Linseed or walnut? Which painting oil should you choose?

Linseed or walnut? Which painting oil should you choose?

Our in-house oil painting expert, Christina Bingle, explains the differences between painting oils and how to use them to best effect.

Linseed oil

The traditional oil painter’s oil, for thinning the consistency of paint or for detailed work towards the finished surface of the painting. [‘Fat over lean’ meaning the application of oilier paint over paint thinned with turpentine]. Refined linseed oil is pale in colour and increases gloss and transparency. It slows the drying time of paint. It is extracted using heat and then refined to remove any impurities.

We sell a range of linseed oils which you can search for in our website search bar. Michael Harding Refined Lindseed Oil is very good.

Cold pressed linseed oil

This oil is darker but doesn’t change. It is used as a binder with pigments for paint making. It gives a hard, gloss finish. Like good olive oil, it is extracted from the Linseeds without using heat.

We can recommend Spectrum Cold Pressed Linseed Oil.

Linseed stand oil

This oil is thickened by being heated, and is used in recipes for paint mediums, and for glazing. It dries slowly and smooths out brush marks for a uniform finish.

We can recommend Michael Harding Refined Linseed Stand Oil.

Poppy oil

A pale, slow drying oil which adds a buttery texture to the paint. It dries more slowly than linseed oil, and is good for mixing pale colours such as whites, yellows and light blues. This type of oil is best used for thin applications of paint. Thick paint can crack when completely dry if poppy oil has been used.

We recommend Michael Harding Refined Poppy Oil

For more information about Michael Harding Oils and Mediums, click here.

Walnut oil

This oil has a glossy finish, is pale in colour and yellows less over time than linseed oil. Walnut oil is faster drying than poppy oil and is often used for whites, pale blues and yellows. It doesn’t keep as long as other oils, and can ‘go off’ in storage.

Kremer Walnut Oil is a good choice.

To browse our full range of Fine Artist Materials, click here.

Please contact us at any time and we can answer your questions. All of our staff are practising artists and are here to help you at whatever stage you are at.