also begin to replace the Damar varnish with Winsor Newton Liquin paint medium. This really accelerates the drying time. Further color layers and finishing layer have a medium with less turps and more linseed oil in keeping with fat over lean rules."

But I need to expand on this point in greater detail. These mixtures are not like pharmaceutical grade measurements. Oil painting is very forgiving in that area. (at least in my experience) If like me, you store leftover medium in an air tight container (plastic film canisters from 35mm film) just adding more oil and a drop or two of the Liquin medium has given me good results. This keeps the mixture fatter for each layer as I never add more thinner(OMS).

In my next revision of the e-book, this information will be added.

If you are using the traditional mixtures with Damar varnish, you must use real "Turpentine" to cut it. Odorless Mineral Spirits aren't quite good enough to fully dissolve the resins within Damar. If it were not for good friends and other artist's, I may have never understood this. I have had other artists letting me know of long drying times (very long drying times) with the Damar and Odorless Mineral Spirits. So now that I'm educated with this, I need to pass this information on to my readers.

I have used the method for many years with the addition of the Liquin, and this has not given me problems with drying. There are purist's that will not consider using Liquin for various reasons, and I respect their point of view. So, if you use the Damar Varnish in your mixtures, use turpentine instead of odorless mineral spirits. If you replace the Damar with Liquin (or some other alkyd dryer) the odorless mineral spirits should be fine.

I hope this clarifies the issue for you.

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Another Medium Question

by John

Hi Delmus, I just finished watching your DVD. It didn't look like you were using a medium on the dead layers or the color layers. It looked like you were just using the paint mixtures straight from the tube after oiling out. Only on the under layers you mentioned using Turp and Liquin. Is oiling out with linseed oil sufficient enough on the upper layers? And was there a reason you didn't use a medium on those upper layers? Thanks!


The Answer:

Hi John,

I do use medium in the dead and color layers. If I have a large area to cover, I just mix some directly into the paint. Sometimes, when a small area is being worked, I will dip my brush (clean) into the medium, then mix into the paint pile before applying to the canvas. sorry if this wasn't apparent in the video. The biggest thing to remember in your medium is to keep each successive layer with more oil or liquin medium, and less turps. (fat over lean) This protects the integrity of the paint film.

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medium proportions
by: Delmus

Looks good to me, I don't get to scientific with mine. I just add more oil to the mediums as I progress through the painting.

Concerning the modeling paste. When added to the gesso, it allows for easier sanding. The acrylic gesso is basically a plastic, and that just gets difficult to sand.

I've seen where another artist adds marble dust to his gesso. This accomplishes the same thing if you can find it. The marble dealers here recycle their dust, so it may be difficult to get.

By the way, I did get your email, and have not had time to answer. I will get in touch.

Best wishes!

Proportion of Mediums after umber layer
by: Dipali Deshpande

Hello Delmus,

I have purchased your e-book on Flemish technique. I found it very helpful as I am obsessed to learn Classic realistic.

I managed to get all materials. Started working with the help of this book. I have finished upto the umber layer. Now it's drying time. Till now it's moving towards the next layer as you said in chapter 7, we have keep fat over lean rule. So after replacing Dammer varnish with Daler Rowney alkyd flow medium (as I couldn't manage to get liquid) I concluded approximate ratio like this..

Layer name- Turpentine : Dammer/liquin : linseed
Umber. - 2:1:1
Dead. - 1:1:2
Colour. -. 0•5:1:2•5
Finishing - 0:1:3

Is this ok? Should I with ratio as it is reducing turpentine and increasing linseed and maintaining stable alkyd medium. What is your opinion?

One more thing I want to ask that instead of modeling paste should I go for only Gesso (2 coats) Does this affect the quality of canvas? I live in India (Delhi) where I couldn't get Indian make Modeling paste. Liquitex is quite expensive for me.

Kindly awaiting your reply.

Thanks a lot.

Dipali Deshpande

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