Oil Paintings
Tips & Links



Fast Drying Media        

A honey-like liquid made from a combination of black oil (linseed oil cooked with litharge or white lead) and mastic varnish, is one of the most controversial products being denounced by conservators and experts as unstable but being used by artists for its seductive way the paint easily flows off the brush.

developed by Robert Gamblin, has the same desirable qualities but it's safer and more permanent.

is an
alkyd medium containing oil-modified resins including a small amount of linseed oil. Liquin is quick-drying, non-yellowing, and very adhesive. Liquin seals the layers below it, making it great for doing the glazing techniques.

Here is how artists use Liquin. Some mix Liquin into a small pile of paint on a palette, others put a little pile of Liquin, about the size of a nickel, over on the side of the palette, then pick up a just a little on a brush before going into the paint. Both ways, Liquin mixes very well especially in the beginning when doing the underpainting layers. Because it has oil in it, it can be used in later opaque layers but not as much as in the beginning, thus it still works well with the "fat over lean" principle. Experiment to find the ratio of Liquin/paint for you as it is a dryer as well as a flow-improver. A fairly thinly painted piece will dry to the touch in 1-3 days. Glazes dry to the touch overnightor or quicker.

Note: It's still a good idea to wait the usual 6+ months before the final varnishing, however, if you paint thickly.


Lead* Driers
Liquin is not made by W&N, they buy it from industrial manufacturers. Alkyds are very unstable by comparison with lead driers, and are known by manufacturers to have delamination issues, especially when admixed with oil paints. A painter says he had three paintings delam within a year of finishing. "I long ago gave up on using Liquin-type products where I needed faster drying. I've been using Lead Napthanate, but I am getting some of James Groves' drier. If you are unfamiliar with James, he makes wonderful mediums and is the nicest guy you could imagine. He's a little too fond of walnut oil for me, but everything he makes is top quality! Here's his website with more info on this topis: -".

*Lead dries from the inside out. Drying from the outside in causes wrinkling and cracking. Lead is very stable, cannot be absorbed through the skin, and is not more toxic than the other driers mentioned. It is proven to help form a very stable paint film, and is quite safe when used with caution and soap. Cobalt and manganese, for example, easily touch-dry the surface of a film but leave the subsurface soft. Therefore, lead driers are added to help dry this subsurface, in the process known as "throughdrying".


    © Dana Trousil, 2007
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