Solvents for oil painting?

What is a solvent actually for? I heard that I can use alcohol as a solvent for my oil paints. Is it true? Can I use it to clean brushes also?

4 Answers

  • M T
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Alcohol is not recommended for oil painting. It can be harsh and act like paint remover. If you mix your paint on a sheet of glass (a glass palette) after you have scraped off all of the paint and cleaned the surface with a paper towel and solvent the remaining film residue is easily cleaned off using another paper towel dipped in rubbing alcohol. This is the only way to use alcohol with oil paints if you are going to use it at all.

    A quality solvent is used to thin mediums and an adequate solvent is often used when cleaning brushes. During the beginning of a painting some techniques include doing a rough blocking in of shapes and the simplified masses. This layer is thinned with quality solvent (turpentine or mineral spirits). As the painting progresses, subsequent layers use less solvent and increase in oil content.

    Generally, it is not advisable to think of using straight solvent as a means to thin oil paint. That is done primarily in a stage as suggested above but it is not a wise practice to follow throughout the painting process. If your paint requires thinning there are other ways to deal with this such as using a medium whereby a solvent is only one component in a solution that is harmonious to the paint itself. The misuse of solvent will break down the paint and could cause an assortment of problems. There is a critical ratio of oil binder to pigment that is compromised using too much solvent. It can lead to a weakened paint film.

    I mentioned quality and adequate solvents. The are different grades of solvent sold in art stores. Some are inferior with contaminants and their refining is not suitable for direct mixing with paint. These should only be used to clean brushes. Acquire a high-grade solvent for mixing up mediums and thinning your paint.

    Between turpentine and mineral spirits, turpentine will evaporate leaving the least residue. Turpentine will also remove dried paint and resins when used to clean brushes. Mineral spirits removes oil paint that has not dried. There is also something called Oil of Spike, aka Spike Oil, aka Lavender Oil (it is made from the lavender plant) which is actually a very high grade solvent and doesn't resemble oil at all. This is primarily to be used when mixing up your own mediums. It is too good and would be wasteful to use as a cleaner. Spike oil is superior in that it promotes oxidation and does not simply evaporate like other solvents. Oil paint dries (cures) through oxidation and not through evaporation so this is beneficial.

    Turpenoid is an inferior product for mixing directly with paint. It should only be used for cleaning. This applies to the eco-friendly orange solvents as well. There are other superior odorless mineral spirits suitable for direct mixing with paint if an odorless solvent is desirable.

    Windsor & Newton English Distilled Turpentine is a very good product widely available:

    Also Natural Pigments offers turps and odorless mineral spirits:

    Gum Turpentine

    Odorless Mineral Spirits

    Spike Oil

  • 4 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    Solvents for oil painting?

    What is a solvent actually for? I heard that I can use alcohol as a solvent for my oil paints. Is it true? Can I use it to clean brushes also?

    Source(s): solvents oil painting:
  • 5 years ago

    I don't think alcohol will help. If you want to know the perfect solvent for oil painting you got to visit the site that I am providing which will guide you towards the answer you are seeking for. I hope you like it. I personally think turpentine help.

  • 4 years ago

    what solvent if use on skin will give 3rd degree burns

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