Breathing Easier

blooking up copy

Portrait of R         12″x12″ Oil on Canvas

For those of you working in traditional oil paint and solvents, this experiment might be of interest to you.  For this painting I used the least toxic solvent and medium  I know of: Weber’s Turpenoid Natural and Liquiglaze Natural. They work!  The upside is breathing a lot easier. The downside is a gloppy and heavier feel to the paint.  My brushstrokes are visible, which for this painting, is just fine. The Liquiglaze does speed drying time and does respond as other glaze mediums but, not quite as well (in my opinion), if one is interested in a smoother and multi layered glaze.  I have not mixed these “natural’ products with their more toxic cousins.  And I probably won’t take my experimenting that far. Right now, I am reserving the “naturals” for projects that seem simpatico with their effects and what I’m trying to achieve.  Perhaps with more practice I will be able to do myself and the planet a favor and use the “naturals” exclusively.  BTW, Turpenoid Natural is fantastic for cleaning and conditioning brushes!

Other projects however, do demand Gamsol or Turpenoid and galkyd glaze mediums.  I have however, just purchased a tube of Gamblin’s solvent-free gel.  I’ll let you know how that works for me  when I give it a go.

Does anyone  have any experience or opinions on the efficacy of the “natural” less toxic products?

Comments on: "Breathing Easier" (78)

  1. Make Something Mondays said:

    Absolutely beautiful! I love the way the colors blends together.

  2. She looks so happy…
    …so I just had to smile back at her 🙂

  3. This young lady is a real charmer and so is your painting!

  4. I never used oils after my oh-so-brief foray in undergrad days for the combined fear of fumes and expense. Thankfully, acrylics and other water-based media are so much more reliable and flexible and durable than they once were that I don’t hesitate to use those when I do get around to my rare bouts of painting. But since I’m nowhere near to your level of skill, giving up oils was an easy choice. I *don’t*, unfortunately, know of good non-toxic alternatives.

    I *do* know what I like, though, and this human-ray-of-sunshine portrait is right up there on the list! 🙂


    • Thank you so much, Kathryn. Acrylics have lots of pluses. I sometimes use them as an underpainting before I layer on the oils. And, sometimes simply enjoy the acrylic experience. I am however, hooked on the butter consistency of oil paint though they are not for everyone and that’s just fine. Thanks always for your thoughtful and supportive comments:)

  5. You definitely made these products work for this particular painting! It’s lovely in every respect–& so expressive. . Thanks for sharing your experiments. I’ll be interested to see what else you come up with. I have purchased a bottle of walnut oil to be used as a medium but haven’t worked much with it.

  6. poppytump said:

    This young lady has real sparkling innocence about her Elena !
    A gorgeous portrait .

  7. A perfect portrait. Excellent work. Congratulations, dear Elena!
    Thank you for sharing with us both painting and very useful information.
    Have a wonderful day and happiness! Big hugs, Stefania ❤ 🙂

  8. Such a heartwarming painting perfectly done,Excellent work!

  9. mothcaterpillar said:

    I’m breathing easier just by looking at her brightness, it is so shiny, hopeful, innocent and absolutely right! 🙂

  10. She looks just so happy and content, what a beautiful portrait! I haven’t used oils since a painting tutor in my first year of college told me my portrait was very primitive. The less toxic the better though. 🙂

  11. Your subject just glows with beauty!
    I mostly use a natural citrus thinner (Eco House) but I think it’s still somewhat toxic! I appreciate you posting this information and your experiences.

  12. This is beautiful
    love you

  13. Oh that little smile in her eyes! Just keep them coming Elena!

  14. A wonderful portrait Elena. Such depth on all levels!

  15. She’s beautiful, Elena, I love her smiling expression. Do you paint according to real faces you see or does a person like this simply come to your mind? 🙂

  16. Such a lovely fresh glow in this portrait Elena! Good luck with the less toxic solvent search!

  17. I don’t have any experience of the product or oil painting, but what I can say is that I LOVE your result! The portrait is glowing!

  18. She is just glowing Elena! Those solvents work beautifully. I do paint in oil but rarely use thinners. I think I need to try these out!

  19. No experience or opinions, but I love the result.

  20. I love the smiling expression on her face. You always truly bring out the life in your paintings.

  21. Gorgeous, wow! Like many others here, I have no clue about oils. But this result is completely amazing and if you can breathe better, terrific! I love that happy, upturned face.

  22. Lovely, optimistic image, Elena! Really interesting to read about your techniques – I’ve so rarely used oils that I didn’t give any thought to toxicity.

  23. She’s breathtaking Elena !!
    Because of the solvents the only oil paints I can use are water based ( eww) So I’m of no help to you. Good luck tho’.

    • I’ve never tried the water based oils. I take it that you are not so pleased with them. Love to know how they differ from traditional oils. Thanks so much, Susan!

  24. Love this painting, Elena. Sorry, but I have no experience whatsoever with oil paints. 😦

  25. Magnificent! again.

  26. I don’t know anything about solvents, but I love the fresh fragrance of your paintings, in sweet and stormy blend.

  27. I love this, Elena! You captured the joy in her eyes so amazingly well. Your ability to translate emotion on canvas is quite powerful and convincing.

  28. no i am clueless but i LOVE the image!

  29. Wonderful painting! Thanks for sharing,the tips! 🙂

  30. claudialasetzki said:

    Many thanks for the tips! Love it!

  31. kocham twoje obrazy są pełne życia

  32. Well I’m totally clueless on any of what you just said…nor can offer anything other than I love her and the title is perfect!

  33. Lovely fresh expression! I can´t help you with the “natural” products though. I can only say that I use homemade soap to clean the brushes and it´s the best result I´ve found, to do so, by now. Will love to know more details and answers about you question. By the way congratulations for your new site!

  34. I haven’t painted in oil for a good while but I’ll be sure to take your advice next time I do. Love the painting btw! It’s very happy.

  35. No, but I love that capture.

  36. It’s a gorgeous painting Elena.
    As you might know, the Turpentine came from Pine Tree.
    They are not only works as a solvent, they can burn as a fuel =
    on the last world war, under the oil embargo, Japan had no petrol,
    so that, Japanese Zero-fighter was flying on the turpentine, and
    the people in the country side was busy extracting Turpentine by
    heating the pine log.

  37. This is a lovely painting Elena – she’s a bright light in a world of great possibilities. I have not painted with oils yet, so your technique and materials sound very interesting and (for me) intimidating.

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