Art Spectrum Oil Mediums, Varnishes and Grounds

Educational, How To, Mediums, Oil Mediums, Oil Paint -

Art Spectrum Oil Mediums, Varnishes and Grounds

Art Spectrum Oil painting mediums are based on sound painting principles.

Today’s advanced testing indicates that the use of turpentine alone as a dilutent for oil paints is to be avoided, as it is too easy to destroy the binder and benefits of carefully milled paint. Sound painting principles involve painting from ‘lean’ mixtures to ‘fat’ mixtures of paint – essential when paintings are completed over a period of time. This ‘fat over lean’ technique prevents cracking in the paint film during drying.

Painting with oil paint should be no more involved than working with a water-based paint. For instance, Art Spectrum mediums are used to thin oil paint just as water or binding mediums are used with acrylics. Wax or fillers are added to oil paints just as impasto mediums are added to acrylics. Pure soap and water are used for cleaning brushes with both types of paint.

To see the range of art spectrum gesso, oil primes and mediums click below:


Oil Prime



The leanest medium. Ready to use straight from the container. Dries overnight, depending on climate and thickness of paint application. Often an excessive amount of gum turpentine is used as a substitute for a ‘lean’ medium. Too much gum turpentine ‘denatures’ the oil paint in these lean layers. This leaves an under-bound pigment when the paint dries which weakens the bond between the oil paint and the canvas. Art Spectrum Medium No. 1 contains a balanced amount of Stand Oil and turpentine for a well-balanced, permanent paint layer. Also useful to clean and lessen absorbency of pre-primed canvas panels and stretched canvasses. (Wipe on and wipe off).

Key facts:

  • A permanent artists’ painting medium.
  • Easy to apply. Simply place a small amount in a container and dip in your brush when required.
  • Rapid drying. It can dry (harden) overnight.
  • Cost effective. It is cheaper than paint.
  • Allows colour brilliance. Using this medium allows white ground to glow through.
  • Artists’ Oil Painting Medium No. 1 can also be used for:
  • Sealing acrylic grounds. When applied direct to the acrylic ground it acts as a mild sealer and helps to prevent the ‘deadening’ effect of over absorption of the oil vehicle.
  • Preparing a coloured ground. Simply add a small amount of oil paint to the medium.
  • Underpainting. Can quickly lay down an under painting by rubbing with a soft cloth or one of the larger sized brushes.


A medium fat. It is slower drying than Art Spectrum Medium No. 1, as it contains more oil, and used as the next fattest medium in the sequence of painting ‘fat over lean’. It should be mixed with the oil paint as the layers of painting develop in the fat over lean sequence. If desired Art Spectrum Medium No.1 may be gradually fattened by adding increasing amounts of Medium No.2. Art Spectrum Medium No.2 has some of the properties of a glazing medium, but it is preferable to use Art Spectrum Liquol if very thin veils of colour are desired.


The fattest medium. Art Spectrum Medium No. 3 is a thicker, more slow-drying medium than Art Spectrum Paint Medium No. 2. It is for painters who like a heavier, more viscous, medium. It is ideal for artists who paint in many layers. The artist begins with Art Spectrum Medium No. 1, then uses Medium No. 2, then finally Medium No. 3. Art Spectrum Medium No. 2 may also be thickened incrementally by adding Art Spectrum Medium No. 3 in 10 percent increments.


A quick-drying, transparent, painting and glazing medium. Art Spectrum Liquol is an alkyd medium, and is extremely popular because of its versatility and fast drying properties. In most cases paint mixed with Art Spectrum Liquol will dry in 24 hours or less. Excellent for multiple glazes, where it will give great depth and subtlety of colour. Can be painted wet on wet, or left to dry before overpainting. Mix thoroughly with oil paint on the palette before applying.


Small amounts of Art Spectrum Refined Linseed Oil added to oil paint will enhance flow and slow drying. This is particularly useful for ‘alla prima’ techniques (where the artist quickly paints wet on wet, with paint straight from the tube). Art Spectrum Refined Linseed Oil is also used in making mediums. Art Spectrum Refined Linseed Oil can also be used to clean brushes.


Heat thickened linseed oil. Use with artists’ oil colours to enhance flow. Dries to a tough, glossy film. Also used in the preparation of oil painting mediums. Has good levelling properties. Can give a smooth, enamel-like finish and has a resistance to yellowing and
is slow drying.


A very low odour alternative to the ‘traditional’ Art Spectrum Medium No.1, with similar properties and applications. The difference is that Art Spectrum Odourless Solvent is used in place of Gum Turpentine in this medium, making it ideal for those who are
sensitive to the strong turpentine fumes.


As with the Art Spectrum Reduced Odour Lean Medium, this is made with Art Spectrum Odourless Solvent rather than the traditional Gum Turpentine. Use in conjunction with Art Spectrum Lean Medium in the ‘fat over lean’ sequence. Mix paint and medium thoroughly on the palette before applying to the canvas.

Wax Medium is a mixture of Linseed Oil and Beeswax that is designed to thin paint down and dry to a translucent satin finish.


Art Spectrum Glazing Gel is quick drying and becomes liquid when mixed into paint. It is suitable for moderate impasto and glazing techniques. Dries to a soft sheen.
Art Spectrum Glazing Gel is specifically formulated for oil painting only.


Art Spectrum Clear Oil Paint is formulated as an oil paint, but without coloured pigments. With Clear Oil painting the integrity of each brush stroke is retained, which is not the case with most mediums which tend to level or smooth out brush strokes. It can, however, be considered a medium because of the effects it helps create. Clear Oil Paint can reduce colours to pale tints without the use of whites or mediums.

Tremendous depth of colour is possible by painting wet into wet or in thin glazes.
Oil Colours can be extended without loss of brilliance or structure. Opaque colours can be made transparent.

As many Art Spectrum colours are transparent, try making use of this quality by using Clear Oil Paint instead of white.


Art Spectrum Gum Turpentine is a natural material derived from distillation of sap extracted from the Pinus Massoniana tree.

Pure Gum Turpentine is a natural, double distilled solvent for oil painting. Used in most painting mediums.


Artists’ Turpentine is an alternative to Art Spectrum Pure Gum Turpentine. A mix of Gum Turpentine and White Spirit. Used in the preparation of painting mediums and as a solvent for cleaning.

Odourless Solvent is a low odour alternative to Art Spectrum Artists’ Turpentine for people sensitive to turpentine fumes.


Art Clean is a natural, biodegradable, citrus-scented cleaning solution for brushes, studio equipment and other uses. Art Spectrum Art Clean is similar to turpentine but with a more pleasant, citrus scent. It is made from a blend of natural extracts. It contains no petroleum based solvents and no harmful bleaches. Do not use on plastics.

Citrus Turpentine double distilled for artists’ use. This turpentine is made from orange zest and has an orange aroma. A pleasant smelling alternative to other turpentines.


Art Spectrum Brush and Hand Cleaner is non-toxic, non-abrasive and biodegradable, made with coconut oil and contains no harsh solvents. It cleans and restores old, stiff brushes.

A traditional gloss final varnish for oil and alkyd paintings. It is also used in making some painting mediums. Remove carefully with Gum Turpentine. Art Spectrum Damar Resin also available.


A high gloss, non-yellowing acrylic varnish. Remove carefully with a small amount of methylated spirits on a lint-free cloth.

A temporary picture varnish. A thin coat restores luminosity to dull areas to aid colour matching. Sealer for painting grounds if the surface is too porous. Must be dry before overpainting.

A satin matt varnish made from beeswax and natural resin. Can be rubbed and buffed to a sheen with a lint-free cloth. Use Art Spectrum Gum Turpentine as solvent.

Art Spectrum Artists’ Acrylic Gesso is a brilliant White ground that provides an absorbent, permanently flexible, waterproof, non-yellowing surface. Fast drying, non-toxic and can be cleaned up with water. Suitable for canvas, wooden boards and interior masonry surfaces.

Art Spectrum Studio Gesso (Low Cost) provides an economical alternative to Artists’ Acrylic Gesso because of its reduced pigment content. Fast drying, non-toxic and can be cleaned up with water. Suitable for canvas, wooden boards and interior masonry surfaces.

Art Spectrum Oil Prime is a unique oil/acrylic resin blend with the Linseed Oil content allowing artists’ oil colours to crosslink for natural adhesion. Fast drying, non-toxic and can be cleaned up with water. Suitable for canvas, wooden boards and interior masonry surfaces.