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Old 10-29-2004, 03:08 PM
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RhiannonJ RhiannonJ is offline
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Linseed Oil vs. Stand Oil

I've never really used mediums before and they've always been somewhat of a mystery to me. I've been doing a lot of research about them lately because I plan on using them when I get started on "Ophelia".

After reading Bill Martin's article "Glazing Tuitty Fruity" I noticed that in his LEAN layer he uses 5 parts Turpentine (or Oil of Spike), 1 part Damar Varnish (or Venice Turpentine) and 1 part Stand Oil. In his topmost layers he replaces the Stand Oil with Linseen Oil and I was curious as to why.

I mean, what's the difference between the two? Stand Oil is so thick so it would be my first impression that it would be "fatter" than Linseen Oil. And then you've got multudious *types* of Linseed Oil... refined, cold pressed, bleached, etc, etc. Lordy, LORDY this can be confusing!

I've ordered some venice turpentine but would like to begin my underpainting before it arrives. (I'm getting ansy. ) Would using 5 parts turp with 1 part Stand Oil be okay? OR should I use Linseed (refined) Oil instead? Also, I want to glaze over this so how long should it be allowed to dry?

Thanks for your help ya'll!

Rhi
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Old 10-29-2004, 05:47 PM
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Re: Linseed Oil vs. Stand Oil

Okay, c'mon you glazing experts. I know you're out there!

Rhi
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Old 10-29-2004, 07:25 PM
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Re: Linseed Oil vs. Stand Oil

Rhi,

Aha!! I've been waiting for some inquisitive oil painter to question the Stand Oil/Linseed Oil ingredients in the mediums that I suggested in my glazing article.

To begin the explanation, it is important to consider one basic premise, and that is that a medium is mainly used for one purpose: to make the paint handle more easily or, shall I say, properly (the way you'd like it to handle).

It is also important that a medium containing Linseed Oil (or Stand Oil, which is also Linseed Oil) as an ingredient, be composed of a greater ratio of oil to solvent, as the more upper layers are applied. This is the "fat over lean" concept, and, if followed, helps to prevent us from applying a faster drying medium (solvents dry fast) over a slower drying medium (oils dry slowly).

However, the characteristic of "easy handling" needs to remain relatively the same, from layer to layer. We can do this by using a thicker Linseed Oil (Stand Oil) for the extreme dilution with Turpentine for the "lean" layer (5 parts Turpentine), which is the first layer to be laid down on the canvas.

As we get toward the more upper layers, we need to have more oil content in the medium, in order to obey the "fat over lean" principle; but.......we do not need to sacrifice paint handling, in order to do so. A thicker, more viscous medium in the upper layers would not necessarily be considered an appropriate medium in terms of improved paint handling.

So, for the upper layers, we trade the thick oil (Stand Oil) for the thinner oil (Linseed Oil), and with the reduced amount of solvent (Turpentine), we end up having the same consistency of medium as we had when performing our more beginning layers. We therefore have created a medium with more oil and less solvent, which still retains the same handling characteristics of the more solvent/less oil medium that we used for the beginning layer(s). Make sense?

Just because Stand Oil is thicker in its nature does not mean that it literally "has more oil content" than regular Linseed Oil.

Hope that clears that up for you.

Bill
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Old 10-29-2004, 07:55 PM
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Re: Linseed Oil vs. Stand Oil

I would not consider myself an expert on the subject but
just offer a few humble observations Ive made over the years
using stand oil almost exclusively.Stand oil Is heated linseed oil.
It's very heavy and I reduce it with mineral spirits.It
has for my way of painting many desirable characteristics.
I really like it in glazes.It drys to an incredibly hard finish which
looks very nice after varnishing.
I don't think it works as well if your going for rich juicy impasto strokes.
It tends to flatten out brush work.At least thats how I see it.
All of the paintings on my web site were done with stand oil.
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Old 10-29-2004, 08:34 PM
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Re: Linseed Oil vs. Stand Oil

Bill,

Thank you SO much for the info! Makes a lot of sense! But I still have a few questions. If I just use 5 parts turp to 1 part Stand Oil would that be sufficient for my underpainting? What kind of drying time would I be looking at until I can move on to glazing? I've ordered some venice turpentine but am kinda anxious to get started on Ophelia's underpainting. Another question, what characteristics does the venice turpentine hold? Does that make a difference in the drying time and the way following layer ... emm... adheres to the surface? SO many questions... but hey, this is the only way I'm going to learn.

With starting Ophelia I decided it was time to move on and move into a more indepth realm of painting. Well, that has led me to researching and finding so much info... I read and then that poses even more questions! This is really fascinating me and I've probably learned more over the last few days than I have during these last 12 months since I've been back into painting.

In reading more about underpaintings, glazes etc. I'm finding out more about transparent paints vs opaque paints and when you should use them and ohmygawd!!... the lights are coming on! I think I'm getting a better understanding of why you should use opaque paints for your underpainting because their "lean" and contain less "fat". Transparent paints are the fatty ones and should be kept for the upper layers or glazes because they contain more oil. So, knowing this, when you read about "short" and "long" paint... does that also have the same implication ... short=lean and long=fat?

Inquiring minds want to know? Please correct me if I am not seeing any of this right.

Rhi
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Last edited by RhiannonJ : 10-29-2004 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 10-29-2004, 08:50 PM
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Re: Linseed Oil vs. Stand Oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by xavier
I would not consider myself an expert on the subject but
just offer a few humble observations Ive made over the years
using stand oil almost exclusively.Stand oil Is heated linseed oil.
It's very heavy and I reduce it with mineral spirits.It
has for my way of painting many desirable characteristics.
I really like it in glazes.It drys to an incredibly hard finish which
looks very nice after varnishing.
I don't think it works as well if your going for rich juicy impasto strokes.
It tends to flatten out brush work.At least thats how I see it.
All of the paintings on my web site were done with stand oil.

Hmmm... stand oil flattens out brush work. Note made. This is all really fascinating. For the first time I think I'm beginning to actually understand a bit of all this medium mumbo-jumbo.

Rhi
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Old 10-30-2004, 12:17 AM
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Re: Linseed Oil vs. Stand Oil

xavier,

I am in total agreement with you regarding Stand Oil. It, mixed with either Turpentine or Mineral Spirits, is one of the finest mediums for oil painting that I can imagine. As far as I'm concerned, it would not be out of the question to use it for every layer, if you care to. The only difference from my technique is that as you get to the greater oil-to-solvent with Stand Oil, you also get thicker, as well.

Rhi,

Linseed Oil or Stand Oil mixed with Turpentine is truly a fine medium. It is not necessary to add any sort of resin or balsam at all, if you don't wish to do that. I add it, because it helps to prevent my next layer of medium/paint from beading up on the surface of the dried underpainting. But, simply rubbing and scrubbing the medium onto the dried paint layer, with either a brush or your finger, will counteract that beading tendency to some extent, as well. Some folks recommend rubbing an onion or garlic or other vegetables onto the surface for the same effect, but I'd rather have a painting that smells of Turpentine or Oil of Spike than of GARLIC, so I don't do that.

And, for anyone who may be skeptical regarding the addition of a resin to a painting medium, then simply choose not to. Resin does not impart any sort of secret "sparkle" or myterious "clarity", or "jewel-like" appearance. It's use is just to make the paint handle a bit better, and that is my singular reason for using it. I don't honestly know whether it affects the drying or not. I believe it may speed the drying a little bit.

Bill
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Old 10-30-2004, 09:25 AM
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Re: Linseed Oil vs. Stand Oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by WFMartin
xavier,

I am in total agreement with you regarding Stand Oil. It, mixed with either Turpentine or Mineral Spirits, is one of the finest mediums for oil painting that I can imagine. As far as I'm concerned, it would not be out of the question to use it for every layer, if you care to. The only difference from my technique is that as you get to the greater oil-to-solvent with Stand Oil, you also get thicker, as well.

Rhi,

Linseed Oil or Stand Oil mixed with Turpentine is truly a fine medium. It is not necessary to add any sort of resin or balsam at all, if you don't wish to do that. I add it, because it helps to prevent my next layer of medium/paint from beading up on the surface of the dried underpainting. But, simply rubbing and scrubbing the medium onto the dried paint layer, with either a brush or your finger, will counteract that beading tendency to some extent, as well. Some folks recommend rubbing an onion or garlic or other vegetables onto the surface for the same effect, but I'd rather have a painting that smells of Turpentine or Oil of Spike than of GARLIC, so I don't do that.

And, for anyone who may be skeptical regarding the addition of a resin to a painting medium, then simply choose not to. Resin does not impart any sort of secret "sparkle" or myterious "clarity", or "jewel-like" appearance. It's use is just to make the paint handle a bit better, and that is my singular reason for using it. I don't honestly know whether it affects the drying or not. I believe it may speed the drying a little bit.

Bill

Bill I think there may be some evidence that there is less yellowing
with stand oil.What's your opinion?
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Old 10-30-2004, 09:55 AM
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Re: Linseed Oil vs. Stand Oil

Bill,

Thanks for the info regarding the venice turp. I've got it ordered so I'll go ahead and do my underpainting with the stand oil and turp and then add the venice turp to the upper layers.

Could you address my question in my above post regarding transparent and opaque paint? I think I've got an understanding about it but would like some clarification. Also, is there a way of knowing which paints are transparent and which are opaque?

Rhi
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Old 10-30-2004, 09:55 AM
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Re: Linseed Oil vs. Stand Oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by xavier
Bill I think there may be some evidence that there is less yellowing
with stand oil.What's your opinion?

Yes, I believe it is claimed to not yellow as much as Linseed Oil.

Bill
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Old 10-30-2004, 10:24 AM
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Re: Linseed Oil vs. Stand Oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by xavier
Bill I think there may be some evidence that there is less yellowing
with stand oil.What's your opinion?
I'm not Bill, but I thought I'd toss into the discussion "sun thickened" linseed oil. It's supposed to yellow less because of the "sun bleaching" it has undergone, as I understand it.

Whichever form of linseed oil one uses, it is such a personal preference since, as Bill has pointed out,
Quote:
a medium is mainly used for one purpose: to make the paint handle more easily or, shall I say, properly (the way you'd like it to handle).
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Old 10-30-2004, 10:32 AM
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Re: Linseed Oil vs. Stand Oil

Hi all,
What a great subject!! and all the post from the experenced painters, Thanks.
I am going to the art supply store today for a few new sable brushes and some medium to enhance the oil paints I have. a few questions I have are

can I use the orderless thinner I have for thinning the mediums?

Do you thin the paints you are using just a little with the mix of medium & turp as you paint and mix as you go or mix the paint with mediium on your palatte and have it all ready?
and another ? comes to mind... I have an old tube of titanium white {grumbacher pre tested} which is very stiff from the tube. I would guess the tube is quite old? can I use the medium and bring it back to life?

does using medium slow or speed drying

Thanks Rodney
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Old 10-30-2004, 11:47 AM
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Re: Linseed Oil vs. Stand Oil

Hello Bill,

I've just started using stand oil after using other mediums for years. I normally prefer a thinner medium but am trying out stand oil for its leveling and "luminous" properties with paint.

When thinning out any medium, I have heard it said by three other well informed sources that one should not dilute the medium more than 20% or so, ie 80% stand oil-20% solvent. Do you agree? To maintain the same viscosity on the first paint layer however, some other means of thinning would be necessary that would be faster drying than the medium of the final 80-20 medium. Walnut oil is one means that has been suggested. What do you think?

I like the simplicity of using the same one medium throughout the painting, using more with each layer, but this would tend toward thicker paint layers initially and thinner ones later. I'll have to try this out after I finish experimenting with the proportions as I am doing now and trying to regulate the drying times.

Richard
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Old 10-30-2004, 11:49 AM
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Re: Linseed Oil vs. Stand Oil

Bill, another question.

So far, I have not done any oil paintings using more than three layers.

Should I still be concerned about the 'fat over lean' rule with so few layers? And, should I thus be working with 'fatter' media, as I progress to the second or third layer?

K
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Old 10-30-2004, 04:26 PM
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Re: Linseed Oil vs. Stand Oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Russell
Bill, another question.

So far, I have not done any oil paintings using more than three layers.

Should I still be concerned about the 'fat over lean' rule with so few layers? And, should I thus be working with 'fatter' media, as I progress to the second or third layer?

K

Keith,

You should try to observe the "fat over lean" rule regardless of how many layers you use. However, you should also be aware of the simple fact that it is perfectly sound practice to paint "fat over fat" or "lean over lean", as well. You don't need to simply change medium every time you begin working on another layer.

Another fact of which you must be aware, is that you may not always be working on an enitire layer at any given time. In other words, some parts of your painting may be perfectly completed with only two or three layers, whereas other areas of your surface may, in fact, require several MORE layers to bring them to completion. So, it's quite difficult to make a definite distinction exactly WHAT layer you may be applying when you are, let's say, halfway through your painting.

You'd go crazy trying to keep up with the "fat over lean" principle when you are in the midst of a painting, some parts of which may have 2 layers, and some others which may already have 5 or 6 layers. You certainly are not expected to change mediums for every few brushstrokes. To keep things on a common sense level, let's say for your intermediate "layer" or "layers", it is appropriate to use an "intermediate" medium (one that is neither excessively lean nor excessively fat), and to use that one medium throughout the intermediate layers. That works quite well.

And, the mixing of mediums need not be scientifically precise, by any stretch of the imagination. For example, halfway through a painting I may decide to mix up a bit fatter medium, so I do that, but I often just pour it into my little jar which still contains the last remnants of my "lean" mixture. So the two recipes mix; I figure that's alright, because I know it's "fatter" than it was before. Get the idea?

Then, as you near completion, and your applications become increasingly less and less in terms of total area covered, you may opt for the more fat (more oil) medium.

And, when I do a portrait, I use one medium throughout the entire layering process. For portrait work I have rather decided on my own, that it is important for me to have a medium which has the same consistency throughout the painting. Here, as with other paintigs, I apply many layers, but all using the same Linseed Oil/solvent/resin mix for each layer. This medium is a little more "runny" than those I use for landscapes or still lifes, but I also get by using a bit LESS of it, as well.

That is pretty much how I use mediums for the layered method that I employ.

Bill
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