What Is The Best Glazing Medium For Oil Painting – Tested

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If you’re an artist, you know that the quality of your work depends on the quality of your materials. But what is the best glazing medium for oil painting? 

I’ve tested a few popular glazing mediums to see how they perform: Linseed oil, Walnut oil, Poppyseed oil, Stand oil, Galkyd, and Damar varnish (mixed with a paint thinner).

Read on to find out why Linseed oil is my preferred glazing medium for oil painting.

If you want to know more about glazing art then have a look at The Truth About Glazing Art. Everything Explained Easy.

Why Linseed Oil is the Best Glazing Medium for Oil Painting

There are a few reasons why I prefer to use linseed oil as my glazing medium of choice:

1. It dries slowly, giving me more time to work with the paint.

2. It’s less likely to yellow over time than other oils but can yellow.

3. It creates a smooth, even finish and is less gritty.

4. It’s relatively inexpensive and can be easily purchased anywhere good art supplies are available.

Finally, I have been using Linseed oil since 1988 and have a long relationship with this oil compared to the other mediums.

If you’re looking for the best glazing medium for oil painting, give linseed oil a try! You might just find that it’s the perfect medium for you.

Any brand of linseed oil will do. I tend to stick with the more traditional brands like the ones below as I know they have a long track record of creating quality products that have been proven to last the ages.

Winsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Mediums Linseed Oil, 250ml, 8 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)

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Winsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Mediums Linseed Oil, 250ml, 8 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
  • This oil reduces the consistency and improves flow of artisan oil colours
  • It also increases gloss and transparency, slows drying
  • Can be cleaned up with water

Is linseed oil Cold pressed or refined oil?

Linseed oil is available in both cold pressed and refined varieties. Cold pressed linseed oil is made from the first pressing of the flax seeds and has a darker color. Refined linseed oil is made from the second pressing of the flax seeds and has a lighter color.

I prefer to use cold pressed linseed oil because I like the color it imparts to my paintings. However, some artists prefer refined linseed oil because it dries faster than cold pressed linseed oil. Ultimately, it’s up to you what type of linseed oil you use in your painting. Try both types and see what works best for you!

Royal Talens Cobra Artists' Water Mixable Oil Glazing Medium, 75ml (24281092)

What are the benefits of using linseed oil as a glazing medium?

Linseed oil has a number of benefits as a glazing medium. First, it dries slowly, which gives you more time to work with your paint. Second, it imparts a beautiful shine to your paintings. Third, it increases the durability of your paintings. fourth, it makes your colors more vibrant.

There are also some drawbacks to using linseed oil as a glazing medium.

First, if you use too much linseed oil, your painting will be sticky.

Second, linseed oil can yellow over time. Finally, linseed oil is flammable, so be sure to use it in a well-ventilated area. Actually, I recommend a well-ventilated area any time you are painting with oil paints.

While it can be flammable, once it has dried and oxidized there is no longer any residual risk of a fire.

Is linseed oil toxic?

The short answer is no. Linseed oil is not toxic. The longer answer is that it depends on what form of linseed oil you are using. Cold-pressed linseed oil is non-toxic, but heat-processed linseed oil can release toxins into the air. If you are using heat-processed linseed oil, I recommend using it in a well-ventilated area.

I have heard that some artists add a little bit of cobalt drier to their linseed oil to speed up the drying time. Is this safe?

Yes, adding a small amount of cobalt drier to your linseed oil is perfectly safe. In fact, it is a common practice among oil painters that helps speed up not only the drying of oil mediums but also oil paintings but is provides little value to glazing an oil painting unless you want to reduce the drying time between glazing each layer.

Isn’t stand oil the same as linseed oil?

No, stand oil is not the same as linseed oil. Stand oil is a type of drying oil that is derived from petroleum. It has a much higher viscosity than linseed oil and dries to a hard, glossy finish.

Is linseed oil a solvent?

No, linseed oil is not a solvent. It is a drying oil, meaning that it will slowly harden and become non-tacky when exposed to air. But I do have to admit in times when I have not had access to clean paint thinner I have used linseed oil to keep the brushes ‘wet’ after wiping off as much paint as I could with a rag and then washed the brushes with a linseed oil soap and washed them under warm water, lathering up the soap and washing clean.

What makes linseed oil better than other types of glazing mediums for oil painting?

I will list the reasons why the other types of glazing mediums did not come up at the top for me as a glazing medium for oil painting. That said if you have one of these they are ok to use. I just would not use them as a glazing medium if I had access to Linseed oil.

  • Walnut oil – This oil was not as effective as a glazing medium for my liking. It took too long to dry and it also made the paint thinner and runnier.
  • Poppyseed oil – This oil was actually pretty good for a glazing medium as it did not yellow. My issue with it is that it took too long to dry and dried a little too brittle.
  • Stand oil – this is basically a thicker version of linseed oil. It is the same thing but a slower drying oil.
  • Galkyd – it dries way too quickly for my liking but I do have to admit I have used it when I have had time pressures to complete and deliver an oil painting.
  • Damar varnish – This is universally agreed by artists that you should not use damar varnish mixed with stand oil or other oils to create a glaze. I only added Damar varnish with oil as in my younger years, I was guilty of doing exactly this until I was taught what not to do. It makes the oil paint dry badly, discolors it over time, and can lead to early cracking within the paint layers.
  • Blending & Glazing Medium – You can also purchase ready-made glazing mediums such as those made by Winsor and Newton. These are either simple medium blends or specialized products such as Liquin which also helps with the drying process of oil paints.

Winsor & Newton Blending & Glazing Medium, 75ml

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Winsor & Newton Blending & Glazing Medium, 75ml
  • Winsor & newton blending and glazing medium reduces the consistency and slows the drying rate of oil and alkyd colors
  • Developed for painting techniques and can be used like a 1-2-4 medium for blending, glazing, stroke work, antiquing and staining
  • Conforms to astm d4236
  • Combustible, keep away from heat and flame
  • Comes in 75-ml bottle

Winsor & Newton Liquin Light Gel Medium, 75ml (2.5-oz) bottle

Winsor & Newton Liquin Light Gel Medium, 75ml (2.5-oz) bottle
  • This quick drying gloss medium offers a slight gel that brushes out smoothly and is ideal for a non-drip effect when mixed with color
  • Speeds drying time
  • Ideal for glazing
  • Resists yellowing
  • Not suitable as a varnish or final coat

What Is The Best Glazing Medium For Oil Painting – Wrap up!

So what is the best glazing medium for oil painting? The answer, in my opinion, is linseed oil. You can buy it ready-made at most art supply stores and will work with all types of oil paints from the most expensive to the cheapest brands.

The other types of oil paint mediums will work just fine and it comes down to how fast or slow you paint and how thick or thin you want your oil paint glazes to be.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions or comments please contact me via the ‘Contact Us’ form and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Sources

Cover image – Linseed Oil – https://createlet.com by Createlet

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