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Product Review: Gamblin Solvent-Free Oil Painting Gel

Creamy. Very creamy. I have found my new addiction!

Initially I was reluctant to use this product because it’s hard enough to paint without throwing yourself a curve ball and adding a new product to the lineup.  After reflecting on numerous bad experiences with Res-n-Gel, and admitting to my long-term addiction to Liquin, I surrendered and cracked open a tube.

Verdict: I absolutely love this product! Here is why...

Let me preface this text by saying that up to this point I have only tried it for outdoor painting. I always use some kind of medium additive when painting outdoors because straight thinner dries at a blistering pace. Other products seem to be either too greasy or get tacky too quickly.

The Straight Dope:

  • Thinner only - dries too fast.
  • Walnut or Linseed Oil - gets the paint too slick, making subsequent layers slide around.
  • Walnut Alkyd or Liquin - starts to get sticky and tacks up in half an hour. Brush marks drag over each other. Smurge!
  • Res-n-Gel - is greasy, slippery and doesn’t readily accept the paint. Overmixing is the danger with this medium.

Gamblin Solvent-Free Gel benefits:

  • Non toxic and non smelling.
  • Slow drying and won’t tack-up at all during a three hour painting session in the hot sun and wind. (even longer working time in studio)
  • Readily mixes into paint without being greasy.
  • Mixes great with thinner allowing for layers of paint to get fatter and fatter. (Kind of like me when I quaff too many chicken wings.)
  • Comes out of the tube readily
  • It’s a gel so it stays where you put it on the palette.
  • Holds the shape of your brushstrokes.
  • Gives colours more gloss and transparency.
  • You don’t need much for it to work it's magic.
  • Being solvent-free you can transport this product when flying.
  • Creamy. Very creamy. I have found my new addiction!

swint approvedYour friend in art,

P.S. Since writing this review I had a chance to use the gel in the studio and I have to say that this is by far the best painting medium I have ever used. Its consistency and workability is fantastic.

5 stars for the Gamblin Solvent-Free Gel.

From product page [LINK]:

Gamblin Solvent-Free Gel is the only solvent-free painting medium that supports a broad range of painting techniques with minimal compromise.

Solvent-Free Gel gives colours more flow and transparency, yet holds the shape of your brushmark. Solvent-Free Gel has a moderately fast drying rate and increases gloss. Made from safflower oil and alkyd resin, Gamblin Solvent-Free Gel is non-toxic and contains no Gamsol or petroleum distillates.

In comparison to other solvent-free mediums, Gamblin Solvent-Free Gel supports the broadest range of painting techniques with the least compromise across colour, dry time, texture and mark-making. To ensure proper drying of paint layers, Solvent-Free Gel should be used in moderation with oil colours - no more than 25% by volume. To avoid wrinkling, apply mixtures of Solvent-Free Gel and oil colours thinly.

Like linseed oil and walnut oil, Gamblin Solvent-Free Gel can effectively clean brushes during your painting session. For clean-up after painting, we recommend Gamsol and/or soap and water.

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