I will begin a series of articles about artist's materials in this section. I have been reading about oil painting materials ever since I left Pratt about 15 years ago. The history of artist's materials is difficult to trace because recipes for varnishes and paint were often not recorded. It seems that the artist's shop industry of the past was very competitive; similar to some of our modern industries. Perhaps this accounts for the lack of accurate records.

In this issue of Tom's Oil Painting Materials, I will briefly mention a basic material used in many oil painting mediums. This material is called resin. There are several types of resin used in oil painting. Each will impart a particular effect to the paint. I will discuss this subject at length, but for now let it suffice to say that there are soft resins and hard resins. The balsams are an example of soft resins, e.g. venice turps, canada balsam. Amber and copal are examples of hard resin. Later I will discuss the use of these materials in painting and the controversy that surrounds them.
Painting table
© tom irizarry 2000