Left - Fumed Silica Gel mixed with linseed oil
Second from Left - Red Iron Oxide mixed with linseed
Second from Right - Red Iron Oxide mixed with Fumed Silica Gel
Far Right - Fumed Silica Gel dry
There are basically two ways to paint with oil paints. One is oil only, and the other is using solvents. These days many people are rejecting the strong odors of solvents such as turpentine and other varnishes. Many have developed allergies. The smells can sometimes be overpowering in a studio unless you have a good ventilation system. Because this medium is mixed only with oil, there is virtually no odor.
Fumed Silica Gel is a medium that is new to me, and after putting my mad scientist to work experimenting with it, I find it quite splendid. It is an absolutely weightless
dry powder and must be handled with great care. As you can see from the image above, just by moving my sample across the room to the window for photography, the powder shifted across the paper effortlessly. A good respirator must be used until it is suspended in the linseed oil.
The powder is made at very high temperatures and has the same properties as quartz. The medium is made by simply mixing with linseed or any other drying oil and will instantly create a gel and can be used right away. It is best to use as little as possible for your desired effect as you mix it into your colors. It has a similar feel and look to the popular mastic gels, but without the solvents and resulting stickiness.
Have any of you tried this medium? What were your results?