Studio Mysteries

May 3, 2009

A Word On The Maroger Medium

Filed under: Painting — Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries @ 2:28 am

And that word is “awesome”. Maroger is a substance stolen from the gods along with fire, chocolate and indoor plumbing. It’s like silk, if silk were made of lead, resin and petroleum byproducts. Seriously, Maroger gives paint the most luxurious feeling I have ever experienced, and oil paint is pretty damn luxurious to begin with.

Maroger does two things that shouldn’t happen at the same time, but they do:

1. It makes paint run and spread much easier. It flows and obeys.

2. It makes paint hold the gesture of the brush and retain texture extremely well.

I don’t know how it happens. Must be one of those “caramel inside a chocolate bar” type of mysteries.

I also have to point out that Maroger is hellishly toxic, and that you should use it in a well-ventilated room or paint with a mask using filters designed for volatile organic compounds, unless your sensibility tends heavily towards the psychedelic. In which case, Maroger fumes will get you there in half the time for half the price!

Bliss Station

Bliss Station


  1. Yikes! This blog is gonna make me HUGE! All this talk about food gives me the munchies.

    I guess you really learned your less on about those toxic fumes, thank goodness.

    Comment by Splodge! — May 3, 2009 @ 11:21 am

    • I think I was hungry when I wrote this post.

      Yeah, I have the fear of God put into me where exposure to toxic materials is concerned. Painting in a mask made a HUGE difference back in winter.

      Comment by studiomysteries — May 4, 2009 @ 7:28 pm

  2. I have used Maroger for years. I don’t use it that much now. I was in a class at the Art Student League with 30 people all using it. I don’t have any health problems or lead poisoning. You don’t need a mask when using it. If the smell is overwhelming your using too much. If handled with respect you should be fine. I never paint in a room without ventilation as OMS is very bad for you as well.

    I now use Canada Balsam, turpentine and stand oil.
    Sometimes I use what is called calcite putty which is made with calcite and stand oil.

    The main problem with Maroger is the mastic which is a soft resin and it tends to move a lot with temperature changes. Did you know mastic is used on Greek pastries.

    Comment by jeff — May 13, 2009 @ 8:07 pm

    • I think I am going to do further research on the exact contents of commercially available Maroger, because anecdotal evidence is bad science 😀

      Comment by studiomysteries — May 25, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

      • I use and have made my own Maroger medium for many years. There are two formulas. The Flemish medium contains the mastic crystals and has a glossy finish. I use the Italian Wax medium that contains bees wax and has a mat finish without losing the vibrant color. The lead is dangerous as it would be in any paint but the fumes are not harmful. I guess that I’m use to the smell but anyone new to it comments on how strong it is. The smell goes away after it dries which is usually by the next day and therefore is another advantage of the medium. The Flemish medium may take two or three days to dry because it’s tackier from the mastic resin. I have tried some commercial brands but they’re not quite the same. They lack the most important ingredient, black oil which is the result of proper cooking temperature and time.

        Comment by johnschisler — February 6, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

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