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Safflower Oil


It’s 3 Minute Thursday! Let’s get right to the content!

Stop cleaning your brushes, you’re wasting your time!

In my most popular video, all about how to oil paint without solvents or heavy metals, I show how you can soak your brushes in safflower oil to keep them nice and fresh for months thereby removing the need to clean the brushes after each painting session.

This saves a ton of time! And when you do art every single day like me this time compounds into weeks or even months.

Thanks to some wonderful questions and comments on my non toxic oil painting video I’ve improved the process over the year and have spent months testing a much cheaper safflower oil.

Here is the safflower oil I purchased. 1 gallon for around $38. That is 29 cents per fluid ounce. Much cheaper than Gamblin’s safflower oil which costs about $1.50 per fluid ounce. That’s 5 times cheaper and I have a whole gallon that will last me for a very very long time.

But there is some confusion to what oils you should use. Because you can’t just use any store bought oil to soak your brushes. Some oils will dry and some oils will not. 

We want to only use drying oils or semi drying oil. 

Drying oils are Linseed or Walnut which you will already find in oil paints. 

Semi drying oils are soybean, sunflower and safflower. 

Avoid any other oil for soaking brushes. No castor oil, no coconut oil, no baby oil. These oils do not dry and if you even get a spec of them in your paint mixtures your painting will eventually peel off the canvas in places.

I chose to purchase safflower oil because I know that it works. I’ve been using it for years but I’m certain that sunflower oil will work as well. It’s up to you because I see both for the same price.

Next I switched to this awesome deluxe brush washer by Richerson and it’s keeping my brushes perfectly suspended in the oil so the bristles don’t touch the bottom and bend. It’s expensive but I suspect it will last for decades.

There was one comment that certain brushes can’t be soaked because they will just splay no matter what. I haven’t experienced that but there are a ton of different brushes on the market. I use hog hair bristle and synthetic monarch brushes and there is no splaying or issues from the bath. Just from me using them.

Lastly, safflower and sunflower oil are semi-drying oils which means they will dry over time. I keep this brush bath for more than 6 months, hopefully a whole year and I don’t want that oil to dry at all so I put about 10 drops of clove oil into the bath to make sure that the oil will not dry for a very long time. Plus when I pull the brushes out I make sure to squeeze all the oil out of them with a paper towel. I’ve been doing this for years now and none of my paintings are showing any issues with the paint layers. All is solid. 

But this whole video is completely unnecessary if you haven’t focused on your health and removed solvents from your oil painting routine so check out the original non toxic oil painting video for more on why that is so important. 

Hope that was helpful! See you next Thursday!

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