Is there anything I can do to make the oil dry faster?

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European posted on 30 Jan 2009 8:32 AM

Hello, as you might have noticed - I'm new on this forum.. Normally I paint with acrylics, but also use some oil. I have just finished an oil paiting (the first one on my blog, with the five trees) and I just wonder if there is anything I can do so that the paint dries a bit faster? It's a present for somebody, and I might have to give it to them a month earlier, that's my problem..

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A few things you can do that might help, one, make sure your painting is getting enough air circulation. If you have a ceiling fan, turn it on to help the air movement. If your painting is really wet, you may want to consider if you are going to stir up dust. Some people do not want dust to settle on a painting while it drys. You can make a homemade type tent with a bed sheet to protect the painting from dust. You will have to figure out if this would work for you or just turn and lean the painting to a wall to reduce dust bunnies. The reason for air movement is oil paint dries by oxidation. Also if it is winter where you are, make sure the room is warm. Oil paint takes longer to dry to the touch if the room is cold. Next time if you would like to hurry the drying process, one easy method is to add a paint medium with an alkyd resin. These type of mediums are ready made and speed drying. I like MGraham walnut oil alkyd painting medium.

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There are several things you can do.  As mentioned, you can replace your regular oil titanium white for a tube of alkyd white.  It dries more quickly and, since you mix white with most colors, you will speed the drying time.  

You can also buy a bottle of cobalt drier.  You will find it where you find oil mediums.  Grumbacher makes it, among others.  Just a drop of it in your regular medium will speed the drying time.  The more you add, the faster it will dry, but don't go overboard.  A drop or two added to the medium is enough.  If you aren't using medium, add a drop to several of the slower drying colors, like the cadmiums.

There are quite a few mediums that contain driers, in addition to Graham walnut oil with alkyd.  Grumbacher's Pale Drying Oil is linseed oil with the alkyd drier.  Any brand of medium that says it has copal in it will also speed drying.  Again, if you don't use medium, you may apply a light coat of the medium with dryer to a dry oil painting, before you apply the next layer.  It should be a very thin coat.  Apply with a brush and then wipe it back with a lint-free cloth or shop towel.  My favorite drying medium for this approach is the Pale Drying Oil.

Good luck!

Mary

 

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Thank you both very much, I really appreciate it. As you can see, this is new to me and I still have a lot to learn.

Have a nice day!

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There are a number of mediums you can use to speed up the drying time of oils, including the ones already mentioned. There are several brands of alkyd medium that are all compatible with oils, some have a gel-like consistency, others that are fluid. You can either mix them into the paints or apply a coat of the medium to the painting surface before you apply the oils.

Some artists use sun-thickened linseed oil to speed up the drying time, either mixed with the paint or applied to the canvas.

As with all materials, you'll have to find out which one works best for you. The mediums will thin the paint and you may not like that. Coating the canvas with a fast-drying medium will cause the initial applications of oil to dry quickly without making them transparent, but it will have less influence on the top layers.

Steve Doherty

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One thing that has worked for me is to place my wet oils in the garage for a couple of days, with the door open whenever I can leave it.  The fresh air helps a lot to dry the paintings as they dry by oxidisation and with the air conditioning or heat on in the house the air isn't as fresh.

Another point - if you paint often as I do, you can squeeze your paint on to the palette ahead of time, most colors stay workable for several days so you can get a head start on drying before you even paint.  Some colors such as Burnt Umber dry quickly anyway, so a little experimentation may be needed depending on the colors that you use.

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Now this reminds me of a friend who drives around with her wet paintings in the trunk of her car, especially in the summer.  She calls it the drying box ... and miracle of miracles, claims the paintings come out looking better than when she put them in!  

Mary  Wink

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Not Ranked
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Verified by European

A few things you can do that might help, one, make sure your painting is getting enough air circulation. If you have a ceiling fan, turn it on to help the air movement. If your painting is really wet, you may want to consider if you are going to stir up dust. Some people do not want dust to settle on a painting while it drys. You can make a homemade type tent with a bed sheet to protect the painting from dust. You will have to figure out if this would work for you or just turn and lean the painting to a wall to reduce dust bunnies. The reason for air movement is oil paint dries by oxidation. Also if it is winter where you are, make sure the room is warm. Oil paint takes longer to dry to the touch if the room is cold. Next time if you would like to hurry the drying process, one easy method is to add a paint medium with an alkyd resin. These type of mediums are ready made and speed drying. I like MGraham walnut oil alkyd painting medium.

  • | Post Points: 25
Not Ranked
7 Posts
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Verified by European

There are several things you can do.  As mentioned, you can replace your regular oil titanium white for a tube of alkyd white.  It dries more quickly and, since you mix white with most colors, you will speed the drying time.  

You can also buy a bottle of cobalt drier.  You will find it where you find oil mediums.  Grumbacher makes it, among others.  Just a drop of it in your regular medium will speed the drying time.  The more you add, the faster it will dry, but don't go overboard.  A drop or two added to the medium is enough.  If you aren't using medium, add a drop to several of the slower drying colors, like the cadmiums.

There are quite a few mediums that contain driers, in addition to Graham walnut oil with alkyd.  Grumbacher's Pale Drying Oil is linseed oil with the alkyd drier.  Any brand of medium that says it has copal in it will also speed drying.  Again, if you don't use medium, you may apply a light coat of the medium with dryer to a dry oil painting, before you apply the next layer.  It should be a very thin coat.  Apply with a brush and then wipe it back with a lint-free cloth or shop towel.  My favorite drying medium for this approach is the Pale Drying Oil.

Good luck!

Mary

 

Top 500 Contributor
62 Posts
Points 1,095
Verified by European

Thank you both very much, I really appreciate it. As you can see, this is new to me and I still have a lot to learn.

Have a nice day!

  • | Post Points: 25
Top 500 Contributor
126 Posts
Points 10,395
Verified by European

There are a number of mediums you can use to speed up the drying time of oils, including the ones already mentioned. There are several brands of alkyd medium that are all compatible with oils, some have a gel-like consistency, others that are fluid. You can either mix them into the paints or apply a coat of the medium to the painting surface before you apply the oils.

Some artists use sun-thickened linseed oil to speed up the drying time, either mixed with the paint or applied to the canvas.

As with all materials, you'll have to find out which one works best for you. The mediums will thin the paint and you may not like that. Coating the canvas with a fast-drying medium will cause the initial applications of oil to dry quickly without making them transparent, but it will have less influence on the top layers.

Steve Doherty

  • | Post Points: 25
Top 200 Contributor
246 Posts
Points 5,575
Trusted Users

One thing that has worked for me is to place my wet oils in the garage for a couple of days, with the door open whenever I can leave it.  The fresh air helps a lot to dry the paintings as they dry by oxidisation and with the air conditioning or heat on in the house the air isn't as fresh.

Another point - if you paint often as I do, you can squeeze your paint on to the palette ahead of time, most colors stay workable for several days so you can get a head start on drying before you even paint.  Some colors such as Burnt Umber dry quickly anyway, so a little experimentation may be needed depending on the colors that you use.

  • | Post Points: 40
Not Ranked
7 Posts
Points 165
Verified by European

Now this reminds me of a friend who drives around with her wet paintings in the trunk of her car, especially in the summer.  She calls it the drying box ... and miracle of miracles, claims the paintings come out looking better than when she put them in!  

Mary  Wink

  • | Post Points: 40
Not Ranked
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Mixing mineral spirits with your paint for the first layer will help it dry much much quicker.  Usually within hours depending on your paint to thinner relationship. After that first layer, liquin original's a good choice for making paint dry quickly.  Liquin impasto is even faster but it makes the paint too shiny in my opinion.  Its all a matter of personal taste but it may be right for you.

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I haven't read the other responses, so this might be a repeat.  The Artist's Handbook has a fantastic mix for what you are looking for.  If you haven't read the book yet...I would recommend picking up a copy.  It has so much useful information, including chemical analyses of painting mediums and thinners.

The mixture I use is similar to what they recommend.  It is

1 part linseed oil

1 part Dammar Varnish

1 part Turpintine

about 10 drops of Cobalt Drier.

Mix it all up. 

My mixture uses a lesser quantity of Stand Oil in place of linseed oil, and a larger quantity of Turp.  It doesn't really make that big a difference.

This will significantly speed up the drying process of your paintings...I guarantee!

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