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When painting in oils, it is necessary to avoid putting layers of "lean" (faster-drying) paint over "fat" (slower-drying) paint. However, I'm not quite sure how this relates to using alkyd mediums with regular oil paints. The problem is that alkyds dry faster than oils, even though the mediums themselves contain drying oils as well. Therefore, it would seem that layers containing more medium (drying faster) should be painted before the layers containing less medium (drying slower), which is the opposite of using regular linseed or walnut oil in traditional oil painting. Is this correct? Or does it not matter, so long as the previous layer is touch dry (since the solvents in the medium would "bite into" the previous layer)? Also, I remember reading that if alkyd mediums are used, they should be used throughout, in all layers. Is that so?
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There is an excellent response regarding alkyds, flexibility, drying rates and "fat over lean" in this thread: https://www.artcons.udel.edu/mitra/forums/question?QID=214
If you feel this doesn't completely satisfy your request, feel free to post followup questions.
Thank you for the reply. I read the thread you linked and - as far as I can tell - so long as the differences in alkyd medium content between layers are minute, the fatness of any layer isn't as important. I'd assume that this also means that this also applies to layers that are semi-dry or touch dry, not fully dry?
It is generally best to wait until initial layers a dry to
the touch before continuing painting in oils and alkyds as the upper layer
can slow down the oxidation of the lower layer. This can create a situation
where upper layers are more brittle than those below them resulting in
cracking. We see this phenomenon on many 18th-20th
century paintings. The situation is exacerbated when driers are used in final