Gamblin Gamsol Odourless Mineral Spirits
If you have to use mineral spirits for any part of your process, let it be this one. With your well-being as an artist placed as a paramount goal, Gamblin has pioneered this brilliant product. Mineral Spirits generally are laced with Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - compounds that send major toxins into the air and directly through your skin to your bloodstream. Kudos to Gamblin for figuring out how to virtually eliminate them in this product (and their other products that have Gamsol as a component). Their diligence will pay dividends of health to us and to all upcoming generations of oil painters. This is truly a revolutionary product.
Gamsol is an odourless mineral spirit which has all of the aromatic solvents refined out of it – less than .005% remains. In addition, Gamsol has a slow evaporation rate, a high flash point, and is not absorbed through healthy skin.
Unlike other solvents, Gamsol is readily biodegradable and contains no Hazardous Air Pollutants or Ozone Depleting Compounds. These factors have led to Gamsol being the Standard for Studio Safety, and the solvent of choice among artists and instructors in classrooms and home studios.
What are “mineral spirits” for? Some artists use them to thin paint. This practice should be approached with great moderation or better yet - avoided entirely. Remember that solvent dissolves binder. If your methods include this however, here is the criteria for an artist’s solvent: “a thinner should not dissolve dry paint layers, should evaporate 100% without leaving a residue in paint layers and should evaporate in a timeframe that does not interfere with the performance of the paint layer”. If used moderately, Gamblin Gamsol achieves these things just as well as the toxic alternatives. It can also be used to thin Mediums, Cold Wax, Gamvar Picture Varnish, and Oil Grounds. Of course, it can also be used to clean brushes, as any mineral spirit can. Finally, there is a non-toxic way to do this. You can also use alternative practices of simply using full strength dish soap then a quick conditioning in Masters Soap (this is what I do). Any way you choose, cleaning up is easy and non-toxic. There is absolutely NO NEED to use toxic substances in oil painting practice. Thanks, once again, Gamblin!