Solvent Free Oil Paints: M. Graham

From my last art class, Color Explorations, I learned about an oil paint called M. Graham Artist Oil Paints.  They are made with pure walnut oil and made in the US.  The paint is solvent free meaning it’s better for the environment as well as better for artist use.  It’s eco-friendly.  I have to say the colors are brilliant and vivid and the paint is so buttery.

I had the notion, from my previous experience and use with water-miscible oil paints, that the water-miscible oils were solvent-free.  Apparently not.

I learned from class that the local schools use M. Graham because it’s 100% solvent free.

So, I decided to invest in a basic set:


The above set included five colors to get started:  Titanium White, Ultramarine Blue, Naphthol Red, Azo Yellow, and Phthalo Green.  Also included is a small bottle of Walnut Oil and a bottle of Walnut Alkyd Medium.

The Walnut Alkyd Medium is a thinning medium and is used to increase the drying time of the paint.  It’s helpful to use this medium in the first layer of painting to give the painting a good strong foundation.  All you need is a small drop and mix it into your paint color.

The Walnut Oil is a natural vegetable oil and will slow the drying process of the oil paint.  It also enhances the flow when applying the paint to canvas and increases the sheen of the paint.  It is also used to remove color from your brushes.  In class we would dip our brush into the walnut oil and run the brush over paper towels to remove the excess paint.  We then cleaned the brushes with a gentle dish detergent and rinsed with water.  Basically, the walnut oil is used in place of turpentine or odorless mineral spirit.  It is definitely safer.

I worked with the same basic set of five colors in class.  I knew I needed additional colors and I picked out some colors I knew could not mix easily on my own.  I added tubes of turquoise, burnt sienna, sap green, yellow ochre, hanse yellow, and alizarin crimson.


I had ordered the paints online and they came individually packaged in their own plastic bags.  The basic paint set also came in a zip lock bag.  As you can see from the above picture, some of the tubes got squished a bit.  No worries as there wasn’t any leakage from the tubes.  All is good!

I have a supply of brushes and white canvas from my oil painting adventures several years ago.  So, I’m ready to go.  I just need to finish my current pastel projects before I shift gears.

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