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We promise to inform and inspire you, just as your work and ideas inspire and inform us. And we’re always here to help you bring your best self to your biggest painting challenge.

Scheduled Phone Consultations

We now offer personalized guidance with our Painter Experience and Product Expert! Utilize your dedicated appointment window by choosing one of the topics below. This helps us prepare and focus on your needs.

Appointments are human, informative, and completely free!

Scheduled Phone Consultations replace our “open phone line” system; we will no longer take unscheduled calls.

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Products

Brown Ochre Recall

Our materials should feel good from the first squeeze down to the last pour. If you ever feel like something isn’t right, we want to hear from you and we will take care of you.

Brown Ochre, a Reclaimed Earth Color, is made from iron oxides collected from abandoned mines.

This environmental project is also experimental. We recently discovered that one pigment, Brown Ochre, expands with time and/or temperature. This usually occurs months after the paint was made but exposure to heat may accelerate the expansion.

The problem is messy. The tubes bloat under pressure causing the paint to either voluntarily spew when opened or burst through the crimped tail. We are working to find the cause of the issue as well as a solution. We have never seen anything like this before.

The other Reclaimed Earth Colors, Iron Violet and Rust Red do not show these symptoms.

We do not have Brown Ochre replacements yet, but we want to do our best to make things right. If you purchased a Reclaimed Earth Set and have experienced problems with Brown Ochre, please submit the form below. We will send you one (1) free 37ml tube of Iron Violet, and one (1) free 37ml tube of Artist Grade Raw Sienna.

  • First and last, for shipping purposes
  • Where did you purchase your Reclaimed Earth Set?
  • This helps us understand what's happening with Brown Ochre
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  • Where would you like us to send your free 37ml tubes of Iron Violet and Raw Sienna? If you don't want replacements, please leave blank.
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Mediums

Are Gamblin mediums compatible with one another?

Yes, all Gamblin mediums are compatible with each other so painters can customize the working properties, drying rate and surface quality to support their individual painting technique.

How can I modify the drying rate of my medium?

Gamblin Galkyd and Galkyd Gel are our fastest-drying mediums. Incorporate one of these mediums into paint mixtures to speed drying. Gamblin Safflower Oil is a slow-drying oil medium that can be used to slow the drying rate of fast-drying mediums. Simply add a small amount of Safflower Oil (drops) into your fast-drying medium. For the slowest drying painting medium, make a 1:1 mixture of Safflower Oil/Gamsol.

How can I keep Galkyd from drying out in the bottle?

Secure the cap tightly and store your bottle of Galkyd or Galkyd Lite upside down to ensure no air exchange occurs between the bottle and cap. If you notice a medium thickening in the bottle, add a small amount of Gamsol and shake thoroughly until its original consistency is restored.

store gamblin upside down to prevent drying in the bottle

How do I incorporate painting mediums into my painting?

Please refer to our page on Fat Over Lean.

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Varnish

How soon can I varnish with Gamvar?

All Gamvar can be applied when the thickest areas of your painting are thoroughly dry and firm. For thinly painted layers that include fast-drying alkyd mediums, this may be as soon as 3 – 4 weeks. For thicker layers or paintings that contain added drying oils (linseed and/or safflower), this may be closer to the generally-recommended 6 month timeframe. To check if it’s dry, gently press your nail into the thickest part of your painting. If your nail can’t make a dent, you’re ready to varnish.

Gently press thumbnail into oil painting to check if your painting is dry and ready to varnish

How soon can I varnish with Gamvar after oiling out?

After oiling-out with the recommended 1:1 mixture of Galkyd and Gamsol, wait until the painting is dry to the touch before proceeding to the varnishing step. On average, this usually takes a couple days, 3-4 days at the longest. Cold temperatures and high humidity can cause a longer dry time and waiting period before you can varnish. In warm dry conditions the painting may be dry in 24 hours.

I’ve experienced Gamvar beading up on a section of my painting. How can I prevent this?

Some combinations of oil paint and mediums create a “closed” surface resulting in Gamvar beading up. Also, beading up may indicate that too much varnish is being applied at once. Try to cover as much of the painting with as little varnish as possible. A vigorous scrubbing motion when applying Gamvar will help prevent it from beading up. Please refer to the video demonstration in our Varnish section.

How many applications of Gamvar do I need?

All Gamvar varnishes should be applied in a single thin coat. As an exception to this rule, Gamvar Gloss may be applied in two thin coats for a higher gloss finish or if you find you need a more even coating.

Can I apply one type of Gamvar over another?

We have found that it is difficult to control the surface quality when different types of Gamvar are applied on the same painting, one on top of another. (e.g. 1st layer Gamvar Gloss, 2nd layer Gamvar Satin)  It may be best to remove the first coat and re-varnish with the preferred Gamvar formula.

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Painting Techniques

Why have some areas of my painting dried glossy whereas other areas have dried matte? Why do the dark areas look sunken in?

Please refer to our page on Controlling Surface Quality.

What is the best medium for underpainting?

A 1:1 mixture of Galkyd/Gamsol is an excellent painting medium for lean underpainting. The viscosity of this medium is quite fluid, so it will readily thin the oil paint for initial washes/sketches. This lean medium dries quickly to allow for successive layering at a faster rate. Having Galkyd in the mix will increase adhesion and strength of the resulting paint layer vs. using Gamsol alone.

Gamsol and Galkyd mixture for underpainting

mixing gamsol and galkyd 1:1

For a slower-drying underpainting layer, use a1:3 mixture of Refined Linseed Oil/Gamsol.

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Sizes and Grounds

How can I get the tightest stretch for my cotton or linen support?

We recommend stretching the canvas or linen before applying PVA Size. It is important that canvases are stretched evenly and tightly. PVA Size will tighten a stretched canvas initially when wet. Upon drying, however, the treated canvas may relax somewhat. The stretcher system may have to be keyed out to further increase the stretch of the fabric.

Can I apply Gamblin Ground over acrylic gesso?

Yes. Gamblin Ground may be applied in 1-2 thin coats to an acrylic gesso primed canvas or panel to reduce absorbency and improve color saturation.

What is the drying rate for Gamblin Ground?

Oil Ground requires no more than two thin coats. The first coat should be touch dry and ready for the second coat in 2-4 days. Once the second coat is touch dry, allow the ground to cure for about a week before beginning painting. Cool temperatures and high humidity may extend the dry time further.

Here is a good test to determine if the Ground is dry enough: after five days, lightly sand the surface of the Ground with fine sandpaper. If the Ground powders off without gumming up the sandpaper, it is dry enough to paint on.

It is important that the Ground be applied thinly to achieve these drying times. Please refer to our video demonstration for application tips.

Can I apply Gamblin Ground over an old painting?

While it is possible to use Oil Ground over an old oil painting, our first recommendation is to start with a fresh painting support. If you choose to prime over old paintings, it is important that a good bond is formed between the new ground and the original dry paint layers.

covering an oil painting with Gamblin Ground

If the original oil paint was applied very thinly and the overall appearance is rather dull or matte, you may apply a coat of Oil Ground right over the top. However, if the surface is either shiny or has unwanted texture, it will need to be sanded before applying the Oil Ground.

Protect yourself from all airborne pigments during sanding. Wipe residual dust from the painting with Gamsol and allow to dry before applying the Ground.

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Color

What is the best primary palette?

In our opinion, the best primary, 3-color palette is Hansa Yellow Medium (or Light), Quinacridone Red, and Phthalo Blue.

Gamblin primary three color palette

What are the differences between the Gamblin Whites?

Please refer to our article, Getting the White Right.

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Company

Free products

Do you have samples?

Gamblin does not have any samples at this time.

Do you have a sponsorhip program?

Gamblin supports artists through several different channels.

To name a few, we support senior painting students at art schools and universities throughout the US, we support arts organizations and museum conservation laboratories, and through our website and painter support line, we offer painters access to the most current information on oil painting materials and techniques.

As a small manufacturer, we do not have a sponsorship or samples program for individual artists. Indeed, it would be very difficult to choose from so many talented oil painters making such requests. 

Tours

Do you offer factory tours?

Yes we do, but not at this time. We will change this message once the pandemic is resolved and tours resume.

Employment

Is Gamblin hiring?

Yes. We have manufacturing jobs available. If you’re in the Portland, Oregon area please submit an email at the top of this page.

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