Recipes

A collection of practical recipes to help you use raw materials. Unless otherwise indicated, all proportions given are in volume.

1

bullet Gelatin solution

PRESENTATION 

This gelatin solution is used as a clear and transparent protective layer that dissolves easily and prepares quickly. It can also be used on paper to prepare it for oil painting or oil stick.

Imported gelatin, sold as thin 3 x 9 sheets packages, are a great quality product that can be stored easily. You can also use powdered gelatin which is cheaper and works just as well for this recipe.

Proportions :

Gelatin
(Sheets or powder)
6
Water 16 oz
(470ml)

procedure :

Soak the sheets in water for 15 minutes, or until they start swelling. gently heat using a double boiler until completely dissolved.

 

HOW TO USE IT ? 

On an untreated massonite panel, paper sheet or any other surface that you whish to use, brush the gelatin solution on both sizes, and let dry overnight. If you are preparing a panel, also include the side when brushing the gelatin solution.

For a second coat, reheat de solution and add 2 tablespoons of chalk for a nice, smooth surface. Apply with a flat brush and let dry. 

 

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2

 rabbit skin glue

PRESENTATION 

Animal skin glue produces a very strong glue solution that can be used for sizing and stretching canvas or as a quick drying paint (distemper) when mixed with dry pigments.

Proportions :

Rabbit skin glue 1
Water 10

procedure :

Animal skin glue (rabbit, cow, parchment) is usually sold in sheets or powder. Soak the glue in water for 30 minutes (bigger chunks of glue require a whole night soaking before dissolving). Heat in a double boiler while stirring until completely dissolved.

 

HOW TO USE IT ? 

Keep the solution warm enough to maintain the homogenous solution, but do no cook directly over fire or boil this solution as it would become unusable. Brush the solution on a stretched canvas, or a massonite panel that was previously brushed with alcohol. Let the size dry completely before applying the gesso.


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3

 traditional chalk gesso for panels

PRESENTATION 

To obtain a perfect white soft and brilliant surface, no formula is better than the traditional rabbit skin glue and chalk gesso. It is ideal for egg tempera and meticulous renderings in oils.

Proportions :

Titanium white or zinc
(dry pigments)

1
Calcium carbonate
(3 um fine grade)
1
Rabbit skin glue
(recipe #2)
1
Water  -> (Add to obtain the desired consistency)

procedure :

Mix all dry pigments together in an enamelled saucepan, then slowing incorporate the warm glue solution while stirring to eliminate bubbles and aggregates. Filter the gesso through a cheesecloth, and let sit for 30 minutes before using.

OPTIONNAL :Brush the panel with alcohol and let dry.


HOW TO USE IT ? 

Apply the warm gesso in a single direction without retouching the surface. Apply the next coats in opposite direction (alternating). You can put as many as 5 very thin coats to obtain a perfectly even and smooth surface. To avoid cracking, we recommend that you wait at least 24 hours between coats and 2 days before the final sanding (with # 220 sand paper or finer).

 

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4

 gum Arabic solution : Watercolor / Gouache

PRESENTATION 

Water-soluble gums are a major ingredient in the fabrication of paint. They are easy to use, non-toxic and quick drying. Gum Arabic is most commonly used.

Proportions :

Gum Arabic in powder form 1
Water 1-2
white vinegar
(to preserve the solution)

procedure :

In a double-boiler, gently heat the water and add the Gum Arabic while stirring. Natural gum in powder form takes less time to dissolve than gum sold in chunks. Once the solution cools down, cover and let sit until the solution becomes clear. Filter through a cheesecloth into a clean container. Keep refrigerated to prevent rotting. You can substitute 25% of the water with white vinegar to help preservation but you need to add it after the solution has cooled. Never heat directly or the solution will burn.

Good idea: recycle a glass jar preferably with a metal top. That way, you will be able to use that container to prepare and store your solution.

 

HOW TO USE IT ? 

Add a few drops of Aqua-Dispersions into the solution to instantly obtain watercolor. You can also mix dry pigments with the gum-water solution until you get a thick paste. To make the watercolor transparent, dilute the thick paste watercolor with water.

To prepare gouache, you can use a bigger proportion of dry pigments with the gum water solution or add china clay, talc or calcium carbonate to opacify the paint.

 

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5

 Simple painting medium: Stand oil, dammar and turpentine

PRESENTATION 

This recipe produces the basic medium for oil painting, which is as easy to make as to use.

We use Stand oil in this medium because it produces a tougher, more flexible paint film than raw linseed oil and has less a tendency to yellow over time. Concentrated dammar varnish will bring lustre and transparency to the medium. The first layers of paint should contain more turpentine than oil, and gradually as the work progresses, the recipe of the medium should substitute part of the turpentine by stand oil and dammar, to follow the rule commonly known as fat over lean.

Proportions :

Stand Oil
(polymerised linseed oil)
1
Concentrated dammar vanish
1
Turpentine 1

procedure :

Mix all ingredients at room temperature in a clean glass jar and stir until the medium is smooth and homogenous.


HOW TO USE IT ? 

Mix the desired amount of medium on the palette directly with your Oil paints while painting or even as a varnish applied to unify the paint layer. Adding turpentine will allow you to modify the viscosity of the medium. The drying time of this medium -approximately 3 days in thin coats- can be reduced by adding cobalt zirconium dryer (use with caution).

 

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6

 Beeswax paste

PRESENTATION 

To thicken the normal consistency of oil paint, beeswax paste does the trick.

Proportions :

beeswax
(natural or bleached)

1
Turpentine 1-2

procedure :

First, melt the beeswax in a double-boiler. Remove from heat and add the turpentine slowly while stirring. If the wax solidifies when you add the turpentine, heat it lightly while mixing. A good trick to avoid this problem is to keep the turpentine slightly warmer than room temperature.
Remove from heat and stir approximately 10 minutes and pour into a clean glass container. The wax mixture will eventually cool down to solidify as a paste. Do not overheat the turpentine at anytime nor expose it to a direct flame.

 

HOW TO USE IT ? 

This medium is very versatile and can be used for: cold encaustic painting, to modify the consistency of oil paint, to make emulsion paints or even as a matte final picture varnish.


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7

 Painting medium: wax, resin and oil

PRESENTATION 

This medium to mixes perfectly with oil paint to achieve a buttery consistency and helps will help drying time, especially in the case of impastos.

Proportions :

beeswax
(natural or bleached)

4
concentrated dammar vanish
1
Stand Oil
(polymerised linseed oil)
1
Turpentine 4-8

procedure :

First, melt the wax alone using a double boiler. Remove from heat and gradually add the dammar varnish stand oil and turpentine while stirring. If the wax solidifies when you add the turpentine, carefully heat the medium lightly while mixing until you obtain a liquid consistency. NOTE: Keeping all ingredients lightly warmer that room temperature will generally allow you to avoid the problem of solidification. Once everything is mixed, remove from heat and stir for a minimum of 10 minutes. While cooling this medium will thicken slightly to a "doughy" consistency. Do not overheat turpentine or expose it to a direct flame as it may catch fire.
For the cold encaustic technique, the turpentine can be reduced to 4 parts (1/3 of the original recipe) or totally omitted to obtain a solid medium (in this case you might need to use heat to paint with this medium).

 

HOW TO USE IT ? 

Mix this medium on the palette directly with Oil paints as a medium for the final coats of a painting you can also use it as a varnish. If you do, you may only varnish over the latter with a varnish containing wax. For encaustic, mix either oil paints in tubes or dry pigments and work on rigid panels. This medium congeals almost immediately and dries in about one hour.

 

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8

 Glazing medium: Stand oil and dammar varnish

PRESENTATION 

This glazing medium is a more oily variation of the simple painting medium. Given its higher oil content, it is recommended to add a few drops of cobalt/zirconium dryer to facilitate drying.

Proportions :

Concentrated dammar varnish
2
Stand Oil
(polymerised linseed oil)
2
Turpentine 1

procedure :

In a clean glass bottle, combine ingredients at room temperature. Stir sufficiently to ensure all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Sun thicken linseed oil can replace stand oil (though more expensive). The amount of turpentine can vary according to how thick you want your glazing medium to be.


HOW TO USE IT ? 

This glazing medium can also be used as a varnish in order to unify the lustre of a painting without having to wait several months to apply a final varnish.

 

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9

 Glazing medium: Venice turpentine and Oil

PRESENTATION 

Balsam and notably Venice turpentine have unique lustre as well as honey-like consistencies. They have been used in the past to isolate incompatible pigments (such as lead white and Vermillion). Today, these pigments don't have compatibility issues but we are still using natural balsams for their undeniable visual qualities.

Proportions :

Concentrated dammar varnish
4
Stand Oil
(polymerised linseed oil)
2
Venice turpentine 1
Turpentine -

procedure :

Combine all ingredients at room temperature in a clean glass container by agitating vigorously for 5-10 minutes. Adjust the viscosity of the medium with gum turpentine. This oil painting glazing medium is very thick, rapidly becomes sticky, preventing the formation of wings, but takes several days to dry completely.
You can replace the stand oil with sun thickened linseed oil to accelerate the drying time somewhat, you can also use a drying agent: cobalt/zirconium dryer.

 

HOW TO USE IT ? 

Mix this medium on the palette directly with oil color in tubes or Dry pigments. To apply this medium with a rag or fingers, use the undiluted version, without turpentine. The diluted solution is generally preferred when painting or to be used a retouch varnish.

 

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10

 Glazing mediums: Canadian balsam and oil

PRESENTATION 

Canadian balsam increases the gloss of oil paints and slows down drying time, allowing for a slow and meticulous technique.

Proportions :

Canadian balsam
1
Stand Oil
(polymerised linseed oil)
1
Turpentine -

procedure :

Combine ingredients in a glass container, and adjust the viscosity with gum turpentine. This glazing medium produces a strong paint film with incomparable lustre while barely yellowing in time. In addition, its pleasant aroma of fir tree fills the room!

You can replace the stand oil with sun thickened linseed oil to accelerate the drying time somewhat, you can also use a drying agent: cobalt/zirconium dryer.

 

HOW TO USE IT ? 

Mix this medium on the palette directly with oil color in tubes or Dry pigments. To apply this medium with a rag or fingers, use the undiluted version, without turpentine. The diluted solution is generally preferred when painting or to be used a retouch varnish.

 

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11

 Concentrated dammar varnish (Gloss varnish)

PRESENTATION 

Almost universally used, Dammar resin which is sold in pale yellow pieces has several uses: as an ingredient inside other painting mediums, as a glazing medium or as a final varnish.

Proportions :

Dammar resin in crystals
1
Turpentine 1

procedure :

Place the pieces of resin and the turpentine in a well closed bottle. Stir and turn every day until the resin is dissolved, which could take several days. Exposing the bottle to the sun accelerates the process. This solution has a thick consistency of honey. If some pieces of the dammar resin contain dirt or other impurities, pour the solution through a cheesecloth or decant in a clean bottle.

 

HOW TO USE IT ? 

For use as a final varnish over an oil painting, dilute the solution with an equal quantity of turpentine. For varnishing egg tempera, dilute with 4 times the amount of gum turpentine. The basic consistency of the concentrated dammar varnish is ideal for emulsification or allied with other ingredients to make glazing or painting mediums. This solution of Dammar approximately dries in an hour.

 

 
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12

 dammar and beeswax (matte varnish)

PRESENTATION 

Beeswax combines well with the dammar resin to create a matte finish that resists weathering. It can also easily be removed for cleaning or restoration (if the oil paint underneath has been allowed to dry properly for at least 12months).

Proportions :

Concentrated dammar varnish 4
beeswax
(natural or bleached)

1
Turpentine 2

procedure :

First, melt the beeswax and add the remaining ingredients. To make sure everything is properly mixed, you might have to lightly heat the mixture over an electric hotplate or double-boiler until the wax melts into the solution. In a glass bottle or jar, slowly pour the hot solution to prevent the shattering of the glass container.

 

HOW TO USE IT ? 

This paste has many uses and can be directly applied with a rag to varnish any kind of painting. To use this recipe as a medium, mix directly on the palette with tube paint or dry pigments.

To use as a final picture varnish, we recommend you thin this recipe by adding more gum turpentine, making it more liquid and easier for brushing.

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