I’m an artist, so I know the importance of having the right tools for the job.
Different supplies can make or break a work of art, and that’s why I was intrigued when I came across the debate of Liquin vs Linseed Oil.
Some people swear by one or the other, but does one really have an edge over the other?
If you’re looking for an oil based medium that’s less expensive and can be used to create different finishes, then linseed oil is a better choice.
But if you’re looking for an oil paint that dries quickly and provides a high-gloss finish, then Liquin is the better choice.
Test the products for yourself and see which one you prefer.
What are Liquin and Linseed oil?
Liquin is a brand of medium made by Winsor & Newton. Liquin is a clear, colorless medium with a low viscosity.
Liquin is made from alkyd resin and mineral spirits which means it’s not an oil-based medium.
Linseed oil is an oil derived from the flax plant. Linseed oil is used as a binding agent in paints and varnishes.
It has a long history of being used by artists as a medium in oil painting.
Both are used by artists who paint in oil paints as a way to thin the paint, make it dry faster, and create different finishes and glazes when mixed with small amounts of oil paints.
Liquin vs Linseed Oil
Why is there a comparison needed between Liquin and Linseed oil if they both have different purposes? The answer is in the oil painting process and the final product.
Some artists like to use Liquin because it dries faster than Linseed oil. It can also be used as a glazing medium. When used in small amounts, it doesn’t change the color of the paint.
Liquin is an alkyd resin, while Linseed oil is oil. Alkyd resins are not compatible with oil paints, while oils are.
Linseed oil, on the other hand, takes longer to dry but it gives a more natural look to the paint. It can also be used as a varnish.
Liquin should not be used as a varnish layer on a finished oil painting. Use a specialized varnish for this purpose.
Additionally, as Liquin dries to a plastic coat, you typically do not require a varnish as it tends to dry glossy or semi-gloss.
I like to think of Liquin this way.. it turns oil paintings into acrylic paintings.
Can I use linseed oil over Liquin?
The short answer is yes. You can paint over each layer and alternating layer once they are dry.
You can also treat Liquin as paint thinner where you have mixed a tiny bit of linseed oil and Liquin together and then add some color.
The only problem I found was that if the Liquin layer had dried, it was like trying to paint over a plastic-coated canvas.
If I applied oil paint too thinly (thinned with too much linseed oil or I used a cheap oil paint that had too much oil) then I would find that the paint would ‘run away’ or separate.
Liquin is an alkyd resin, which means that while it may be compatible with oil paints, it is a type of plastic once dry.
This means you can’t remove it or change it once it has hardened. It changes the state of the oil paint from a dried pigment to a pigment covered in plastic.
Linseed oil, on the other hand, is totally compatible with oil paints. You can use it as a glaze or a varnish.
Can you use too much Liquin?
Yes and no (sorry about that fence sitting answer), if you use too much Liquin, it dries out the paint too quickly and can make it brittle.
At the same time if you use mostly liquin mixed with oil paint you can use it to apply a glaze quite effectively.
If you need to use Liquin in larger quantities, do it one layer at a time. Apply the layer of Liquin, let it dry (in less than a day), and then apply another layer.
You can tell when Liquin is dry by simply and lightly touching the layer with a finger. If it does not leave a hint of colored paint then it is touch dry.
How Liquin is more effective than Linseed Oil
- Liquin is more effective than Linseed oil because it dries up to 25% faster than traditional oil-based mediums.
- This means that you can apply multiple coats in a shorter period of time, which can be helpful if you’re working to a deadline.
- In addition, Liquin creates a harder surface, which can be beneficial if you’re trying to protect your artwork from scratches or other damage. The reason for the harder surface is that because Liquin is an alkyd resin, it dries like a plastic layer.
- When using Liquin, I find that the colors remain true to their original hue.
- Liquin also doesn’t yellow over time like linseed oil can.
- Liquin dries faster than linseed oil. This is because it is not an oil-based medium.
- Liquin can be mixed with oil paints to create a range of different finishes. It can be used to create a high gloss finish or a matte finish.
- Liquin dries faster than linseed oil, so you can get to work on your painting sooner.
- Liquin also provides a high-gloss finish, which some artists prefer.
- And because liquin is less viscous than linseed oil, it’s easier to apply evenly to your painting surface.
- When used in the correct ratios, Liquin based oil paintings will not crack.
If you prefer a Liquin that is a little lighter and thinner than the original Liquin (it tends to be quite thick) then there is also Liquin Light which feels more like a linseed oil but still behaves like normal Liquin.
How Linseed oil is more effective than Liquin
- Linseed oil is less expensive than liquin.
- Linseed oil comes in all sizes, brands, and costs. Liquin is an exclusive Winsor & Newton product.
- Linseed oil can also be used to create different finishes, but it will take longer to dry and may yellow over time.
- Yellowing takes a long long time so do not panic. I have 30-year-old paintings that I used linseed oil on and they have yet to yellow.
- Linseed oil is more effective than liquin at creating a matte finish if you mix it with a paint thinner.
- You can still blend oil paints while the painted layers are drying if you realized you made a mistake or want to re-activate the paint to work further. Liquin will not allow you to do this once it is touch dry.
- Linseed oil has been used for hundreds of years and we know that it is durable. Liquin was made in the 1970s and time will tell how well it lasts (I expect it will outperform oils unless the resin starts to break down over time.
Linseed oil comes in all shapes, sizes and brands.
I’ve tested both products and my findings are that Liquin is more effective if you are an artist who needs or likes to work quickly and likes to finish their paintings fast.
As linseed oil takes longer to dry (it actually oxidizes rather than dries), it is perfect for artists who like to work their oil paints over a period of time.
Both are easy to clean with paint thinner and soap.
I will continue to Linseed oil as I am a creature of habit and I like the traditionalness of using Linseed oils as part of my mediums.
I will use Liquin in future for when I need to complete paintings fast and need something that will dry quickly.
Joseph Colella (Joe Colella) is an Editor and Writer at WastedTalentInc. As a frustrated artist with over 40 years experience making art (who moonlights as a certified Business Analyst with over 20 years of experience in tech).
While Joseph holds a Diploma in Information Technology, in true wasted talent fashion he spent years applying for various Art degrees; from the Accademia di Belle Arti (Napoli), to failing to get into the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) at the University of Western Sydney.
While he jokes about his failures at gaining formal art qualifications, as a self-taught artist he has had a fruitful career in business, technology and the arts making Art his full time source of income from the age of 18 until 25.
His goal is to attend the Julian Ashton School of Art at The Rocks Sydney when he retires from full time work. Joseph’s art has been sold to private collectors all over the world from the USA, Europe and Australasia.
He is a trusted source for reliable art advice and tutorials to copyright/fair use advice and is committed to helping his readers make informed decisions about making them a better artist.