View Full Version : Any advice on trying Alkyds?

08-26-2001, 04:33 PM
I recently bought some W&N Alkyds, but have a few questions about using them. Can I mix them with my oil paint to speed drying? Is there anything I should be carefull of in doing this? What is your opinion of Alkyds vs. Oils? Any opinions, advice or warnings would be appreciated. Please, keep it simple as I am a relative beginner. Thanks.

08-26-2001, 08:41 PM
W&N says that you can mix alkyds with traditional oils, or use them underneath the oils, but they recomment not applying over the oils.

I got this information from the W&N "Oil Colour Book" which is very informative and you can download directly from their website.

I've got no personal experience using alkyds, I'm waiting for my 3 free sample tubes they advertised in "The Artists Magazine" (July issue I believe).

good luck!

08-27-2001, 02:36 PM
I agree, they're fine but use them under regular oil paint layers (if you're going to use both) because it's 'lean'er paint. I know a couple people who underpaint with the alkyds. I have some alkyd medium which I'm trying - it makes it a little easier because I can just add a bit to the oils and get used to the drying properties. (although I don't intend to use them more than occassionally) :)


08-27-2001, 03:48 PM
Rae, alkyds tend to be very transparent compared to oils so they are ideal for glazing techniques. They are also good for impasto work as alkyd medium is much more resistant to cracking over time than linseed oil.

You may come across mention (particularly online) of potential problems with adhesion between layers with alkyd paints, or with Liquin and other alkyd mediums when used with oil paints. Personally, I suggest you take most of this with a pinch of salt, maybe do some tests of your own and decide for yourself.

The Oil Colour Book is definitely worth reading thoroughly for anyone interested in oil painting although we have to bear in mind that this is produced by a manufacturer so it would probably be wise to compare information with other reliable sources if there is any doubt.


08-27-2001, 05:37 PM
I personally don't like them. I've had to use them a couple of times in class-portrait painting. Because they are fast drying, the paint would start to thicken. Fine if you're a fast painter and get it right the first time, but if not, it can cause some headaches. The advantages are not having to add driers/medium to the paint which dilutes the color or thins the paint too much. So it goes on heavy and opaque and will be dry the next day. But I personally don't like feeling like I have to rush to finish or it'll be too late. Naw, I'll stick to the regular stuff.

08-27-2001, 10:03 PM
Thanks to everyone for the input. Rebob- I did check out the "Oil Colour Book" (keeping in mind who wrote it). Einion- the reason for buying them was mainly for glazing. I'm glad to hear they work well for that. Elisabeth- I'm not a real fast painter. Guess I'll just have to give them a try and see for myself. Would it work to mix them half/half with regular oil paint?

08-29-2001, 02:53 PM
I use Winsor Newtown Griffin alkyd titanium white as my underpainting white either alone or mixed with WN foundation white. I appreciate the quick drying as it can be overpainted the next day. My only reservations about alkyd colors or mediums is their reputation for poor adhesion; I have seen paintings done with akyd mediums scale off. I am always careful to abraid the surface of my underpainting with these colors with a 3M finishing pad or pumice (using water to elimiate the lead dust, of course) so as to get rid of any glossiness and provide microscopic roughness to aid paint adhesion.

08-29-2001, 05:30 PM
Originally posted by Rae
[B. Would it work to mix them half/half with regular oil paint? [/B]

I can't speak for the others or for longevity past 2 years, but the times when I used the alkyd white was in portrait painting classes, it was necessary for the previous days work to be dry in order for us to do the next stage. Only the white was alkyd. So in essence we did mix other non-alkyd colors into the white alkyd with no adverse effects. As for a 50-50 combo..I'm not sure but it may prevent it from being dry the next day. With my mix it was more 2/3rds alkyd and 1/3 or less of the other colors.

My personal experience was it mixed fine and after 2 years, the paintings are holding up just as well as those painted without alkyds.