LF&B ESSENCE D'ASPIC = SPIKE LAVENDER OIL - Ignore Description & Read On... - Please do read on, and towards the end of my Review, I explain how I use this.
Calling LF&B “Essence D’Aspic” – Spike Lavender Essential Oil for you and me in the English speaking World – an oil painting medium is the same as calling a bottle of milk Gruyère cheese. Spike Lavender Oil is NOT a medium. It is NOT even an oil in the strict sense of what an oil is by nature.
The Lavender plant is harvested and the flowers go for further processing as Essential Lavender Oil and aromatic derivatives for the perfume industries, for example, aromatherapy products, and such.
What is left from the plant, i.e. the stalks, leaves, in short the green part of the plant, go for further processing, 99% of is will undergo distillation, to produce an oily colourless liquid, with exactly the same oily characteristics of distilled turpentine.
And exactly like turpentine distilled from the Fir and Pine trees sap, Spike Lavender Oil is an oily SOLVENT, more powerful than turpentine when it comes to dilute oil paint and dissolve discarded oil paints, clean brushes and the like.
Spike Lavender Oil – like I said, it is a SOLVENT, it is NOT an oil like walnut, or linseed oils for example – must NEVER be used on its own as a painting medium, NEVER! EVER! As a SOLVENT, it evaporates at a much slower rate than turpentine or mineral spirits.
Spike Lavender Oil also has an extremely strong smell of Lavender. Its perfume is very powerful and concentrated, so it smells lovely but very strongly of Lavender.
It is however extremely useful in Oil Painting, which is why it has been around in oil painting art for more than 500 years or so. It is very useful because primarily it is a slower evaporation solvent than turpentine, and crucially it has a wetter effect on oil painting mixes, such as prepared mediums. And finally, because used very sparingly in a medium, its aroma combined with a drying oil, such as Linseed, Walnut, Safflower, Sunflower or Poppy, it imparts a combined aroma that stays on the painting and smells absolutely wonderful.
I have it in the cupboard and use it very sparingly. I can be added to just about any oil painting medium, oil based or alkyd based, manufactured or made in the studio and the rate at which it is added to oil painting mediums is simply by the drop, using a ML-graded plastic pipette, at the following rate, which is always the same and never changes: ONE DROP of Spike Lavender Oil per each 10 ML [millilitres] of studio-prepared painting medium or manufactured medium.
So, for example, take say, LF&B Matt Oil Painting Medium 75ML bottle. Mix in 8 drops of Spike Lavender Oil and no more than that. It has to be 8 drops, not 7,5 drops [LOL] because obviously it is virtually impossible to halve a drop. I suppose it goes without saying, but you never know.
And, as Rule of Thumb, Spike Lavender Oil must NEVER be mixed directly into tube oil paint straight out of the tube or direct into oil paints mixed in the palette. ALWAYS mix at the above rate into the painting medium and shake vigorously the bottle to disperse it properly.