NATURAL EARTH PAINT - Resources: Eco Oil Painting Tips

Resources: Eco Oil Painting Tips

Leah's Eco-friendly Oil Painting Guide: 

How to Eliminate All Toxins from the Oil Painting Process 

Solvents such as turpentine, paint thinner, mineral spirits, and varnish emit toxic Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) as they dry. When poured down the sink, they send harsh toxins into our water supply. They also continue to off-gas from your finished paintings. The use of solvents as a paint thinner and brush cleaner is a relatively recent development in art history. Instead of solvents, traditional oil painters such as Rembrandt typically used walnut or linseed oil to thin their paint and clean their brushes. 


Cleaning brushes:

  • Walnut oil works well and I also recommend Murphy’s Oil Soap (from the hardware store) as a natural alternative. I also love Eco Solve, a natural and non-toxic, soy-based paint thinner and brush cleaner. Eco-solve is the best for cleaning brushes whilst painting - quickly rinsing off paint and switching colors.
  • Wipe off as much paint as you can with a rag; then swish your brush in a small amount of Eco-Solve, Murphy’s oil soap or walnut oil; then rinse.
  • Give them a final wash in the palm of your hand with soap and water.

To thin paint:  
Use walnut oil, linseed oil, or poppyseed oil to make paint more fluid. To create washes, under-paintings or more watery, dripping effects (like you might create with solvents) use Eco-Solve

To make your oil paint dry faster: Walnut Alkyd Medium (by M.Graham) works great if you mix a little with your walnut oil "medium". I always have a small glass jar with about 70% refined walnut oil and 30% walnut alkyd medium and I use this to thin my paints and make my painting dry a little faster. 

Cleaning hands: I use “Pinerite - All Natural Colorado Pine Soap"
This heavy-duty, natural and non-toxic soap is the most effective AND sustainably made hand soap for removing oil paint that we have found.  It easily cleans oil paint off your hands.

When buying other oil paints, be aware that over a dozen colors contain severe toxins such as lead, mercury, cobalt, arsenic, cadmium, and barium. See our Health & Safety page for a list of these toxic, conventional paints. If these paints touch your bare skin, the heavy metals can quickly pass into your bloodstream! Natural earth oil paints mix perfectly with conventional tubed oil paints but be wary of the colors you're choosing. 

If you have used toxic paints and materials for years, learn how to detox those nasty chemicals from your body. 

Learn more: Read Leah's article on Non-toxic painting techniques and resources in this UK magazine, Artists & Illustrators (hint: from this link, scroll down & click "Preview this Article"). . 

Call to artists: Email photos of your eco oil paintings, and we will post them in the Gallery with a link to your website if you have one. Enjoy non toxic oil painting and breathe easy!

Click here to go back to Resources for Fine Artists

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