I am finishing up my pregnancy (or it is finishing with me!), but I wanted to share a useful product I found to continue working in oils during this time. It is the Walnut Alkyd Medium from M. Graham. It does not dry to the most even finish, but its pretty good, and beats the heck out of just using linseed oil or another oil as a medium. In general I don’t paint with a lot of solvents (i never use them for washes or clean-up), but I do like to use either the Galkyd medium from Gamblin (which has petroleum distillates) or a medium which is a combination of stand oil and damar varnish.
Anyway I did not mix and match this medium with paintings already begun using other mediums, but I found the actual painting experience to be really quite acceptable using the Walnut Medium. A layer of retouch varnish seemed to even out any surface issues. I also bought some straight up walnut oil from them just for cleaning brushes.
In general I personally feel way more comfortable using oil paints without solvents than the acrylic paints and mediums. Linseed oil and pigments that I am familiar with feel pretty safe to me – a bunch of chemicals off-gassing that I have no understanding of, not so much. I do always avoid cadmiums, lead, etc., and I always paint with gloves.
So in summary, my pre-natal oil painting supplies were:
– Oil paints minus the most toxic pigments (cadmiums, lead, etc.)
– Walnut Alkyd Medium for painting
– The Master’s Artist’s Hand Soap (i always use this on my brushes for most cleanup unless medium is really sticky, or I left a brush too long.
– Walnut Oil for stronger brush cleaning.
That’s it! I suspect that women who paint with a lot of transparent washes would not be able to work without a more toxic setup and might ditch oil painting all together, but for someone who paints alla prima, these materials worked very well for me.