Linseed oil is a yellow to amber coloured drying oil pressed from the dry ripe seeds of the Linseed plant (Linum Usitatissimum).
Linseed is a member of the family Linaceae of which there are over 120 species and one of the few plants that have true blue flowers. Linseed oil has been used for centuries in both paint and varnish, also in the making of linoleum, sailcloth, oilskins and some inks. The spent seeds after pressing produces ‘Linseed-oil cake’, this in the form of nuts and pellets becomes feed for farm animals.
The Flax plant fibres have been used for over 5000 years for the production of Linen, as cloth or canvas, finer forms as damask and lace. Coarser fibres give us twine and rope, fine fibres are used in paper, paper currency and cigarette paper. Its nectar feeds much of the insect world. It can also be found in health food shops as nutritional Flaxseed/Linseed oil. A wonderful little plant that serves many!
Our Linseed oil comes direct from a farm in the UK that produces Flaxseed/Linseed oil for dietary and culinary use. It is cold pressed to extract the oil without the use of heat, solvent or chemicals.
Our unrefined Cold-Pressed Linseed oil is filtered to remove any suspended mucilage or particulate and is ideal for use with oil paint or for grinding your own pigments. It is the suspended mucilage and particulate that turns ‘brown’ over time, not the oil itself, so the extra filtering gives an oil that is less prone to yellowing.
The oil has good wetting properties with dry pigments and is formed easily into a paste before grinding on a glass slab using a Muller. There is a possibility of spontaneous combustion if contaminated cloth and rags are left crumpled up. Dry the rags flat, place in a metal airtight tin or wash with soap and water.
Cold-Pressed Linseed oil is very useful for those wishing to use less solvents in their work, working practice will need slight adjustment as a whole painting can be executed with just Cold-Pressed Linseed oil. Only a tiny amount needs to be added to the oil paint to alter it’s working properties, we would consider this a ‘fat’ medium, so it is not advisable to place a solvent thinned paint layer over it, as this could cause cracking.
For those using CPLO for the first time some qualities are very apparent. It gives a loose, slippery quality to oil paint and compared to some mediums is fast drying. In our tests we found that adding between a ‘touch’ and 25% to oil paint, it was touch-dry in 24 hours, using more than 25% and the time to touch-dry was around 48 hours or longer depending on the oil paint used. When dry it forms a glossy, flexible, tough, resilient paint film.
Although it levels the brush strokes and gives transparency to the paint film, if used as a glazing medium the ‘fat over lean’ principle needs to be adhered to.
It is advisable to use a leaner painting medium for under-painting before completing the painting using CPLO.
Zest-it Cold-Pressed Linseed oil can be thinned with Zest-it Oil Paint Dilutant and Brush Cleaner (Diluent) or Zest-it Solvent (Citrus Free) up to 25% to make a leaner medium.
Available sizes – 125 ml; 250 ml; 500 ml