Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sun-Struck Sapling and tips for using refined linseed oil as a medium

Sun-Struck Sapling, L. Daniel, 8 x 6, SOLD


Back at the Wimberley creekside, this small cypress sapling caught the brilliant mid-day light. It looked so beautiful against the purple gray limestone shadows. I loved it's simple but dramatic pose.


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Using Refined Linseed Oil as a Medium:
One of my readers asked me to talk about using Refined Linseed Oil as a medium instead of Turpentine mixes or Liquin. She has been experiencing some allergic reactions to solvents and is making the switch. Here is the thing about solvents and allergies: while not everyone is bothered, some people are completely debilitated. Still others begin to experience allergic reactions after years of use. Even the odorless mineral spirits are toxic - the fumes are there even though you can't smell them. So be really careful if you are using them. 


I learned to paint using linseed oil (I use the "refined") and have never missed solvents. If you are interested in trying it, here are some pointers:
 - Place linseed oil in small cup on palette - you only need a small amount
 - Dip just the tip of your brush in it, add a little as you go and mix in completely
 - Use it only to emulsify paint for an even flow (so all pigments are same consistency)
 - Do NOT use it for washes - you won't be able to paint back in and it will take a long time to dry
 - If you like a toned canvas, consider pre-toning with an acrylic wash in your preferred color
 - I don't clean my brushes as I paint - I wipe them out with paper towel as necessary to keep the color clean
 - I use lots of brushes - typically one for each basic color in the painting (since I am not swishing)
 - Brush cleaning - at the end of a session, I clean my brushes with warm water and Masters Soap (also a great conditioner - make a thin paste of the Masters Soap and reshape the tips)
 - Other options are walnut oil and poppyseed oil - I've not tried them but hear they are good choices


Like anything, it takes practice to gain mastery but it's worth it. Most of my students who try it never go back to solvents. I know we all want to be painting for a long, long time, so paint smartly. And good luck!

11 comments:

Kathy Cousart said...

Laurel- This painting is gorgeous! Love the way you captured the sunshine on the tree. Just beautiful against the background color.
What a wonderful and informative post. Thanks for sharing such good information and tips on how to paint with linseed oil. So many of us don't know that there are other alternatives. Appreciate your sharing and have found it very easy to switch!

Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

LOVE this tree in the painting - what a pop of color! I've heard good things about Linseed Oil, but you have to be really aware that you cannot keep rags or paper towels with it on them around. I'm a 'swisher', and I like to use a few brushes, but it may be something new to try.... how do you clean your brushes out at the end of the session? I'm thinking they'll be chock full of paint. I thought, at first, Murphy's Oil Soap, but you also don't want to be washing the toxic chemicals (cadmium, cobalt, etc) down the drain... Interesting to find out...

Carol Schiff Studio said...

Laurel, Gorgeous painting and you made the most of it with the gold leaves against a purply/blue background. Awesome!

Thanks for the tips on linseed oil.

Randy Saffle said...

Heck..crud...darn it! I missed out on this painting. I wanted it the day you painted it and should have asked then. :?(

mike rooney studios said...

ive been using cooking oil for years, when i realized i was exposed to fumes 24 hours a day. i dip the dirty brush in it, wipe most of the paint out of the brush on a paper towel and then swish the brush really well again. then wipe dry. works great and no solvents. thanks for telling us how you do it with linseed oil.

Sharon L. Graves said...

I tried painting in oils years ago, but I knew there had to be fumes in odorless thinner because I canfeel it. I have some serious lung issues so I switched to acrylics. Thanks for the greal info even though it won't really help me.

Love the painting. I love the contrasts and the beautiful leaves.

Julie Hill said...

Laurel...a wonderful piece today. No wonder it is SOLD.

Anne Winthrop Cordin said...

Beautiful painting! One of my teachers at the Lyme Academy swears by baby oil and never uses any solvents.Thanks for your info on linseed oil.

jennifer woodburn said...

These colours are fantastic! Thanks for the tips.

Laurel Daniel said...

Thanks guys - so glad this info was helpful. Thanks for all the alternatives you added recommended - cooking oil and baby oil... love it. :)

Lorraine Shirkus said...

This is so striking! Love your color and energy!