Balsam oil typically refers to Canada Balsam, which is mixed with other mediums like linseed oil and used to enhance the color saturation of oil paints. Apply it in thin layers to achieve a glossy, enamel-like finish. Balsam Essential Oil is a mixture of Canada Balsam and linseed oil in the right proportions to achieve excellent saturation, flow, and gloss in oil paint.
Rublev Colours Balsam Essential Oil Medium - Enhance Your Oil Painting
Rublev Colours Balsam Essential Oil Medium is composed of Canada balsam, pale bodied linseed oil and spike oil. Add to colors for enamel-like effects, to achieve glow in glazes and facilitate fusion.
How to Use
Add a small amount of Balsam Essential Oil Medium to your paint to make it brush out more easily. Balsam Essential Oil Medium can be thinned with spike oil or turpentine. Mixed directly into the paint on the palette, it gives colors a flowing consistency yet dries to a satin-to-gloss finish, depending upon the amount used. Balsam Essential Oil Medium smells wonderful.
Rublev Colours Balsam Essential Oil Medium is an excellent substitute for Ralph Mayer’s glazing medium described in his handbook, The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques, which is a medium composed of stand oil, dammar varnish, and turpentine.
Balsam Essential Oil Medium is a 44% weight-to-volume solution of Canada balsam in bodied linseed oil and spike oil (written in scientific notation as 44% w/v). Canada balsam is a turpentine made from the resin of the balsam fir tree (Abies balsamea) that grows in boreal North America. The resin, dissolved in essential oils, is a viscous, sticky, yellowish liquid that becomes a transparent yellowish mass when the essential oils evaporate. Canada balsam becomes an amorphous solid upon drying. Since it does not crystallize with age, its optical properties do not deteriorate. Canada balsam is clearer and faster-drying than Venice turpentine.
Balsam Essential Oil Medium contains the palest-bodied linseed oil to provide greater leveling and flow out and better drying properties.
Balsam Essential Oil Medium contains spike oil. Our spike oil is an essential oil obtained by distillation of the flower spikes of the herb Lavandula x. intermedia ‘Grosso’ or other related species. It was commonly used as a solvent in oil painting by European old masters. For instance, Francisco Pacheco mentions the use of spike oil in his book Arte de la Pintura (1649). For more information on the spike oil in Balsam Essential Oil Medium, please read the article, Lavender Spike Oil: Source, Use and History in Painting.
Note: Always test the use of any medium in your application before using in your artwork. It is never recommended to exceed 20% by volume of mediums to paint in any application.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you use balsam oil in oil painting?
Is there a balsam essential oil?
Balsam essential oil (more commonly known as Canada Balsam) is used in oil painting mediums for its unique properties, like enhancing color depth and improving paint consistency.
How much linseed oil do I add to oil paint?
The amount of linseed oil added to oil paint varies based on the desired consistency and drying time. Start with a small ratio, like 1 part linseed oil to 5 parts paint, and adjust as needed.
What medium is best for oil painting?
The best medium for oil painting depends on the desired effect. Options include linseed oil, turpentine for thinning paint, and alkyd mediums for faster drying.
What are the disadvantages of linseed oil paint?
Linseed oil can yellow over time, especially when used in large proportions to pigments, thick layers, or in low-light conditions. It also has a slower drying time compared to other painting mediums.
Can you mix linseed oil and Gamsol®?
Linseed oil can be mixed with Gamsol (a registered tradename for an odorless mineral spirit) to modify the consistency and drying rate of oil paints while reducing the toxicity of the paint mixture. For an equivalent solvent to Gamsol, please see .
Do you need both turpentine and linseed oil for oil painting?
It's not necessary to add either to oil painting when painting with oil colors in tubes. Turpentine is primarily used as a thinner and solvent, while linseed oil is used as a binder and medium. Depending on your painting technique and desired effects, you might use either or both.
® Gamsol is a trademark of Gamblin Artist Colors.
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