Rublev Colours Lead Oil Ground: Superior Foundation for Oil Paintings

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Rublev Colours Lead Oil Ground is a blend of white pigments and linseed oil for a semi-absorbent ground ideal for oil painting. It dries within two days to one week, depending upon local conditions, such as humidity, light and temperature.


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Rublev Colours Lead Oil Ground is a blend of white pigments and linseed oil for a semi-absorbent ground ideal for oil painting. Depending on local conditions, such as humidity, light, and temperature, it dries within two days to one week.

Rublev Colours Lead Oil Ground contains lead white, titanium white, and ground calcite (chalk) in just the right proportions to make a paint film that remains flexible and tough with some absorbency. We carefully chose a blend of alkaline-refined and bodied linseed oil so there is some penetration into the support to assure good adhesion and maintain sufficient holdout to establish a good foundation for paint layers. This blend of linseed oil also provides leveling, so brush, and knife marks are minimized. Rublev Colours Lead Oil Ground has a high concentration of pigments, so usually, only two coats are necessary, but more coats create a smoother surface. Apply directly onto panels or on canvas sized with acrylic dispersions, polyvinyl acetate (PVA), or animal collagen glue. Rublev Lead Oil Ground is an excellent foundation for oil and alkyd paints.

The essential characteristics that grounds should have are (1) adhesion, 2) flexibility, 3) penetration control, 4) a type of surface to which upper layers can adhere well, 5) blister and crack resistance, and 6) good application properties. Careful selection of ingredients in an oil ground is essential to impart these qualities to the ground. Ground natural calcite (calcium carbonate or GCC) in combination with lead white (basic lead carbonate) and a maximum chalk-resistant grade of rutile titanium dioxide have proven to be an excellent choice of pigments in such oil grounds.


We make Rublev Colours Lead Oil Ground using all three white pigments; calcite (ground calcium carbonate, such as chalk or whiting), lead white (basic lead carbonate), and titanium white (titanium dioxide) in just the right proportions to make a film that remains flexible, tough and has some degree of absorbency.

The dry ground calcite in Rublev Colours Lead Oil Ground has a closely controlled particle size distribution. This grade of calcite is designed to provide the lowest possible oil absorption. It offers the desired penetration control with maximum chalk resistance. Calcite aids in forming the type of surface on grounds to which upper layers will adhere easily.

Lead white, and to a lesser degree, ground calcite, have low water absorption properties and hence develop better blister and crack resistance. Furthermore, lead white contributes to more film flexibility.

The presence of titanium white increases the opacity of this ground and provides a brilliant white surface. We have selected a grade of titanium white that exhibits good hiding, excellent dispersion properties, and excellent chalking resistance.

Does Not Contain Zinc Oxide

Many manufacturers use zinc white (zinc oxide) to get a brighter white in their white grounds and paint. Zinc oxide is not recommended in oil grounds since it tends to cause blistering and cracking in oil paint and grounds—we have not used any zinc in this product.


After many trials, we have carefully chosen a specific blend of refined linseed oil with heat-bodied linseed oil such that there is a limited penetration of the oil into the canvas or panel to assure good adhesion to this substrate and yet maintain sufficient holdout to establish a good foundation for the upper layers. This blend of linseed oil also provides the best possible leveling properties, so brush, and knife marks are minimized.

As part of the vehicle, Rublev Colours Lead Oil Ground contains mineral spirits to provide the right fluid consistency and to hasten drying.


A blend of cobalt, zirconium, and calcium driers has been added in precise amounts to ensure rapid drying once it is applied.


Rublev Colours Lead Oil Ground contains an anti-skinning agent to prevent skinning and drying in the can during storage. If kept tightly closed, the contents can be expected to last indefinitely, but we recommend purchasing only an amount that can be used within one year.


STIR WELL BEFORE USING. Using a bristle brush, brush the first coat of Rublev Colours Lead Oil Ground evenly across the canvas or panel. Remove any excess and smooth the surface with a brush or palette knife. Let it dry completely—hard dry. Apply at least one more coat by repeating the process. Allow the canvas or panel to dry thoroughly before painting.

Rublev Colours Lead Oil Ground can be thinned with mineral spirits, odorless mineral spirits (OMS), or turpentine if necessary. For best results, do not over-dilute.

Health and Safety

WARNING! CONTAINS LEAD AND PETROLEUM DISTILLATES. HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED. Avoid ingestion and skin contact. Wear protective clothing and gloves to prevent contact with the skin. Avoid inhaling fumes of mineral spirits. Use with adequate ventilation. Never use near children or pets. Conforms to ASTM D 4236.

Must be used exclusively as material for the purposes of arts, crafts or hobbies, not for use by children. Utiliser uniquement aux fins suivantes comme matériaux pour les besoins d'art, d'artisanat ou passe-temps, pas pour une utilisation par les enfants.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of a ground in painting?

In painting, a ground serves the fundamental purpose as a preparatory layer for the support. Its significance lies in its ability to influence the chromatic and tonal values of subsequent paint layers. The ground sets the stage for the painting by providing a stable foundation.

Do oil paintings require the use of a ground?

Absolutely! The role of the ground in oil painting is paramount. Acting as a protective barrier between the support and the oil painting, it ensures good adhesion between the two elements. Not only does it facilitate proper adhesion of the paint to the substrate, but it also contributes to the stability of the artwork.

What is an oil ground in oil painting?

An oil ground, also known as an oil primer, is essentially a blend of oil, white pigments, and extender pigments such as chalk. This composition gives the ground a degree of absorbency and texture, providing a suitable surface for the oil paint to adhere to. Nevertheless, when painting on canvas, it is imperative to apply the oil ground over a sizing layer, as the oil primer shares similar properties to oil paint and necessitates protecting canvas fibers from potential oil penetration.

What is the best ground for oil painting?

When it comes to oil painting, the best priming is a lead white ground bound with linseed oil. The advantages are manifold, as this combination imparts unmatched durability, film strength, and flexibility to subsequent oil paint layers. For optimal performance over time, pairing the lead oil ground with lead white paint is an exceptional choice.

How many coats of oil ground do I need for an oil painting?

For the best outcome on absorbent substrates like wood or sized canvas, applying a minimum of four coats of oil ground is the best practice. As for non-absorbent substrates, such as aluminum composite materials (ACM) panels, Rublev Colours Lead Alkyd Ground is the best choice for adhesion and absorbency.

How long does it usually take for an oil ground to dry?

Generally, re-coating is possible within several days for Rublev Colours Lead Oil Ground. However, it is advisable to allow at least one week before starting the painting process after applying the last coat.

Can you put oil ground over an existing oil painting?

Under specific circumstances, applying an oil ground over an existing oil painting is possible. If the original oil paint is thin and the overall appearance is dull or matte, you may apply a coat of oil ground over the painting. However, caution must be exercised, particularly if the surface is glossy or has a pronounced texture. In that circumstance, we recommend sanding it before applying the oil ground.

Can I apply an oil ground over acrylic priming?

The compatibility between an oil ground and acrylic primer opens up possibilities for experimentation and versatility. To achieve the best results, ensure that all acrylic materials have fully dried and cured beforehand. The waiting period is typically around three days for thin acrylic films, though thicker applications, such as one-quarter inch or more, may require more time, perhaps as much as two to three weeks. Environmental factors, such as air movement and temperature, also play a role in determining drying time. The acrylic primer or paint must have a matte surface, as oils adhere more effectively to acrylics when applied to matte surfaces because the adhesion of oils to acrylics is mostly mechanical. Before applying the oil ground, always wipe the surface of the acrylic primer or paint with a soft cloth moistened with distilled water to remove surfactants that may migrate to the surface.

What is the best oil ground for oil painting?

The best oil ground for oil painting depends on the artist's preference, but a lead oil ground like Rublev Colours Lead Oil Ground is highly regarded for its durability and quality.

Can you put oil ground over oil paint?

It's not recommended to apply oil ground over already dried oil paint as it may not adhere properly and can lead to cracking or peeling.

What can I use for an oil ground?

Common options for an oil ground include lead oil ground, acrylic gesso, and alkyd grounds. Each has different properties suitable for various painting styles and techniques.

How do you make oil ground for painting?

Making oil ground involves mixing a white pigment (like lead white or titanium white) with linseed oil to a desired consistency.

How do you prepare a surface for lead paint?

To prepare a surface for lead paint, ensure it is clean, dry, and free from any previous coatings or grease. Lightly sanding the surface may improve adhesion.

Can you paint over lead paint with oil-based paint?

Yes, you can paint over lead paint with oil-based paint, but it's essential to take precautions to avoid disturbing the lead paint and creating hazardous dust.

Can you paint on top of lead?

Painting on top of lead is possible, but safety measures must be taken to avoid exposure to lead, which can be harmful, especially during surface preparation.

More Information
BrandRublev Colours
VendorRublev Colours
Processing TimeUsually ships the next business day.

California Proposition 65: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Hazard Pictograms

Exclamation MarkHealth HazardEnvironment
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Health Hazard

Signal Word: Danger

Hazard Designation

H302 Harmful if swallowed.

H332 Harmful if inhaled.

H360 May damage fertility or the unborn child.

H373 May cause damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure.

H410 Very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects.

Safety Designation

P260 Do not breathe dust/fume/gas/mist/vapours/spray.

P261 Avoid breathing dust/ fume/ gas/ mist/ vapors/ spray.

P280 Wear protective gloves/ clothing/ eye/ face protection.

P281 Use personal protective equipment as required.

P405 Store locked up.

P501 Dispose of contents/ container according to regional, national and international regulations.

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