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  • Sun Bleaching OilsApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2018-01-02 23:10:06 ... Most recent comment 2018-01-03 20:41:30
    Drying Oils Paint Mediums

    ​Hello Mitra,

    I wish to bleach my linseed oils by letting the sun hit them.  I was curious to know if i could do this to an already polymerized oil like Stand Oil?  If not, I take it a cold press linseed oil is the best to use for starting.

    My goal is to have a viscous clear oil which if need be I can then make it more fluid with a clear cold press oil.

     I know traditionally artist would wash their cold press oil and then thicken it and bleach it through exposure of the sun.  Should I do this? Is my Stand Oil a lost cause then? 

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Factory-prepared stand oil is already highly refined, so I don't think "washing" would yield any improvement. I doubt any discernable "foot" would deposit as with unrefined oil.

    Matthew Kinsey, Utrecht Art Supplies
    2018-01-03 17:32:51
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    I have washed and bleached oils many times in the distant past but today I am not sure about the value of such a product. As to water washing, it does remove impurities from cold pressed or unrefined oils but the product is in no way superior to modern alkali refined oils. In fact, the resultant oil is very acidic. This may be fine for some purposes, like grinding oil paint, but there are alkali-refined oils available in a whole range of acidities. The best of these are going to be superior to anything that can be refined at home. This is covered more fully in this thread:

    Sun bleaching is also less useful than it initially appears. You can certainly sun bleach oils to absolute water whiteness. The problem is that there is some color reversion over time. Take a sample of your bleached oil and keep it in a cabinet for a while and you can see this yourself.

    I can see no benefit to bleaching modern stand oil, which tends to be quite pale and is one of the most durable of the oily paint additives. I am refering to linseed oil heat thickened in a vacuum as oposed to archaic uses of that term.

    The one oil processing that does make some sense to me is sun thickening. The product of this is both partially oxidized and partially polymerized. It will behave very different from stand oil and will naturally dry much faster than raw oil or stand oil all without the addition of catalytic driers. This is not to say that it is superior to stand oil, just that it moves and dries very differently. Additionally, if the sun thickened oil is made with a quality oil (either alkali refined or sun thickened as you wish) it is a more appropriate paint additive than boiled oil or blown oil.

    Brian Baade
    2018-01-03 17:33:41
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    No, stand oil probably would contain no foot. Even with other less pure oils, my experience with washing oils tells me that it is easy to fool yourself into thinking that you are removing substantial impurities even when this is not the case. Any actual foot can act as an emulsifier for the oil and water phases.

    Thicker oils readily emulsify in such conditions. I learned this the hard way when I tried to sun thicken oil above water in a single washing and thickening process. It worked fine for a while but if I shook the whole after the oil began to thicken, it was very difficult to separate the two phases. Even freezing was only partially successful and resulted in a large degree of loss. This is another reason why it is unwise to try to wash thickened oils like stand oil.

    Brian Baade
    2018-01-03 19:34:52
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    So crystal clear cold pressed oil thats wash might not be as stabel in the long run as a more yellow alkali refined linseed oil.  Likewise the crystal clear cold press oil with darken, like you mention, and also naturally yellow.  So even if it dries clearer than the alkali refined linseed oils in the long run its more unstable as a whole.  

    Since I want to grind my pigment ,I simply want :

    1. a clear oil ( clear as possible) 

    2. a thick oil ( so that I can start painting thick and then make my paint fatter with a leaner oil so that I can then glaze) 

    3. a durable oil 

    If alkali refined oils are simply better, and  washing and making a clear as water oil is almost pointless because of natural darkening and yellowing, do you simply recommend  me to start with a stand oil and make it more fluid and fatter by adding a alkali refined oil to it?  Could i even temper painting with something like a stand oil or a and alkali refined oil that is sun thicken?   Is stand oil created through boiling and thus i should avoided it because it wont help me reach my goal? 

    Sorry for all the questions and thank you for taking your time to look into my post.  

    2018-01-03 20:00:46
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    I feel that there is no benefit to home washing cold pressed linseed oil to create a water white oil for making your own paint. The results are unlikely to be superior to a high quality alkali refined oil intended for hand grinding oil paint. This does not mean that you should not do it. Nor does it mean that if you do so your work will suffer. All drying oils yellow to some degree. Some take longer to get there but all will yellow. Purified oils do seem to yellow less, at least initially. High quality alkali refined oils are more pure than those refined at home.

    My understanding and general sentiment is that you are better off spending your time on the craft of painting rather than fussing with purifying your own oils. Some would say that the same could be said of making one’s own paint. This is partly true, as it is impossible to make a paint by hand that is as well dispersed and as lean as that made on large-scale roller mills. However, the ability to control which, if any, amendments are added and to make a paint with just the right feel can be very useful for some who really relish in the diverse rheological qualities of different pigments in oil binder(s).  It is also very interesting to experiment with fresh oil paint free of thixotropic thickeners, but this would be a waste of time for many painters who want a range of quality paint that all handle and dry in a similar manner.

    A good quality linseed oil for grinding, perhaps an oil of a lesser acidic number for mediums, stand oil, and perhaps a partially oxidized oil like homemade sun thickened oil for specific handling properties, should cover more than enough bases and be perfectly reliable (as long as rational painting practice is followed).

    Brian Baade
    2018-01-03 20:41:30

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