Learning to mix oil paint is one of the first steps to getting into oil painting. Various factors are taken into consideration, such as the type of paint you are using and the desired outcome you would like.
This article will discuss the various methods for mixing linseed oil with oil paint. By understanding the different methods, you can better customise your mixes to achieve the results you are looking for.
What is Linseed Oil?
Oil paints have been the preferred medium for centuries because of their lush pigments and gleaming sheen. However, there is a way to improve the appearance and quality of oil paints: by adding linseed oil.
Linseed oil is a type of oil that is extracted from the flax plant. It is often used as an additive in paints because it helps extend the drying time, allowing for more blending and mixing. This is especially useful in areas you want to shade or blend because it gives you more time to work with the paint.
In fact, linseed oil has been used since the 12th century as a medium to mix with oil paints. Linseed oil was originally used as a paint binder, and artists would often mix it with their paints to create their unique colours. However, it was later discovered that linseed oil is a great binder and can also help improve the appearance and quality of oil paints.
Why Is It Important To Blend Oil Paints?
You can always use the oil paints straight from the tube, but if you want to create a more realistic painting, you will need to blend different colours. This is where linseed oil comes in handy because it helps to extend the drying time of the paint so that you can work with it longer.
Linseed oil is also considered a medium or substance used to mix with the paint to change its properties, such as colour, texture, or viscosity. Adding linseed oil increases the fluidity of the paint and makes it easier to blend. It also helps to add a sheen or lustre to the colour, giving your painting a rich and shiny appearance.
On the other hand, solvents are the substances used to thin the paint to a very liquid state since they have low viscosity. However, solvents can rapidly dry the paint and should only be used when you want to achieve a very thin and transparent layer of paint. The common solvents used in the painting are turpentine and mineral spirits.
The majority of the artists mix both linseed oil and turpentine to their oil paints to create desired effects. In this way, the linseed oil can help smoothen the paint, making it easier to blend with other colours.
So How Much Linseed Oil Do I Mix?
There are two ways to add linseed oil with paint: adding it directly to the paint or mixing it with turpentine.
Linseed Oil + Paint
The proper ratio of linseed oil to paint usually is 1-2 drops to each paint colour to make it more vibrant.
Add the linseed oil in the middle of your palette and mix it well. It is important to add the same amount of medium to each colour so that your final product is consistent. Remember not to add too much linseed oil at once, as it can make the paint challenging to work with.
Linseed Oil + Turpentine + Paint
It would be best to prepare a measuring cup, a container for your mixture, and a mixing tool before getting started. You will need to add different amounts of linseed oil depending on the number of solutions you need. We will use “parts” to measure this.
Measure out one part of linseed oil and put it in a container. Then measure out two parts of turpentine and add them to the same container. Using the mixing tool, mix the paint and linseed oil. Cover the container and let it sit for a few days.
Linseed oil is a thick liquid that the two liquids will not combine quickly; hence, it takes days to mix thoroughly. You can turn the container on the side or on its top every day to help speed up the process.
Do I Need To Add Turpentine To Linseed Oil?
Linseed oil can be used as a standalone medium, but adding turpentine will help to improve the appearance and quality of your paintings.
People mainly use turpentine for their base layers and linseed oil for their top layers, because it is difficult to mix them correctly. Although the end product of combining linseed oil and turpentine beforehand will be the same, the detail by mixing these two is often overlooked in base layers.
Substitutes for Linseed Oil
Undoubtedly, linseed oil is the traditional medium used by artists to mix with their oil paints. However, few substitutes can be used in a pinch.
- Safflower Oil: Safflower Oil may be used to grind pale pigments since it has such a light colour that it will not significantly alter the colour of the paint. It is one of the most refined oils for producing white, blue, and other pastel-coloured oil paints.
- Poppy Oil: Poppy oil is a synthetic oil designed initially to imitate the properties of linseed oil. It has a creamy feel to it. Poppy oil takes longer to dry than linseed oil and is fantastic for mixing pale hues like whites, yellows, and light blues.
- Walnut Oil: Many artists who are allergic to some aspects of oil paints have turned to walnut oil as a medium. It is a natural alternative to linseed oil and is available in most art stores. It can be added to paint in the same way as linseed or stand oil. It’s also effective at removing paint build-up from brushes.
Linseed oil is a natural product that has been used for centuries to protect and preserve paintings. You can mix it with your paint to prevent cracking, yellowing, and fading of the painting over time. A few substitutes can be used in a pinch, but linseed oil is the best option for that lush and sheen finish of your painting.