Oil Painting mediums

The use of mediums in the practice of oil painting is essential to many techniques but, unfortunately, they are often overlooked or misunderstood. With the disintegration of the traditional fine-arts education and the rejection of traditional techniques, the practice of oil painting is now generally more improvisational than scientific.

Kama Pigments is proud to participate in the revival of traditional techniques in presenting our own line of oil painting mediums. This range of products is strengthened by traditional knowledge and adapted to the needs of 21st century artists.

What is a Painting Medium ?

fleche A painting medium is a solution consisting of various ingredients which has many desirable properties such as: 

fleche Below we describe the properties of each painting medium in detail. In general, a painting medium is composed of three elements:

Take for example the Kama Pigments Simple Painting Medium, which has the merit of being, as you might have guessed, pretty simple.
The solvent, rectified gum turpentine is used to dissolve the crystals of dammar resin and to dilute the polymerized linseed oil, which acts as the binder. These three ingredients (and some other additives, which will remain secret) produce an amber solution with a honey-like consistency that will delight even the most jaded of painters with its qualities.

Firstly, this medium will increase paint adhesion to the support (be it canvas or panel) and reduce unintentional dripping. What makes this medium one of our most popular medium is that you can work on the layer of paint where ever it has been used relatively quicky, even though it is still in the process of drying completely. (this of course, is possible only on a relatively thin layer of paint) You can work on the layer as soon as it is no longer sticky.

Secondly, this painting medium will allow the painter to use much less paint (anyone care for saving money?) by taking advantage of the high tinting power of the brilliant color of the extra-fine oil paint from Kama Pigments’ Extra-Fine Oils. Stand Oil has the wonderful property of yellowing much less than raw linseed oil. This in addition to being more flexible (also reducing the risk of cracking).

Finally, the main reason why most artists use a painting medium is to control the drying time of their paints. Kama Pigments’ Simple Painting Medium normally dries in 24 to 36 hours, depending on atmospheric conditions such as humidity, ventilation, the thickness of the paint layers and the pigments present.

KAMA's Painting Mediums explained

Below you will find a description of the various Kama Pigments painting mediums with overviews of their properties. Although this will allow you to get acquainted with our products, we encourage you to try a few different mediums to find one that suits you best.


  canadian balsam glazing medium

Glazing medium Canadian Balsalm

ingredients :

This medium is perfect for applying glazes on a painting that is already well underway. This Glazing medium becomes completely transparent and gives a glossy finish that is unprecedented in paint alone. Moreover, the sweet scent of evergreen will fill your workshop.

It becomes sticky and less than an hour, but takes 48-72 hours to dry completely.


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  rembrandt medium

Rembrandt Medium

ingredients :

The name of this medium refers to the art of Rembrandt which was characterized by high impastos. Rather than being an authentic replica of the painting medium used by the Dutch master our medium aims at providing the same type of feel and paiting effects without the disavantages of the original recipe.
(for those who are curious, the original recipe of this painting medium was a mixture of sticky copal resin, boiled oils and lead salts. The latter made the medium very toxic and is suspedcted to be directly responsible for the cracking and blackening of his works).

Rembrandt Medium is primarily used to obtain smooth impastos that will harden throughout rather than remaining soft under the surface dryed skin of paint. It can be used in combination with other oil painting mediums such as Kama Pigments’ Simple Painting Medium. It can take anywhere from 5 to 10 days to dry completely.


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  beeswax paste

Beeswax paste

ingredients :

This wax paste has many uses. In particular, it may be used to thicken oil paint and to impart a more uniform consistency (especially when making oil paints from dry pigments). It can also be used as a thickening agent in combination with another painting medium.

Moreover, the technique of cold encaustic is practiced using a base of wax and turpentine, as found in this Beeswax paste.


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  alkyd medium

Alkyd Medium

ingredients :

This medium is made from a synthetic resin know as alkyd, it is mainly used because it accepts dryers well and therefore makes it possible to create a medium that speeds up the drying of oil paint. Its consistency is very thin and one should be careful not to liquify it's oil paints with this medium as it may cause wrinkles. Another variation, alkyd gel medium, offers a thicker consistency.

This oil painting medium dries in about 24 hours.


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  alkyd gel medium

Gel Alkyde

ingredients :

This product is very similar to the Alkyd Medium, but it has a thicker consistency that will blend well with oil paints. Our two alkyd painting mediums are formulated without turpentine. It dries with a nice sheen, though it is less brilliant than dammar based mediums. Our Alkyd Gel Medium dries in about 24 hours, but in less than 60 minutes it is dry enough to work on and it may be thinned with a little Izosol to dry faster still.



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  alkyd butter

alkyd butter

ingredients :

Alkyd butter, which is also an alkyd-based medium, thickens the consistency of oil paint and allows it to dry much more quickly. It is particularly useful for painting thick impastos, where it helps to assure that the paint dries thoroughly.

Don't use more than 50% of this medium to the volume of oil paint as it may cause wrinkles.



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