Using Liquin

I use a product called Liquin Original regularly and mention it quite often in my blogs. After a few questions from my readers I realized some people don’t know what it is or how I use it. Liquin is a non-yellowing medium for thinning oil and alkyd paint. Manufactured by Winsor Newton, Liquin also speeds up drying time. Liquin Original approximately cuts the drying time of oil colors in half, depending on climate, the colors used, and amount of Liquin you add to the paint.

I place the Liquin to the left of my colors on our Double Primary Palette. To learn more about the Double Primary Palette we use just CLICK HERE. When talking about making a wash of a color I use the Liquin in the proportion shown above. A Lot of Liquin and a tiny bit of paint. In this case I’m using MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) mixed with the Liquin. This is the basic wash used for drawing my sketch on the canvas.

A wash can be made of any color. The transparent ones work best, MUD, Ultramarine Blue, Pthalo Blue and Alizarin Crimson. Just make sure to mix the paint into the Liquin very well. You want your wash to be smooth without any chunks of color.

In the image above the basic elements of the painting are drawn with a brush dipped in the MUD wash. The chili ristras are washed in with Alizarin Crimson + Liquin. Two washes are used for the window area in the door, Ultramarine Blue + Liquin and MUD + Liquin.

To speed up the drying time of my oil paint I use the proportion of Liquin to the paint shown above. You don’t need much Liquin. I dip the tip of my painting knife into the Liquin, then mix it into the glob of paint. My painting will be dry to touch in 2 to 3 days using this amount of Liquin. Be careful not to use too much Liquin, it will make your paint thin and you won’t get good coverage on the canvas. The paint will just slide around. Hope this helps. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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39 Responses to “Using Liquin”

  1. Rose Mavis Says:

    Hello Mikki,

    Have you ever heard of using Galkyd to improve drying time? I have heard of this product from a highly regarded illustrator who works with oils on deadline. I have yet to try it myself.

  2. Kurt Jacobson Says:

    Galkyd is Gamblins version more or less of Liquin. I use it all the time works great. So does Graham’s Walnut Oil/Alkyd medium.

  3. Nora Kolda Says:

    Using Liquin straight? Without addition of other mediums?

    • Adi Says:

      I had a quick question, can I use Daler Rowney – Alkyd Flow Medium with Liquin? I have never used Liquin before so not sure about the mix, any help would be highly appreciated.

  4. Karen Martin Sampson Says:

    Hi Mikki, I first learned about Liquin back in 1983 when I began an MFA course at Syracuse U. with renowned illustrator/painter, Joe Bowler. It was on our supply list and he explained how it helped to speed up work time for illustrators and also was archival in protecting the finished work. It is the only medium I have ever liked using since it does not change the “character” or gloss of the paint. Recently I was reading “Dumas Key” a novel by Stephen King about an injured man who turns to painting as therapy and he is told, in the story, by his dealer, to use Liquin as a final covering in order to preserve his paintings. I have never heard of using Liquin as a painting varnish like this before…don’t know if it is a valid idea or not.

  5. grovecanada Says:

    I used M. Graham’s walnut alkyd medium on my last walnut oil painting & it definitely shows a different surface than the previous work which was just walnut oil paint… (The surface was much “tighter” looking with the addition of medium)…
    I would caution oil painters to do a small test with & without whatever drying agent you want to use & compare both before proceeding… A naturally slow drying oil paint can change significantly with drying agents- but you might not spot the difference if you don’t do a comparison test…

  6. Nancy Howe Says:

    I use Liquin all the time as a medium, but you need to be VERY CAREFUL about not using it straight in the under layers as it is a fatty acid and you must follow the rules of fat over lean in oil painting. I spoke with the chemist at W/N a long time ago and he said to cut it with mineral spirits, but never more than 50%, gradually increasing the percentage of Liquin in the subsequent layering (if you paint this way). You can use it straight for upper glazing layers. It is the better choice than damar retouch varnishes to match colors during work on the painting, because it become a permanent part of the paint film. I also use it straight when the painting is complete and dry to the touch to bring up the colors and darks until the painting has had enough drying time to varnish. This works especially well if the painting needs to go to a show and the piece has not cured long enough to varnish. As Liquin becomes part of the paint surface, it will dry into the paint and also act to isolate fine glazing and your paint surface from later varnish. If you need to remove the varnish in the future for cleaning, these delicate layers will never come off with the varnish. Liquin should NOT be used in place of varnish, as the painting will never be able to be properly cleaned in years to come when dirt and environmental buildup requires removal of the varnish. I use W/N Conserv-Art gloss varnish which is non-yellowing and REMOVABLE, cut 1/1 with mineral spirits for varnish after about 2 months (it will still continue to cure this way) if it needs to be protected for showing. The final varnish is applied after about 12 months total curing time.

  7. Marilynn Thomas Says:

    I use Liquin as a painting medium and wonder if the total drying time on an oil painting, in other words, the amount of time, usually at least 6 months, one has to wait to use Damar varnish is also cut in half when using Liquin. Do you know anything about this?

  8. Krist Says:

    I bought Fine Liquin about 2 years ago and have found it has thickened to where I can not cover my finished piece with it. Can I thin it with paint thinner, or will this destroy my oil painting?

  9. Louise Duane-White Says:

    Thanks for this – ive just bought Liquin for the first time ever as I have a very limited amount of time to produce a lot of oil paintings, and hopefully they will all be mostly dry by the time I need to present them! thanks for this! 😀

  10. Kalai Says:

    Hi. I just want to know whether its available in India?

  11. Kobie Pretorius Says:

    Hi Mikki, I am still an artist in training, somehow I stumble across your facebook views. I which that i can paint as beautiful as you do. We use Zelcem with our paint for it to dry quicker.

  12. Delores Wheatley Says:

    Why did my liquin turm milky white on my painting? How can I remove it?

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Hi Delores,
      I just found your question, OPPS! Did you use the liquin as a final varnish? It may be it was applied too thickly. You might try taking a little paint thinner on a rag and trying to rub some of it off. We use Grumbacher Spray Retouch Varnish to varnish our paintings. We spray the piece as soon as it’s complete, before it is sent to the gallery.
      We only use the liquin to mix with our paint to make it dry a little faster. Also to make oil washes to do the initial sketch on canvas. I use oil washes made with the liquin when embellishing our giclees. Hopefully this gives you a little help. Hugs, Mikki

  13. شيخ الروحاني لجلب الحبيب Says:

    It’s actually a cool and useful piece of info. I am glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Beverly Says:

    Is there something I can use in place of liqiun for a less shiny finish> Is if ok to use mineral spirits for a wash for shadows etc? Do oils need to be sprayed when finished??/ thanks, Bev

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      You can use mineral spirits with your oils to make a wash. If you don’t like a shiny finish you can always put a final varnish on your oil painting with a semigloss or matte varnish. I spray my pieces with Grumbacher RETOUCH varnish before they are shipped to the gallery. We use the RETOUCH varnish because my paintings are still wet. This has a somewhat glossy finish but I’m sure if you go to or you can find something in matte. When your oil painting is totally dry you can use a brush on matte damar varnish to protect it. Hope this helps! Hugs, Mikki

    • GroveCanada Says:

      Just to add to what Mikki wrote…

      You don’t have to use Liquin in oils…You can just let it dry naturally…It just takes longer…

      Know that Liquin is similar in formulation to Cobalt driers…Cobalt is like B12 is like glue…There are powder forms of cobalt driers as well which are much less shiny…

      The shiny-ness in Liquin is because they have added something similar to dammar varnish to the glue…Like clear nail polish…So it acts like a waterproofer…Integrally…

      You can mix oil paint powders to dammar varnish…Like Schmincke gold powders for oil paints…That makes a shiny say gold leaf look…

      For a flatter look, you can mix pure powder pigments with glues, including gum arabic which mixes nice with watercolour, wet or dry…

      There are recipes & instructionals on the Kama Pigment website…French or English…For even how to make your own paint mixes…

      Understand that when you add glues to a oil paint it changes the nature of the chemistry…It is like risotto to fried rice…The slow drying nature of oils allows the body to move more, even when dry…

      Driers lock that into place very quickly…A walnut oil paint dries more slowly than a linseed oil paint…Walnuts are a tree nut…Linseed is a ground earth nut…So the type of oil in the oil paint can also affect drying times…

      Retouch varnishes are in aerosol cans…That is an eco-decision…As is the danger of sending a wet spray retouched work through shipping…It requires very precise packing materials for safety…There are issues of flammability & fume as well, since a dry oil painting is less volatile than a wet oil painting…Think of a kerosene lamp versus a candle…

      You do not have to dammar varnish an oil painting if you don’t want to…Varnishing is a waterproofing choice…

      I do hope this helps a bit, Sari

    • Linda Puiatti Says:

      I use SOHO cold wax medium with Liquin and oil paint. The wax dulls the sheen and creates a nice body for the paint. I cannot find info on whether this is archivally correct or not but so far, so good.

  15. Diane Says:

    Hi Mikki…can I use liquin with my oils in the first layer….let it dry …then apply an old master type medium (oily) over the top of the liquin…or will this cause problems…??

    I like to paint in thin layers…so if I could use a couple layers of liquin…then apply my other medium on top…seems like it would save me a lot of drying time…any help…appreciated!

  16. GroveCanada Says:

    Linda, The cold wax medium is archival if you use the correct percentage…If you go whole hog like I did on the cold wax medium, you can get cracking…If that happens you can “repair” the cracks in the wax with streams of oil paint over the cracks, which is what I did…

    • Linda Puiatti Says:

      Thanks, I use about 1 part or less cold wax to two parts oil paint with a dab of Liquin. So far I haven’t seen cracking but thanks for the advice!

      • GroveCanada Says:

        Oh Lord! You’re like me! Cold wax aficionado! The “recommended percentage used to be about 25% or less I think…(To oil paint) Plus with the Liquin you’re doubling up…
        But it will allow you to completely lay over a new or improved all oil subject, if 6 months from now, you feel the surface is fragile…(Joseph says fragility is beauty though!)

  17. linda Says:

    Yes, I love the soft un-shiny texture of the cold wax and never liked the sheen of the liquin surface, too shiny for me. I only put a bit of liquin iin teh mix now after reading this article but so far it all works well. Been doing it for about 2 years, most paintings have sold but I haven’t had any calls about cracks. Yes, fragility, cracking, texture is all good but (being who I am) I want to have some control over it. Is there anyone else out there mixing cold wax medium with liquin?

  18. ESME THERON Says:


  19. Debbie Le Roux Says:

    I was taught to use one part linseed oil to nine parts pure turps as my basic medium. How does this differ from
    Liquin? Thank you . Debbie

  20. Debbie Le Roux Says:

    Thank you for the replies Mikki and Linda – I wonder which medium is more durable? I am going to experiment with Liquin – I suppose it is also less toxic than pure turps.

    • linda Says:

      Liquin is far more toxic. I wear a gas mask when using a lot of it. Liquin is probably much more durable since it is a dort of synthetic.

  21. Jayne Says:

    Do you know how I can thin liquin? Mine has all congealed in the bottle.

  22. Vaibhav Says:

    Dear sir,
    Till now I was using Linseed Oil in oil painting. Recently I came to know that many artists use Liquin medium to speed up drying. I read on many articles that liquin makes painting plastic like.
    I will be thankful to you if you guide me whether I can use liquin without hampering quality of painting.
    Thanking you.
    With regards,

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Hi Vaibhav,
      Jack and I have used Liquin in our oil paintings for years. We just dip the tip of our painting knife in the liquin to get a little bit. Then we mix that well into our paint mixture. You don’t need very much to speed up the drying process. I’ve never had a problem with my paint becoming plastic like. The secret is to not use very much. Thank you for your question and I appreciate you following my blog. HAPPY PAINTING, Mikki

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