All paintings depicted here were executed using:
Alchemist Painting Mediums and/or
Alchemist Amber Varnish products
Frank Mason, 2006:
"Donald Fels, from his research of Renaissance and Baroque sources on the arts of painting and related crafts has developed a number of remarkable painting mediums.
In my opinion he has rediscovered the lost Flemish method of painting used by Peter Paul Rubens and Van Dyck. This is an outstanding achievement for which he deserves recognition and gratitude from modern painters who strive for the quality attained by artists of those early eras."
“I have used Donald Fels’ Alchemist mediums for many years and find them to be exceptional and unique among any on the market today. With the amber mediums I am able to achieve a depth and luminosity in my transparent shadows that allows me to approach a quality amazingly similar to the Old Masters. At the same time, the viscosity of the mediums permit me to create body to a loaded expressive brushstroke in the light areas of my canvases. Alchemist painting mediums give today’s artist a full working range of opportunities that allows for maximum freedom in the creation of art that is personal to the artist’s creative vision. ”
"Thank you, Dear Donald, to make available such products, including amber, to artists. With your work it is possible to paint in the spirit and form of the past masters. Nothing compares to a glaze amber and it is the only medium able to give such pure and subtle colors ... I wish every artist can, one day, use amber ... their vision of paint will necessarily change..."
"The use of Alchemist® Amber Varnishes in my medium has enabled me to attain handling capabilities and a depth of color that heretofore was lacking in the materials I was using. This has deepened my spiritual connection with the past Masters through this marvelous vehicle."
"For more than ten years I have used Alchemist Amber Varnishes, exclusively in all of my oil paintings, because of their SUPERIOR QUALITY as mediums. Their soft, luminous, silky, glow provides visual effects far surpassing any other medium I have ever used during my thirty years of oil painting. The first time I used Amber Varnish I knew I had found the perfect medium I so desired.
The ability to paint layer over layer, and not disturb the under layer, without waiting for each layer to dry, allows more to be accomplished in one setting. And, his formulation allows this is all to be done with my canvas or board in a vertical position! The detail achieved using these mediums is amazing!
When speaking with other artists, there is no other medium I can recommend. For me, the Alchemist product line is pure LIQUID GOLD!"
"Painting has included some of my biggest struggles and greatest joys. Still life, landscapes and figures in the traditional manner have offered me a wonderful variety of subject matter, colors and emotions.
With each painting experience I feel an increased awareness of my subjects depth and possibilities. Painting is my passion."
I've been using the Alchemist painting mediums since 2000 and have been hooked ever since. I love it's richness and luminosity and find it way superior to any commercial mediums on the market today. I will never use anything else again!
Caroline Furlong, 2010:
Thank you so much for your time and helpful instructions on varnishing technique. Your amber varnishes and mediums are a huge benefit to artists - far, far superior to any others I have used! I use them most often as a final varnish over icons painted in egg tempera; they give a luminous finish that allows the beauty of natural pigments to show.
Caroline Furlong, 2005:
I really appreciate all you have done for my painting by creating these high quality mediums and teaching artists to use the Old Master techniques, thanks again for the meticulous research you have done. You're discovery of Old Master formulas for painting mediums has revolutionized my painting technique; I am telling all my artist friends about it.
I highly recommend Alchemist Mediums painting mediums, and I am extremely grateful for efforts over ten years in collaboration with my teacher Frank Mason in correctly translating and formatting the actual mediums used and described by Rubens, van Dyke, Gentileschi and others as documented by De Mayerne manuscript.
One can now again draw with paint and achieve optical effects with speed and fluency and without the paint running or bleeding. One can now paint within a single sitting or for continuous sessions and not have any problem alternating thick, thin or glazes or worrying about fat over lean application. One does not have to wait for the paint to dry and the finest details can be painted without using solvents. The paint retains a consistent luminosity without varnishing.
I would be at a loss without the use of Fels oil and amber mediums. Jack I. Liberman
Over the years I have painted mostly portraits in dry pastels.Until now, I am able to get the results I want using oils. Mixing your mediums with the oil paints lets me basically draw with the paint. Everyone should be using your Amber varnish and mediums, especially anyone with drawing skills and who has had trouble with the oil paint digging into the lower layers creating only mud.
Attached is a self portrait. This was my first attempt from start to finish with your products. I could only imagine what my work would look like had I ran into your products years ago.
Thank you Alchemist Mediums I will be ordering again very soon!
"After painting for thirty years, I finally found the mediums that do everything I need them to do. From fine detail, to glazing, the mediums offered on this web site are truly amazing. I stumbled upon these mediums five years ago and they are giving me the results I've been after my entire career!
I used to coat my icons with olifa. I tried to do coating with your amber varnish light and was very happy with the result. I paint icons using natural pigments such as: malachite, lapis lazuli, cinnabar, etc. Unlike olifa which '"kills" pigment and changes its color and tone, amber varnish brings out the beauty of natural pigments. Surface of an icon coated with amber varnish gets the quality which we, icon painters, call in Russian 'light emanating' surface.
Colleen Caubin, 2007:
The use of your medias have revolutionized my work, giving me a command of color and luminosity I've searched for, allowing me to layer color and strokes just like I do in pastel, while giving a range of tone and depth I've never seen before. Thank you. I'll never paint with anything else.
1. Amber varnish is the art material of very rare, special quality, which I would name as NOBILITY. It is a NOBLE art material.
2. It is the best varnish I have ever worked with. I confirm that amber varnish makes oil paints look more transparent, deep and vivid. The color of amber varnish dark is lovely warm color of amber (in thin film). It creates the unique effect of warm "honey-quality" light over the painting.
3. It is almost odorless, I would say it is fragrant compared to the "aggressive" odor of turpentine-based varnishes.
4. The dry film of varnish is shiny, but the shine is softer and "oily" compared to the "crystal-like" surface of turpentine-based varnishes.
5. It is very pleasant to work on the top of fresh layer of amber varnish. Brush catches small amounts of varnish, and it gets mixed with oil colors on the palette. Thin layers of oil paint, applied to the fresh layer of amber varnish, instantly get coated by varnish, or "wrapped" by it.
6. Handling qualities are excellent. The consistency of amber varnish thick is honey-like.
7. It doesn't at all dissolve the newly dry layers of oil colors (unlike turpentine-based varnishes).
8. While doing the final coating, I added a small amount of raw amber to the varnish (directly on the surface of the painting). It dried in 1,5 day.
I am so happy I had this great chance to work with your products! Thanking you again and again,
With very best wishes,
Walter Lynn Mosley 2006:
I believe I've tried almost every medium available but I find that using the various Alchemist mediums following the fat over lean principle allows me the broadest versatility of handling and application and it also gives me the final resultant finish that I'm looking for.
I did this painting, Pink and White Roses #2, exclusively with Alchemist mediums. I used the Painting and Grinding medium with monochromatic paint to work out the drawing and composition. I used it very thinly, almost like a watercolor wash. At this early stage, despite the paint being cut so thin, it has substance and a slight sheen and I feel confident that I could leave portions of the painting at this unfinished stage if I wanted to. Then I began using color with the Oil of Delft Thin and quickly moved to using the Oil of Delft Thick. As I further progressed I used the Amber Retouch medium very sparingly. The painting has a nice luster and no uneven "sunken in" areas.
This painting is the first ... in which I used Alchemist painting media. Following the examples in the book ... worked very well in helping to add the pattern which fused with the modeled form underneath.
I was able to lift and manipulate the pattern layer to correct it, which aided greatly in getting the result I wanted. I am now working on my third portrait using Alchemist painting media and am sold on their workability, quality and permanence.
"For as long as I can remember, still life has held a special fascination for me. Throughout my early art training I was fortunate to have had instructors that allowed for my natural tendency toward realistic still life, while encouraging me to experiment with other approaches, styles and media. Their guidance gave me a well-rounded foundation of art, art history and the fundamentals of drawing and painting."
As to the mediums used for the rose painting... I used Painting and Grinding medium for the under painting, Linseed thin and thick for the subsequent layers. I applied a very thin final rub of amber medium over the dried final surface to act as a varnish. It had a beautiful luster and was impressive once framed.
I am convinced that the mediums imparted "oldness" to the overall presentation, a kind of authenticity that I have never seen before in my own work. I don't know if that makes any sense...,
I have been using your mediums and your varnishes and I have concluded that they are of the highest quality. I have used every version of medium and natural varnish available and I personally think that the handling capabilities and the jewel like quality of your mediums are second to none. The smooth luminous look of the paint is easy to manipulate with the brush.
I like having the Amber in the paint which I believe helps the paint layers to have more durability and flexibility. I also appreciate the personal way that you answer questions and assist your clients with your knowledge. The Amber varnish is beautiful and adds a look to my paintings that keeps them looking fresh, but most importantly the varnish indeed protects the paintings.
I have been painting in oils for better than 45 years now, but not until recently had I begun to paint in the Flemish style of painting. After many months of independently researching, on just how the Masters achieved such a luminous quality to their paintings, I put this learning to practice. It took much trial and error, but the final outcome has been its own reward.
I attribute much of my success in achieving the Master's luminosity through the outstanding artists mediums, produced by the Alchemist Mediums I favor using the Baroque Oil in either thick or thin. Occasionally, I add a little of the Oil of Delft Linseed Painting Medium (thick or thin) to the Baroque Oil (thick or thin). The quality it yields on the surface of the canvas is like no other. For my under-painting (grisaille), I combine a small portion of Oil of Delft to the Painting and Grinding Medium, as a means of loosening the manipulative qualities of my paints. The small amount of fat from the Oil of Delft, added to the lean Grinding Medium, suits this purpose very well. I highly recommend these mediums to all oil painters and count myself fortunate in having discovered Alchemist Mediums.
The combination of FELS medium and varnish let me achieve the full luminous quality of oil painting. I have tried the best synthetic varnish I could find and it is like looking through plastic. The Amber Varnish "selflessly" allows the true qualities of the colors to express themselves.
Jim Pollard, Cazenovia, Wisconsin, 2005:
Your painting mediums are the best! I work "alla prima" and have searched thirty years for a means to enhance the optical properties of my oil paint. After the first few brush strokes with your Baroque Oil I knew my search was over - the effects are dazzling!
Sincerely, Jim Pollard, Cazenovia, Wisconsin.
Patrick Smith , Pittsburgh, PA 2005:
Thank you for the research and labor that has resulted in your mediums and varnishes. I get excellent result using your products.
Mark Jacobson, Dobbs Ferry, NY, 2003:
Thank you greatly for your wonderful research. My thought is that artists for the next hundred years will owe you a debt of gratitude. You are really to be commended, and your amber medium is the best I've ever worked with.
Libby B. Segilman, M.F.A, Cypress, CA April 1999:
If you use the Alchemist Amber Varnish, be prepared for the most satisfying paint experience of your life. The elusive glow and paint quality of Old Master Paintings will finally be within your grasp. Your paintings will attain an extra dimension no matter your skill level. I cannot begin to describe how happy I am with the Alchemist Amber Varnish. I tried many mediums over the years but none have come close to the paint quality that I have achieved with Amber Varnish. Before your eyes the drying paint takes on an indescribable glow that seems to get richer by the minute. I will be using Amber Varnish from now on, and expect even more spectacular results as I learn its subtleties and master the medium. After nearly thirty years of painting it is an incredible and joyful discovery. Hallelujah for Donald Fels the Alchemist.