Archival Odourless Mediums and Solvents are based on fast drying alkyd resins which out perform ‘traditional’ mediums and are better for health. They evaporate much more slowly than turpentines so that very little vapour is generated during a painting session.
The main reason why artists develop allergic reactions to oil painting, is not because of the paint but because of the toxicity of traditional mediums. Oil paints are relatively non-hazardous in themselves.
Traditional mediums evaporate very fast releasing toxic vapors which cause health problems. Aromatic solvents like gum or mineral turpentine will affect your health with years of regular use because you cannot escape the fumes. Using toxic solvents and mediums in public shared spaces is like passive smoking. Ultimately it is best to avoid these types of solvents.
All of the Archival Mediums use low toxic odourless solvents.
Paint companies do not ‘invent’ odourless solvents: they have been around for many years and are supplied by the major oil companies. They are petrochemicals, with the toxic aromatic (smelly) fractions removed, making them much less toxic than gum turpentine, mineral turpentine, or white spirit.
Odourless solvents are much slower evaporating than turpentines, so that very little vapour is generated during a painting session, and this factor is more important than the lower toxicity itself – they do, however, evaporate over time.
Drying racks as well as work spaces still need to be ventilated and painters in lofts should not recirculate the same studio air in living and sleeping areas because a slow vapour build up could become toxic.
It is important not to use other brands of mediums with Archival Oils because they would introduce brittle layers. The flexibility of Archival Oils, when used with Archival Mediums, is such that overpainted layers can stretch to accommodate movement as the painting settles down and cures and this is why they can be used with such freedom of technique.
The Archival Mediums, are based on fast drying alkyd resins and present an array of possible techniques beyond what is possible with ‘traditional’ mediums.
Archival Mediums are easy to work with. They:
- Are flexible
- Can be used interchangeably
- Can be selected according to their consistency eg: Smooth Gel and Texture Gel for thick paint; Flow Gel for a more fluid effect with very good control for either smooth or ‘painterly’ applications (Flow Gel is also ideal for laying in, and replaces the smelly and toxic traditional method using turpentine or fast evaporating mediums); and Lean Medium, a liquid medium, for diluting Archival Oils, glazing and other thin applications.
- Can be mixed to suit an artist’s specific needs e.g. Flow Gel with a little Lean Medium added.
A general purpose, low toxicity solvent which may be used as a safe replacement to gum and mineral turpentine for thinning paint and cleaning brushes.
Is a very fluid general purpose medium for reducing paint viscosity, and can be used at all stages in a painting which does not need gels. It can also be mixed with Archival Flow Gel if a little bodying up is preferred.
A Medium for Painters who prefer slower drying.
Most artists show a strong preference for fast drying paint but there are some painters who want to slow down the process, so our range includes Classic Medium based on stand oil (modified to be flexible).
This slow drying medium is ideal for thinning paint whilst maintaining a rich, luminous finish once dry. It gives greater control for detail work and longer manipulation time for over-painting, glazing and wet-in-wet techniques. It can be used throughout a long painting process or for slow glazing on top of fast underpainting but fast drying mediums should never be used over the top of Classic Medium. The tension between the paint layers caused by the different drying speeds may be strong enough to crack even Archival.