Oil Painting Mediums

Oil painting has been considered as one of the most popular methods of art. It is the process of painting using pigments that are mixed with a medium of drying oil. In the past, the most popular drying oil used by most painters was linseed oil which was boiled with a resin. This was then called as varnish and was highly valued for their excellent gloss and finish. Other types of drying oils used include poppyseed, walnut, and safflower oil. Different oils provide different properties to the oil paint and may depend on the painter to which one to use in order to create the type of artwork that the painter has in mind.

Linseed oil is taken from the seeds of the flax plant. It is usually the drying oil of choice because of its excellent properties. Pigments added to the oils are made glossier and they dry very thoroughly when used. This makes linseed oil great for underpainting the initial layers of an artwork. A more refined linseed oil variety is usually an all purpose oil that is pale or yellowish and color and dries within three to five days. There is also the cold-pressed linseed oil variety that can dry slightly faster and is considered today as the best linseed oil to use in terms of quality.

Stand oil, on the other hand, is a thicker kind of linseed oil with a slower drying time. It may take a week for the stand oil to dry. It is most ideal for use as a glaze when mixed with a solvent such as turpentine. It produces a smooth and enamel like finish to artworks absent of visible brush marks.  There is also the sun thickened linseed oil which is made by exposing the linseed oil under the sun in order to make a thick and syrupy type of bleached oil. The sun thickened linseed oil may have the same brushing quality as that experienced in using stand oil. The advantage of stand oil and sun thickened linseed oil is that they have a slight tendency to turn to yellow in time as compared to other types of linseed oils.

Another type of oil painting medium being used is the poppyseed oil. It is usually a very pale oil and is less likely to turn yellow than the popular linseed oil. That is why it is usually the oil medium used for white and other pale colors. The only drawback is that poppyseed oil may take longer to dry than linseed oil. As this medium can dry for a week or more, it is ideal for use when the painter is working "wet on wet".

Walnut oil is another drying oil medium used in oil paintings and is characterized by its pale yellow-brown color. It is also known for its distinctive smell and is a thinner type of oil than the other drying oil mediums. Walnut oils are usually used to make some oil paints become more fluid. It also has a lesser tendency to yellow than linseed oil and is therefore also good for use with pale colors. It can dry for about four to five days. Its only drawback is that it can be quite expensive and may require a different method of storage, otherwise it might go sour. Other known oil painting drying oils include safflower and sunflower oil which may have the same characteristics as poppyseed oils

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