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Gamblin Oil Painting Mediums: Safer Alternatives to Traditional Solvents

Are you worried about your health as an artist working with oil paints and their chemical solvent counterparts?

Gamblin is a well-known brand among artists for their high-quality oil painting materials. They offer a range of products, each with unique qualities that cater to the specific needs of oil painters.

Solvent-Free Gel: This medium can be used to increase the transparency and gloss of oil paint. It is formulated without solvents or VOCs and is easy to clean up with soap and water.

Solvent-Free Fluid: This medium is similar to the solvent-free gel but has a more fluid consistency. It can be used to increase the flow of oil paint and enhance its levelling properties.

Cold Wax Medium: This natural medium is made with beeswax and can be used to create texture and depth in oil paintings. It is formulated without solvents or toxic additives.

Galkyd: This medium is made with alkyd resin and can be used to speed up the drying time of oil paint. It also enhances colour saturation and adds a glossy finish to the final painting.

Neo-Megilp: This medium is made with contemporary solvents and can be used to increase the flow and transparency of oil paint. It also enhances the levelling properties of the paint and has a satin finish.

Galkyd Gel: This medium is similar to Galkyd but has a thicker consistency, making it ideal for impasto techniques. It also speeds up drying time and adds a glossy finish.

Gamsol: Gamblin's signature odorless mineral spirit, Gamsol, is formulated to be less harmful than traditional solvents, with lower levels of VOCs and a less offensive odor. It can be used to thin oil paint, clean brushes, and remove varnish.

In addition to their specific qualities, each of these Gamblin products offers a safer alternative to traditional oil painting mediums and solvents. By choosing Gamblin materials, artists can enjoy similar effects without exposing themselves to harmful chemicals.

It's a difficult move for any artist to make when they've been working with specific solvents for their entire career. As an oil painter of over 10 years, I was always taught at art school to work with turpentine. In the past few years I've become increasingly aware of how bad it is to be working with this type of solvent.

My first step was to find a different medium to work with that was solvent free and could do what turpentine did for me as an oil painter. However this was easier said than done. Gamblin have a medium guide, that will offer you some assitance on the important qualities of each of their painting mediums. ( I quickly learnt galkyds weren't for me after trialling Galkyd Lite. Galkyd lite is the less glossy Galkyd, however I found it to be far too glossy and the viscosity too high even though it rates low in both of these categories.

I found linseed oil with a mix of 50% Gamsol was the closest I could get without going completely over to the Gamsol solvent alone. However I still don't enjoy the gloss the linseed oil brings to the paint.

Although Gamsol is considered a safer solvent, it is still a solvent with a safety data sheet rating of category 1 for Aspiration toxicant, the highest level.

Considering I've been unable to find a solvent free medium that works for me the way I need as an artist, I've now realised just how important ventilation and air movement is. I've begun working with my window wide open not just in my art studio but throughout the rest of the house, a fan blowing the solvents away from me as for less change of inhaling, exhaust fans left on in the nearby bathroom and I have plans to install an exhaust fan in my studio space above the table top I work from to minimise the issue even further.

When working with any medium, it's important to follow proper safety protocols, such as proper ventilation and protective gear. Gamblin's range of safer options provides artists with peace of mind, allowing them to focus on their art without compromising their health.


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