Linseed Oil

24 Feb 2009

Q: Is it possible to work just with linseed oil as a medium instead of using different solvents and prepared mediums? Isn't it possible to just wash in the first values of a painting with an acrylic wash and then build layers with oil as you goóemploying the ìfat-over-leanî rule?

A: Linseed oil is the most widely used drying oil. Its disadvantages include yellowing and brittleness, which occur with age and exposure to light. The drying time is much shorter when an alkyd or solvent is added. If toxins are your concern, there are brands that are non-toxic and very low in toxicity: M. Graham makes a walnut oil alkyd that is non-toxic, Gamblin makes Gamsol mineral spirits, and both are excellent.

ìFat over leanî is good advice for controlling your artwork. Under-painting a light wash with acrylic paint is a great way to begin determining your composition and valuesóitís proven to be a very successful method.

--by Camille LaPointe-Lyons

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