Saturday, August 24, 2013

Watching Paint Dry

I have learned an important lesson.  Not all brands of oil paint have the same dry time.  I had a bit of a false start on a painting, and covered the whole thing with white.  It is a brand new tube, and a brand I hadn't used before.  I expected it to dry in a day or two, but parts of it were soupy after a week!  Wen I've mixed it with other colors, it has dried much more quickly.

In order to finish this painting on time, I'm going to have to add some cobalt drier.  You have to be careful when using drying additives.  If the paint dries too quickly, it can crack.  The additive itself is dark blue-purple, so it can discolor the paint, too.  I'm going to start making test cards just for dry time on new paint!

Unfortunately, there is no way to really accelerate the process.  Oil paint doesn't dry by evaporation like water-based paints do.  Rather, the paint oxidizes, which causes it to solidify.  Once you've got it on canvas, you pretty much just have to wait it out.

I like to have a couple of pieces going at the same time.  I can work on one painting while the others dry, and have them on a sort of rotation.  It also helps each painting stay fresh for me.  It's a system that has treated me very well.

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