Tuesday, October 22, 2013

143 Tip for using Galkyd

I love using the mediums made by Gamblin Colors. I use G-gel, Neo Megilp (a Maroger medium substitute), as well as all the varieties of Galkyd. The non-leveling aspect of the alkyd makes my thick paint mediums possible. However I used to throw away more medium than ended up on my paintings because inevitably the caps would crack and the plastic stoppers inside the caps failed to adequately seal the bottles. Within a short amount of time after the caps cracked the mediums would solidify in the bottles.

The best solution I've found is to throw the original caps away and seal the bottles with rubber stoppers of the kind used in chemical labs. I found an assortment from Amazon that sealed all the various sized bottles in my studio (with stoppers to spare). It has been over a month since I've been using the stoppers and none of my bottles have gone bad. I'm positive that one of my Galkyd bottles that is 3/4 empty would have been dry in the bottle by now without the stopper.

The only thing worse than buying expensive mediums is throwing out mediums that have dried in the bottles. I hope this will work for you as well as it did for me.

Please note that I have since developed a superior method of preservation using vacuum sealing. Read here. Rubber stoppers still work with larger bottles that are too big for the vacuum seal.

Brad Teare

Brad Teare October 2013


  1. Now all that's needed is to create these stoppers with a way to remove the air in the bottles and create a vacuum. Then the mediums would last forever.

    1. That is true. But the bottle of Galkyd I have is quite old (meaning the amount of solvent is probably low which contributes to drying) yet it still shows no sign of drying. I could periodically add a bit of gamsol, which is a hassle. I'm guessing the stopper ends solvent evaporation. I will have to look into some vacuum making devise. I love lab gear as you can tell :)

    2. Dave- I added a link to a vacuum pump on the blog entry above. But I don't know how to use it. Any ideas? Could be a great addition to the studio :)

    3. I was wondering if a wine bottle hand vacuum pump would work? Not sure if the opening is the same size? That would take the air out as well as provide a rubber seal. I'll see if I can find mine and try it out.

      You know, I have wasted so much money on Galkyd Light and Galkyd for the same problems. The smallest amount of air causes it to start to harden. Yes, I too added OMS per Gamblin to try and keep it fluid.

      I found this on the web. I bet it would work well. The key in keeping Gamblin viscous and fluid is keeping air out, and finding a way to vacuum seal is probably the key.


    4. Excellent idea! I will definitely check this out. The question is would it fit the three sizes of Gamblin's bottles?

    5. You know, I bet we could get an olive oil or basalmic vinegrette bottle that has the same cork size opening as a wine bottle and use the wine vacuum. or maybe like an old Chianti bottle with the wine vacuum sealer. Might make you look like you have the Secret of the Masters if you kept your Galkyd or other mediums in those wicker covered Chianti bottles!


      (and it might actually keep the Galkyd free from air with the vacuum wine seal!)

      I might have to try that myself!

      Seriously, I will see if I can't try this out. There are lots of many smaller wine bottles (such as aperitif bottles) that would probably be perfect size to hold some Galkyd. Put a rubber wine vacuum seal/stopper with it...makes you wonder!

    6. That is a seriously fantastic idea! It might save hundreds of dollars in future medium costs! It might fit one of the sizes of Gamblin bottles anyway and if not then search for the perfect fit with other bottles. Keep me apprised!

    7. I had a small can of yellow paint dry in the jar and wished I could have saved it. Does anyone know if adding water to the can would have a negative effect? It seems the water would keep the oxygen away from the surface and it could slow the drying down. It is a plastic jar so no chance of oxidation of the jar.

      Loading the paint into mason jars and vacuum sealing the cans might be a possibility, too.

    8. Hey Brad. Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your well-wishes. Those two paintings came out well that I donated and they were really very well received. They are a little syrupy for my tastes. But they do have some pretty good qualities in terms of design and composition and such.

      I'm pausing between my first major chapter of two years in my art renewal/quest and the start of my next.

      I want to get more to more serious works, but am just trying to let my brain germinate ideas about how to move forward. I'm at a pivotal point: Do I go on just making "eh" and "ok" works, or do I try to dig deeper and go down the harder path of artistic development.

      I could easily paint teacups and orange slices and other "daily painting" style works. But they are just potato chips. SO I'm leaning towards the more respectable path.

      Anyways, I've been out here lurking on your site. I check it just about everyday and follow your progress. I'd love to see your works in person one day...especially that ultra large painting you just did.

      Keep up the writing on the blog, keep up the painting and pursuit of the creation of art.

      God bless. Until next time.

    9. A friend of mine who is an abstract painter has been adding water to his cans of paint for years, apparently with no negative effect.

      Painter Mark Carder stores his paints in mason jars. He has a complicated recipe for a slow drying medium that he mixes with his paints. He claims the paint stays fresh for up to a year. (www.markcarder.com and www.drawmixpaint.com) Check his video "How to thin down oil paint with medium" also the supply list for his formula.

      Three months ago, I started a new experiment in my attempt to always have fresh paint on my palette. It involves the combination of three elements:

      1 - A sealed palette container. (Masterson 12 x 16)
      2 - A glass palette.
      3 - Clove oil.

      To each color on the palette I add a little bit of stand oil and two drops of clove oil. After three months my paints are still fresh. Also, it keeps my painting surface open for at least a week. I prefer to start and finish my paintings wet in wet.

    10. Great ideas, Richard! I will definitely try adding water to my plastic jars. I have used clove oil and it works great but would be a problem the way I paint now. It would take years for the paint to dry I'm afraid.

      I tried the wine vacuum stopper and it worked great on a 16 oz. Gamblin Galkyd bottle. It actually is very cool!

    11. https://www.jacksonsart.com/gamblin-galkyd-mediums

      From that link:
      Maintenance of Alkyd Resin Mediums

      Gamblin painting mediums (Galkyd, Galkyd Lite, Galkyd Slow Dry, Galkyd Gel & Neo Megilp) are made with alkyd resin- a highly polymerized soy oil, and Gamsol- a mild, slow-evaporating odorless mineral spirit. Alkyd resin dries by solvent evaporation, so the introduction of any air space into a newly opened bottle (or other container used for decanting) allows for solvent evaporation and drying- even with the cap tightly secured.

      If your painting medium has thickened but is still fluid, add in a small amount of Gamsol and shake thoroughly. Continue adding more Gamsol and shaking until the medium is close to its original consistency. If a fluid alkyd painting medium has thickened to a gelled consistency, it will no longer help to add solvent. We recommend replacing it with a fresh bottle.

      There are several things you can do to help maintain alkyd resin mediums once the factory seal is removed:

      1. Gamblin bottle caps come with a paper liner- make sure this insert remains in the cap to ensure an airtight fit once the foil seal is removed from a new bottle.

      2. Add a little Gamsol back in immediately after the first use and shake it well. Thereafter, add a small amount of Gamsol into the bottle whenever necessary to offset solvent evaporation and maintain the desired thickness of the medium.

      3. When using Gamblin painting mediums, we recommend decanting only what you need for one or two painting sessions. If a larger size bottle of painting medium is drying out before you can use all of it, consider purchasing a smaller size the next time around.

      4. Finally, if you know you will not be using an opened bottle of painting medium for several days or weeks, add a little more Gamsol than usual, securely tighten the cap and shake vigorously.

      Store all oil painting mediums in daylight to maintain their lighter colour. Dark storage will result in an oil medium becoming darker in colour.

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  2. Hey. What size stopper did you buy for the Gamblin products? I would like to avoid buying sizes I don't need.

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