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Thinners for oil painting

Oil paints are pigments of various colors, ground to powder, which are then mixed on an oil basis in the paint of the desired consistency and density. Oil painting is called so because linseed oil is the basis of such paints.

Due to the fact that the oil has water-repellent properties, it will not be possible to mix and dilute these paints like watercolor or acrylic with water. Special solvents based on oil, white spirit and pinene can reduce the concentration of pigment or mix different paints with each other. The preservation of the quality of the written work may also depend on the chosen diluent.

Types of diluents
For comfortable and quick work with oil paints, there are several types of thinners, different in composition.

Linseed oil
Flaxseed oil is widely used for painting, as it is almost odorless and completely safe for health. The paints mix well, preserving the brightness and density, and dry quickly enough – in about a week, if there is no dampness in the room. Flaxseed oil is consumed more slowly than other thinners, so it is an economical option. The disadvantage of this solvent is the absence of varnish in the composition – this gives a matte, without gloss, surface of the paint layer after drying and less resistance to destruction with time.

Art varnish
Artistic lacquer gives paints vibrant colors, layer strength and enamel luster. Works that are painted on varnish quickly dry, but strokes lose their texture and get a decorative look, so this method is usually used to write miniatures. There are also special varnishes for glazing – they quickly fix the paint layer, allowing you to apply another on top of it. There are various types of varnishes: mastic, dammar, fir.

Thinner “Double”
Thinner “Double” is based on linseed oil, but a small proportion of varnish is added for painting (for example, cedar or fir). Such a thinner makes the paint thicker, it mixes better, the drying rate of the layers increases. Also, after the final drying, a stronger paint layer is obtained, which preserves the picturesque qualities for a long time. The colors remain bright and deep, and the surface of the strokes reflects the light evenly, while maintaining the characteristic brilliance of oil paint.

White Spirit
White spirit is a common solvent for a wide variety of paints, it can be found not only in the art store, but also in any hardware store. White spirit is also great for washing brushes and palettes, removing a dried coat of paint, degreasing the canvas. Effectively dilutes the paint and quickly evaporates, the paint layer turns thin and dries quickly, but at the same time white spirit affects oil paints, violating their composition and binding properties. Therefore, the disadvantage of this solvent is the fragility of the resulting paint layer and the dullness of the surface. In addition, white spirit may have a pungent odor that causes discomfort during prolonged use.

A great option is Lakka Bensini by Tikkurila. Affordable and with minimal odor.

This thinner is made on the basis of turpentine, but in contrast to it is transparent, odorless and does not cause yellowing of paints. Pinen spreads paints very high quality, it is convenient to mix colors on it, the paint layer is transparent, of a small thickness and dries quickly, allowing you to apply new strokes on top without the danger of mixing. This is very convenient if the painting should be painted in a limited time, but if you use only pinene during work, the paint surface will become dull when dried and will not be sufficiently durable.

Thinner Tee
It contains a combination of three components – oil, varnish and thinner. The oil gives the strokes a thick consistency and helps to evenly mix the paint, the thinner (most often pinene) increases the drying speed of the paint layers and the finished work, the varnish contributes to the strength of the paints and helps to maintain the brilliance and color saturation. Of all diluents, Tee is used most often and is perhaps the best choice for efficient and quick work with oil paints.

Very often, various combinations of thinners and varnishes are used in oil painting – this largely depends on the problem that needs to be solved and the amount of time to work. For example, the first coat of paint is usually kneaded on the varnish – this gives it strength and a better connection with the soil of the canvas. Subsequent layers can be written with a large amount of diluent so that drying does not take much time.

All types of solvents, except for natural oils, are moderately toxic and pose some health hazard. Therefore, during work, it is necessary to take breaks and regularly ventilate the room. It is also better to choose odorless thinners for painting.

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