Monday, June 23, 2008

Canada Balsam Medium Recipe

My order from Wood Finishing Enterprises arrived today. Although the focus is, obviously, wood finishes (particularly ingredients for musical instrument varnishes, it seems), it's a terrific resource for some expensive and hard-to-find oil painting materials. They carry Canada balsam at a reasonable price, or at least a price that I can almost justify after I figure how much I use to make a medium and then how much of the medium I use in one of my normally not very big paintings: $27 for 4 oz.

Here's the medium recipe: 1 part Canada balsam, 1-4 parts stand oil, 1-4 parts oil of spike. Stir the stand oil into the balsam (warm it gently if necessary) and then add the spike. I normally make up only a couple of ounces at a time in a small jar, and use it sparingly as a couch or added by drops to the paint nuts on the palette. It has a wonderful aroma, though too much spike will give me a monster headache. This is the one to use for subtly fused edges and a bit of the "jewel-like" effect.

1 comment:

Art by Andrew Daniel said...

Thank you for posting this recipe. I first came across the use of Canada Balsam in oil medium in this painting video by Marc Dalessio. I'm still trying to get a good sense of why people might prefer it over Damar Varnish. I like your description of it providing a jewel like effect.

Here is a link to Dalessio's video in case anyone else is trying to figure out the medium as well....

http://www.marcdalessio.com/minute-painting-videos/

Thanks again!