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Re: technical question-oil painting


From: Larry Seiler (lseiler_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Jul 31 2002 - 07:10:41 PDT

HELP-How long does it take an oil painting to dry?-<snip>
I just finished the first one last night-but it is VERY wet-it's
been ages since I used oils- I thinned down the paint with
linseed oil too and wonder if I put in too much-I would just
touch my brush in the linseed and then mix it in the paints.

Barb...the paint comes with enough oil to exit the tube, and linseed oil is
a natural extender medium for oil. That oil however, only extends the
drying time as well as its fluidity, I'm afraid. In general, without a
siccative...oil paint can take as long as a month to dry to touch (depending
upon your locale's humidity factor), but generally about 2 weeks. Some
colors such as reds (especially allizarin crimson) can take longer.

Oil painters...such as myself, often use a siccative additive to speed up
drying time, but some affect discoloration, yellowing, and can be brittle.
I use a family made copal medium, made in New Mexico from petrified trees,
which causes paint to dry in roughly 2-3 days...but dries uniformly by
attaching itself to the pigment molecules unlike some siccatives like liquin
which dries from the outside in. It is also a natural varnish which doesn't
necessarily require a final varnishing of damar.

Technically allowed to dry by itself, oil takes about one month to dry to
touch...and about 3-6 months to chemically dry. It is after about six
months when it is most often suggested to apply the final varnish to oil
paintings. Sorry for the bad news...

Larry Seiler
my art site-