Skip to Main Content
Sign In
Toggle Navigation

Open the Navigation Management window, which can be used to view the full current branch of the menu tree, and edit it.

  • Instagram
  • Facebook

MITRA Forum Question Details

Image Picker for Section 0


  • Using only oil as mediumApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2018-01-31 18:43:27 ... Most recent comment 2019-04-25 08:30:27
    Oil Paint

    Is the practice of using only oil - without any solvent - sound? Presuming I don't use an excessive amount of oil (meaning, one that would create a layer of its own, separate from the paint), would the produced paintings be technically sound, from a conservation standpoint?

    Assuming that this is the case, is there any sound way to speed up the drying time without toxic chemicals (siccatives etc.)?

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Yes, it's certainly possible to achieve durable results using oil colors with a minimum effective amount​ of drying oil as a medium. Since you'll be using manual force to deposit paint, oil with lower viscosity like walnut or raw linseed would work better than polymerized oils like stand and thickened. A "thirsty" or "slow" ground like acrylic dispersion primer ('gesso') will cause strokes to break and drag, so you may want to reserve some cheaper or worn brushes to rough in the frottis when working in oil over acrylic. You may wear out some tufts at first until you get used to the more viscous paint; generously loading the brush helps.

    A "fast" ground like oil or alkyd will facilitate smoother brush movement in the first layer. An acrylic ground can be made less absorbent by rubbing in a very small amount of oil (again, the bare minimum effective amount).

    More neutral-colored oils like safflower and poppy are generally slower drying than linseed oil. You can support faster drying without using catalytic siccatives like Japan Drier by selecting pigments that are strong driers, like raw and burnt umber, which can be added in tiny amounts to blacks and dark neutrals.

    Matthew Kinsey, Utrecht Art Supplies
    2018-01-31 20:00:11
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    In addition to pigment selction, keeping the painting in inirect light, in a warm environment, and with good air flow (not direct sunlight, unless this is only for a very limited time like a few hours, and without the use of strong heaters or fans) will promote a good drying rate. Your choice of oil should be directed by the handling properties and effects that you are trying to achieve. Smooth, long, or easily blended strokes require a less viscous oil or a thin couch of oil to paint into. Broken, dragged effects may require less oil or a stickier, viscous variety. Also, as Matthew mentioned, the type of ground will play a major role in these handling properties as well.

    Brian Baade
    2018-01-31 22:21:42
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​I have also found that softer sythetic brushes glide better over acrylic grounds with some tooth than harder snythetic brushes. That helps with brushing..

    2018-02-01 03:47:19
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    Thank you for all the replies. Can I put one or more layers of acrylic medium over acrylic ground and paint over that once it's dry instead of a couch of oil?​ Or can the smoothness of the dried medium cause problems?

    2018-02-01 16:17:12
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Oil paint will adhere to a dry layer of acrylic medium, but it might be a good idea to first evaluate different brands of acrylic primer to see if one yields the results you want. Some are more absorbent than others.

    Matthew Kinsey, Utrecht Art Supplies
    2018-02-01 16:56:21
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    It should be fine as long as you avoid applying so much acrylic medium that it becomes overly slick and glassy. ​That could cause adhesion problems and possible delamination.

    Brian Baade
    2018-02-01 23:06:26
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    I see. I will do my own testing, thank you for the advice.​

    2018-02-02 12:47:21
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    Oil painting is the process of painting with pigments with a medium of drying oil as the binder. An artist might use several different oils in the same painting depending on specific pigments and effects desired. The paints themselves also develop a particular consistency depending on the medium. Artist blending the wet paint to made the oil painting on canvas without following the Renaissance-era approach of layering and glazing. 

    2019-04-25 08:30:27

Page Settings and MetaData:
(Not Shown on the Page)
Page Settings
MetaData for Search Engine Optimization
MITRA Forum Question Details
This page cannot be accessed until you accept the Terms of Use, which can be found here.
Please note that this Terms of Use system uses cookies. If you have cookies disabled you will not be able to accept the agreement. If you delete our cookies you will need to re-accept the Terms of Use.
  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489