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Oil Paint Mediums 
Oil painting is a wonderful medium all on its own, but there are modifiers that you can add to the oil paint that can change its behavior.

Mediums are mixed with oil paint both to modify the way the paint handles straight from the tube (for example, make it thinner or lengthen the drying time) and to alter the character of the paint from what you get straight from a paint tube (for example, make it transparent or opaque, gloss or matt).   The most important thing to understand about painting mediums, are the characteristics, that each component of a medium possesses, so that the artist can create a desired paint film. 

Ideal mediums are colorless, permanent, flexible, and do not influence the color of a pigment.

Before using any oil painting medium, ensure that you read all warning labels and always work in a well ventilated area. Use gloves to protect your skin is recommended.

Remember that when an oil paint feels dry to the touch, it will still be drying under the surface for some time, which is why the principle of painting fat over lean is so important in oil painting.

 

Varnishes
Varnish is more than simply a layer to protect your painting from pollution in the atmosphere and abrasion. It will also bring out the colors to the brilliance they had when you applied them.

Varnish is a final layer applied to a painting after it is finished and completely dry. It’s used on paintings that are is not going to be framed under glass to protect them from dirt, dust, and pollution in the environment. Varnish also homogenizes (evens out) the final appearance of a painting, making it all equally glossy or matt.

It may be applied either with a brush or out of a spray can. On drying, Gloss varnishes are completely clear, but a matt (also called satin) varnish leaves a slight frosted-glass appearance, so you might loose finer detail in a painting.

Ideally a varnish should  be a removable one so that it can be removed easily and replaced at some future date if it has discolored.

Caution: Using a medium as a final varnish is not recommended because if this layer is removed at some future date clean the painting, the painting itself may get damaged.

 

 
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