Using sunlight to speed drying?ApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
Question asked 2017-04-16 16:43:34 ...
Most recent comment 2017-04-24 14:30:11
Art Conservation Topics
Someone on another forum (who lives in a warm climate) recently mentioned deliberately placing paintings in the sun to speed drying. They do it both when finished and between layers. They mentioned that paint dried to the touch in a matter of hours. It made me curious. It sound convenient but I suspect that there are some inherent dangers to this approach. I looked through the resource documents and there were hints that it was not a best pratcice but I couldn't find any explicit information. Any insights into potential problems with this practice?
Thanks in advance.
Answers and Comments
We recently had a very similar query come in regarding this topic (one that dates back to the time of Jan van Eyck in fact). We recommend reading our response on the other thread which you can find here and let us know if you have any additional questions.
Probably we should avoid the phrase “forced drying” in this context,
and reserve that for paints that either dry by evaporation, or in the case of
oil paint, the addition of catalytic metal driers. As you know, oil paints dry
by oxidation. In this scenario, the light, and consequent heat, may slightly
speed up the oxidation rate (due to the fact that higher temperatures will
increase reaction rates) as well as the action of UV light accelerating aging. If
taken to extremes, the speed of reactions will be increased more at the surface
of the paint than below the surface. This does occur naturally in oil
paint films because of the greater availability of oxygen at the surface, but,
in theory, you are only exacerbating this with prolonged exposure to heat and
The effect in reality is probably minimal beyond perhaps jump
starting oxidation reactions. I do think that most of the impact of sun is to
bleaching out some of the components that contribute to yellowing. Prolonged
light exposure should be avoided for obvious reasons including the Increasing
fading of sensitive pigments.
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