“Oil is the principal thing which painters should be choice in, endeavoring to have it good, colorless, fluid.”
~Sir Theodore de Mayerne (1573-1655), describing Anthony Van Dyck’s methods.
Our method of extracting and purifying linseed and walnut oil follows the historic precedent of the Old Masters, producing naturally purified oils that are lighter, paler and dry faster. This technique yields less oil than modern processes, but we prefer this historical method of production which has stood the test of time in museums for centuries.
Most art material companies either sell raw, cold-pressed oils that are never cleaned and contain many impurities, or they use harsh chemical cleaning and bleaching processes to refine the oils.
CCS Linseed Oil Pale Cold-Pressed™ and CCS Walnut Pale Cold-Pressed™ are extracted using the more expensive, time-tested method of cold-pressing, then washed and cleaned using natural processes documented since the Renaissance.
In the words of Sir Charles Eastlake (1793-1865), President of the Royal Academy, "A more refined practice in art, the oil was ‘cold drawn’ chiefly with a view to avoid its discoloration.”
In the Renaissance, oil painting evolved out of tempera painting, the dominant form of painting for previous centuries. Tempera paint is made by mixing egg, pigment, and water. Though incredibly lightfast, tempera has many disadvantages. It is very absorbent and has a porous surface which is easily stained. Its matte appearance cannot convey a wide range of values. It dries almost immediately preventing any blending of colors. And, it dries to a hard brittle surface that is inflexible, therefore must be painted on stiff, wood panels. Large paintings required joining multiple panels together that were very heavy and difficult to transport.
As a solution, painters started applying oil over tempera paintings to protect the porous surfaces. The addition of this top coat created a shinier surface with darker and richer effects that offered more depth and atmosphere. The effect was so positive that painters started to experiment with oils, eventually leading to the creation of oil paints.
Oil paint is a paste made from pigment mixed with a drying oil, which when exposed to air, dries to form a flexible solid film. Historically, the drying oils used were Linseed (Flaxseed), Walnut and later Poppy. Further experimentation with oil paint lead to additives to control drying times, texture, and other effects.
One of the chief advantages of oil paints is the flexible film that allows painters to use lightweight, flexible stretched canvas. Linen was traditionally the fabric used to make canvas (made from the same plant used to make linseed oil). Stretched canvas became preferable to wood panels because they were difficult to make, easily warped, and were heavy to transport. As a result oil painting became the dominant painting art medium we know today.
Visit our shop page to find out where you can purchase Chelsea Classical Studio's Extra Pale Oils!
Pure, archival oil painting supplies crafted according to the recipes of the Old Masters. Made by artists for artists.