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Sun Thickened Walnut Oil – Ark and Manna – Samuel Shelton

Samuel Shelton writes: I have had a little time to play around with the new Sun Thickened Walnut Oil from The Art Treehouse, and wanted to do a short write up on it and the use of Thickened Walnut Oil in my most recent painting.

This painting was done in a direct method over the course of a few days. After transferring the drawing to a neutral reddish ground I applied the gold leaf. Next I did the background to help see more accurately the colors of the skin as they were applied and then finished out the rest of the painting. The reddish toned ground helped to give a unified warmth to the overall painting as much of the ground is visible through translucent color, especially in the background. The colors used in the painting were TreeHouse White (long and fluid), Yellow Ocher, Venice Red, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, Ultramarine Blue and Bone (Ivory) Black.

In painting this I found that from now on I will likely have a green mixture of Yellow Ocher and black on my pallet at all times. This is one of the most useful colors in skin I have tried. This mixed with Burnt Sienna is a great starting point for shadows and the green mixed with more Yellow Ocher or Venice Red and white will give the majority of your flesh colors.

As far as mediums I used a combination of Thickened Walnut Oil, Water-Washed Walnut Oil and Impasto Medium. Thickened Walnut Oil is an animal all its own. If you are used to using solvents to make paint thin and flow then Thickened Walnut Oil is the opposite, it makes paint thick and sticky. Some benefits of adding Thickened Walnut Oil directly to your paint nugget (a little goes a long way): It will make paint level more, dry quicker, dry glossier and create a strong paint film.

Some benefits of mixing Thickened Walnut Oil with Spike 50/50 or even more spike to oil: All around medium but it sets up faster and has a bit of drag to it. Benefits of the medium I used which was a mix of Impasto Medium and Water-Washed Walnut Oil with a little Walnut Thickened Oil: It made the paint thick and rich with good flow. I cut the Impasto Medium roughly in half with Water-Washed oil and Thickened Walnut Oil (these two oils were mixed in roughly equal parts). I would simply dip my brush

in the medium to make the paint flow better. Used by itself Thickened Walnut Oil is so thick it is useless, but by mixing in some Water-Washed Walnut oil it gave it a nice consistency. The addition of the Impasto Medium is useful to me in this way, it adds strength to the oil so I can use more medium without the fear of it drying with an alligator finish (wrinkling) which happens if thick oil is over used. It also creates some nice drag, control in blending, and a satin finish.

If one does not desire to use solvents in a painting but is scared of using too much oil to thin the paint, then the solution that I use is mixing in some Impasto Medium. If working in layers one could start with a mixture of raw Walnut Oil and Impasto Medium for the first layer. Water-Washed Walnut Oil and Impasto for the second and the mixture I described above for a third pass.

I think some interesting possibilities can be pursued with the Thickened Walnut Oil in other mixtures. A caution though would be to keep it simple and stick with the same medium throughout a painting. Simply adding mixtures of thinner and thicker oil with Impasto Medium can create a variety of paint handling choices while keeping the paint from becoming too weak. If you do not go overboard with the Thickened Walnut Oil and make sure you have enough Impasto Medium mixed in to keep it from wrinkling then you will have a very versatile medium without solvents that will dry quickly.

Ark and Manna - using Thickened Walnut Oil

Ark and Manna 24×30 oil on panel with gold leaf

Ark and Manna - using Thickened Walnut Oil #1
Ark and Manna - using Thickened Walnut Oil #2
Ark and Manna - using Thickened Walnut Oil #3

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