Drying Oils for Oil Painting
These are seed & nut oils that oxidise/polymerise to form a hard film when exposed to air. They are used as the binder in artist’s oil paints, to mix with paints as mediums and to clean brushes without using solvent to help retain moisture in brush hairs.
Refined Linseed Oil –
A popular and traditional oil made from the seeds of the flax plant, used to make mediums for oil painting.
- Increases gloss and transparency
- Dries solidly, throughout the oil film, making it very stable and permanent
- Ideal for underpainting/initial layers in a painting
- Dries within 3-5 days
- Very pale light yellow in colour, may have slight colour influence on whites/pale colours
- Mix with solvents in equal measure (or more oil than solvent depending on your preference) to make a versatile oil painting medium which flows and dries glossy.
Brands available: Jackson’s, Winsor & Newton, Daler-Rowney, C. Roberson & Co, Pip Seymour, Zest-it as well as water mixable versions by Holbein (Duo-Aqua) and Winsor & Newton (Artisan)
Alkali Refined Safflower Oil –
Impurities have been removed to minimise the yellowing of the oil over time.
- Pale coloured alkali refined oil with little tendency to yellow.
- Favoured for use with whites and blues.
- Longer drying time than linseed oil.
Brands available: C. Roberson & Co and a water-mixable version by Winsor & Newton (Artisan)
Linseed Stand Oil –
Made by heating the oil without air at very high temperatures. This partly polymerises the oil, making it thicker in consistency.
- Paler, more viscous oil than refined linseed oil
- Slows drying
- Gives tough elastic finish
- Mix with turps or white spirit to help colour flow and reduce brushmarks
- Ideal component in a glaze medium
- Its viscosity means one can use it to paint using impasto techniques knowing that the paint will not wrinkle and it will dry in a more stable manner than when just applying the colour thicker or with more regular linseed oil added to it.
- It yellows less than refined linseed oil
Brands available: C. Roberson & Co, Zest-it, Pip Seymour as well was water miscible versions by Winsor and Newton Artisan and Holbein Duo-Aqua
- Very pale yellow brown oil
- Excellent resistance to yellowing and cracking, yellows less than linseed oil over time
- Dries faster than safflower and poppy oils but is equally favoured for using with whites and pale blue hues
Brands available: C. Roberson & Co
- A clear oil medium to mix with and reduce light colours
- Less inclined to yellow than linseed Oil, but slower drying
- Enhances gloss and flow, but too high a proportion prevents the colour from thoroughly drying.
- Should only be used for the final layers of a painting, and only in moderation (mixed with solvents)
Brands available: Daler-Rowney, Winsor & Newton
- High quality, slightly yellow
- Extracted without the use of heat
- Increases gloss and transparency and reduces brushmarks
- Highly recommended for grinding pigments
- Cold pressed Linseed oil is the least brittle form of linseed oil, very stable, dries thoroughly, least yellowing but more expensive than regular linseed oil
Brands available: C. Roberson & Co, Zest-it, Pip Seymour
Click on the underlined links to go to those oils on the Jackson’s Art Supplies website. Below each type of oil we list the brands available from Jackson’s.
The Oil Painting Mediums Department on the Jackson’s website.