Linseed Oil

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Linseed Oil

What is linseed oil medium and do I have to use it?


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Question: What is linseed oil medium and do I have to use it?



Linseed oil dries to a glossy, flexible film and has excellent adhesion properties. For this reason, linseed oil is the most commonly used binder in oil paint and it also makes an excellent medium for extending oil paint. Linseed oil will increase gloss, loosen stiff oil colours, and allow you to control the transparency of the paint for techniques such as glazing. Diluting oil paint with artist solvents, such as turpentine or mineral spirits, is not recommended because it weakens the paint film, especially in the upper layers of a painting. An oil medium, whether linseed oil or another drying oil (such as safflower, poppy seed or walnut oil), is better than using solvents because it extends the paint without underbinding it. Linseed oil is the fastest drying of all of the drying oils, but it still takes a long time to dry. Many oil painting mediums use linseed oil as well as an added drying agent to speed drying and allow the artist to work faster. For more information about oil paint and oil mediums, read our Oil Painting Guide 



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