What Is Linseed Oil Used for in Oil Painting?

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Linseed oil is used as a carrier in oil paints used for oil painting. Artist’s refined linseed oil is the most common type of oil used in oil paints. As a painting medium, it can make the oil paints more glossy, transparent and fluid.

Linseed oil is a drying oil, giving it the unique quality to polymerize into a solid state. This allows it to bind pigments in oil paints, as well as act as a varnish in wood finishing and a plasticizer in putty. In oil painting, it can play an important role, as it is non-yellowing and durable. It comes in many different varieties, including cold-pressed, sun-bleached and polymerized. It is important to use refined linseed oil, as raw or boiled linseed oils can yellow the paint quickly because they are heat-treated.