Why do people use linseed oil when painting with oil based paint?

When painting with oil paints on canvas, why do people use linseed oil?

5 Answers

  • M T
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Oil paint is basically pigment and an oil acting as the vehicle for pigment. Oil contributes a translucent quality to paint. Using oil as the binder/vehicle, pigment appears more vibrant than with any other vehicle. Linseed oil is one of the most common oils used in premixed oil paint. Other oils are walnut, safflower and poppy. Each has different characteristics. You can mix these oils with one another and adjust their individual properties.

    When linseed oil is added to the paint at the time of application it is usually to increase flow and/or transparency without compromising the strength of the paint layer. This can be done two ways. One can mix the oil directly into the paint mixture as a medium. One can also use a technique called "painting into a couch" where a thin layer of oil is rubbed onto the area to be painted then the paint is brushed into this oil.

    People sometimes believe using a solvent like mineral spirits or turpentine is the only way to thin or increase the flow of the paint. Oil can also be used however there is a distinct difference. A solvent will evaporate leaving a layer of paint with its original ratio of oil to pigment. When paint is thinned with additional oil, the oil ratio remains adjusted and on the fat or high concentration of oil side of the scale. For this reason using additional oil should be limited to the outer layers of paint and never the lower or underlayers. This will help prevent creating a situation where the paint wrinkles or cracks.

    Additional oil also increases transparency of the paint and is therefore useful when using glazing techniques.

    One other reason to add linseed oil is to level the paint. Leveling is a situation where the paint flattens out after the brushstroke is applied to the surface. The opposite of leveling would be impasto where the stroke retains its form after being applied to the canvas.

    Adding linseed oil to a paint mixture does not thicken the mixture. The only oil that thickens a mixture is Stand oil. Stand oil is used as a medium and is never used as the primary vehicle for pigment. Because it is so thick Stand oil is usually thinned with a solvent when being used as a medium.

  • ramal
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Linseed Oil Based Paint

  • 1 decade ago

    I am not a fan of linseed oil, and I only use it after I am done with a painting to put on top of shinny objects like a glass bottle.

    I may also use it all over the painting when it is dry if I want a shinny effect.

    Most people use it to extend the paint.

  • Linseed oil makes the paint easier to 'work' ... it will slow down the dry time,too.

    Source(s): professional artist
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It is used in a similar way as water is used for other paints. It helps to mix and blend colours/ thicken the colour already made.

    Source(s): regular painter with oils.
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