I’ve written before about the difference between paint thinner and OMS (spoiler: they’re just different names for the same thing). I’ve also written about the turpentine that I routinely use.

Why haven’t I written about Naphtha? I use Naphtha to clean etching plates but for painting, I use it less frequently than the other top solvents. Naphtha is the fastest drying solvent among those that I use for painting. Its fast-drying time makes it great for thin passages and details but poor for large areas that you intend to work on over several sessions. 

OK, what is Naphtha? Naphtha is a relative of mineral spirits. Both paint thinner (OMS) and Naphtha are petroleum distillates. Naphtha has a lower flash point, and dries faster as I said. Other closely-related products are white gas used in camp stoves and kerosene.

Naphtha should be in your oil painting kit. Like OMS, it’s odorless.

In this painting, The Fair, I used naphtha in the two large rightmost figures.


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