Monday, August 3, 2009

More Working with Alkyds

Red Shed, 5x7,

Fireweed Field, 5x7

I'm continuing to play with alkyd paints, as you can see from these two small pieces. Over the weekend, I began running out of the white and wondered if I could use a traditional oil white with it. Also, I wondered if I could perhaps use a traditional three-part varnish with it to extend the drying time a bit. (On a hot day, alkyds dry almost too fast!)

I asked the manufacturer these questions. Here are the answers:

Yes, one can use traditional oil white with the alkyds, and it will slow down the drying rate. To incorporate traditional oils into the alkyds, mix them thoroughly with the alkyds. Applying a thin layer of alkyd over a linseed oil-bound color is to be avoided. ... It is not recommended that alkyd colors be mixed with damar-based mediums. These unlike materials may bond poorly over time and the damar will weaken the flexibility of the overall paint film.

After a few experiments, I'm of the opinion that alkyds are a useful tool in the oil painter's toolbox.

By the way, the excellent painter Robert Dance ( has written two good essays on working with alkyds. You can read his essays here:

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