View Full Version : Using Alkyds
09-10-2001, 04:07 PM
About a year ago I was painting miniatures using alkyds and found them to be much easier to use than oils for small paintings, mainly because they dry so much faster. Now I'm doing "small" paintings (approxitmately 5 x 7 and slightly larger) and would like to use them again. One of my questions is whether alkyds can be used over acrylic underpaintings the same way that oils can. They seemed to be more vibrant than traditional oils and I don't know whether it was the way I handled them or if they really are. Also would like to know how long you should wait before putting a coat of varnish on them.
09-10-2001, 05:47 PM
Thank you so much for asking this Les, i have a lot of questions about them myself.
I have an ad before me for W&N GRIFFIN ALKYD. It says 'touch dry in 24 hours'.
The appeal in that for me would be for underpaintings mostly.
The ad goes on to say: Complete and oil painting in 24 hours, layer on a glaze every day, add a final varnish in 4-6 weeks. It also says that they are milled with artists' quality pigments in a non-yellowing, oil modified alkyd resin.
This of course would explain the fast drying properties.
it also says : versatile range of 51 colors dries quickly to produce a paint film of great clarity and brilliance. The quick drying time makes them perfect for underpainting; exquisite translucency means that they are ideal for applying traditional glazes.
One of my new favorie artists is Alice Dalton Brown. Her work is discussed in the October issue of American Artist magazine. She uses both traditional oils and alkyds, sometimes in the same painting. I already had questions about these paints and now that i've seen her work i have even more.
09-10-2001, 06:33 PM
I have a question. Rather than investing in a lot of money in a whole new set of paint..why not just add a fast dryer like liquin to your current oils? It will also be dry the next day. I just don't see any advantage to alkyds that I can't get by adding a fast dryer to regular oils.
so if I'm not seeing something..please enlighten. Thanks
09-10-2001, 07:43 PM
Cheryl and Elizabeth
The fact that it dries in 24 hours probably does explain why my colors were so much brighter when I was using the alkyds as they had time to dry completely before applying the next glaze. sometimes you can work even faster though - four to five hours. W&N Griffin is what I have but I can only get it through a catalog (surprise!!) I noticed in the Blick catalog that Grumbacher now has alkyds as well. (Maybe they always did but I've never seen them in my local store)
One of my concerns IS the "Liquin." By the time I finished the bottle I was using it had turned very dark. If it is turning dark in the bottle, it seems to stand to reason it will turn dark on the painting. Someone else said the same thing in a discussion a while back. Plus it didn't "flow." Also, although using Liquin with oil may be dry to the touch overnight, it won't really be dry for at least three months. There are other drying agents that can be used with oils, but I bought one recently and it was so strong it almost knocked me over. (blue stuff) My goal is to be able to finish a small painting quickly and I do not generally like acrylics although I've done one or two fair paintings with them.
I'll look for the magazine the next time I'm out.
09-10-2001, 09:05 PM
Originally posted by Elisabeth
why not just add a fast dryer like liquin to your current oils? It will also be dry the next day. I just don't see any advantage to alkyds that I can't get by adding a fast dryer to regular oils.
Please understand, Elizabeth, that this reply is based purley on speculation as i have no experience with these paints but to add a dryer is certainly going to give a lesser amount of coverage. When you add liquin or any other medium to your paint it thins the paint to a much more translucent state. I'm hoping to find that the alkyds accelertae the drying time without losing pigment concentration or coverage.
Les, i can understand your concern about the Liquin turning dark vs the alkyd paints changing in color but the difference may lie in the fact that Liquin is a synthetic alkyd resin, whereas the alkyd paints (at least the W&N ones) are made of oil modified alkyd resin. I don't exactly know what 'synthetic' alkyd resin means, but i'm sure it's not the real thing. They will probably behave differently.
BTW, i DO use liquin and haven't noticed any difference in the way my paintings look up to three years later.
09-11-2001, 07:08 AM
It's been a while since I used the alkyds so I needed to refresh my memory. I went to see what I could find in "Miniature Painting" by Joan Cornish Willies, and lo and behold I found a fact sheet about WN Alkyds tucked into it. It's too long to quote the whole thing, but it does say that alkyds can be thinned with mineral spirits for faster drying, or thickened with linseed oil or stand oil to extend drying time and make it creamier. They recommend Liquin for glazing and say it can be thinned with mineral spirits as well. I'll get another bottle of Liquin and try it again, maybe there was something wrong with the bottle I had (or me!!).
Cheryl to answer your question about using it for an underpainting it says: "Alkyd is ideal for underpainting even when subsequent layers may be executed in oil paint alone. The use of a fan will accelerate the evaporation of solvents so that in 10 to 15 minutes overpainting may be started."
This fact sheet is from 1990 but it is filled with good information. I'll try to contact WN about getting an update.
09-11-2001, 07:59 AM
Les , Elisabeth , Cheryl -
Liquin contains -
[1 ] Alkyd resin part [ probably soybean oil + man made resin ]
[ 2 ] A thickener
[ 3 ] Cobalt drier [ the blue knock you out stuff ? ]
[ 4 ] Solvent - mineral spirits .
Alkyd Paint contains -
Alkyd resin [ probably soybean oil + man made resin ] and pigment - possibly modified with a little stand oil [ keeps it flexible , lowers yellowing and adds coat strength ]
[ and some solvent ? ]
and drier .
Alkyd resin cannot hold as much pigment as normal drying oils.
They are always more translucent.
The cobalt dries the top of the coat , Soy Bean Oil does not naturally dry well . Has to " cure " for around 8 months in my climate [ 75 to 90 deg.F , humidity 50 to 80 % ] to become -
dry - like linseed oil does naturally.
So you painting over layers that are only dry - on the surface
----- a skin .
Driers do not stop drying , they continue to dry even after the
paint is touch dry .
This can lead to cracks , discolouring etc. of the binder.
You will however not see this in under 50 years.
Liquin was designed to be a gel , and thixotropic .
Cobalt as a liquid is very poisonous. See Sinopia.com for
California State Warnings.
Fortunately only tiny amounts are needed , it is a catalyst.
There are driers in Alkyd paints and in many commercially
tubed paints. Adding more is unnecessary.
Hope this helps.
09-11-2001, 08:30 AM
Thanks for that information. Yes "Cobalt" is what I was referring to - have a bad case of CRS (Can't Remember - nevermind!)
Very good information. I'll have to print this, sit down with a dictionary and "attempt" to absorb it. The cobalt was never used and returned. Don't need to work with that kind of chemical.
Isn't mineral spirits a dryer as well as a thinner? Is that a dumb question?
I normally use oils, but am doing a "project" of sorts that I want to dry fast and I just can't seem to handle acrylics. Just little "household" paintings of tea cups, etc. If they last 50 years, I'll be very happy - but I'm sure by then they will have long gone by the wayside.
Can I assume that Alkyds can be used over an acrylic underpainting since oil can and can be mixed with alkyd? Does that make sense?
09-11-2001, 09:40 AM
Just went into WinsorNewton.com and they have a lot of information about alkyds and Liquin in the "Techniques" section.
09-13-2001, 07:56 PM
LDAllen, thanks for this thread!!! Can't spend too much time at computer right now, but AM going to visit WinsorNewton.com just for fun! The TV news is on and it is odd to be thinking about my art work and hearing the tragedy and sorrow in the background! If I were a few years younger I'd enlist!!!! Bless us all!
09-18-2001, 02:55 AM
Have a Look at the W&N pamphlet on alkyds ( No K37746Q or 7543361 which ever) gives heaps of information on the paint.Also a little bit a the bottom which I didnt realise was W&N,Griffen,Winsor,Liquin etc etc are all trade marks of ColArt Fine Arts and Graphics Ltd.So, all is not what it seems.
09-18-2001, 06:27 AM
Originally posted by ldallen
Isn't mineral spirits a dryer as well as a thinner? Is that a dumb question?
Can I assume that Alkyds can be used over an acrylic underpainting since oil can and can be mixed with alkyd?
there are no dumb questions.
mineral spirits is not a drier but a solvent, like turpentine.
a drier is something that catalyses the natural drying action of the paint vehicle.
a solvent is a thinner which mixes with the paint vehicle and spreads it, well, thinner.
the paint vehicle is the part of the paint that holding all the pigment. in oil paints, the vehicle is linseed (or other drying) oil. in alkyd paints, it is that alkyd resin, which is synthetic.
although mineral spirits is not a drier, oil paintings will dry faster when painted in thinned layers with mineral spirits. i have found that turpentine dries much faster, though.
i can't think of any reason an acrylic underpainting wouldn't accept an alkyd overpainting. but i have never done it myself. alkyds give me the willies!
09-18-2001, 11:13 AM
Hi BillyG! Haven't "talked" in a while. That is interesting - didn't notice it - of course I didn't read it all.
Sarkana - "although mineral spirits is not a drier, oil paintings will dry faster when painted in thinned layers with mineral spirits. i have found that turpentine dries much faster, though."
I guess that was what I was questioning. In your opinion, would "refined" turps be better to use when you are massing in your composition, than regular turpentine?
I tend to agree about the alkyds but I think for craft type projects they are fine. I probably will not replace them when I have used them up - will try to find a medium that works well with acrylics for those projects. If anyone has another suggestion besides "Liquin" I'd like to hear. I will use it if I have to but I'd at least like to "try" something else.
09-18-2001, 12:04 PM
Originally posted by ldallen
If anyone has another suggestion besides "Liquin" I'd like to hear. I will use it if I have to but I'd at least like to "try" something else. [/B]
There's Maroger which you can order thru studio products.
Originally posted by ldallen
If anyone has another suggestion besides "Liquin" I'd like to hear.
I have used three Gamblin alkyd mediums, and recommend them all. Galkyd is perhaps the closest to Liquin. It is the one I have used the most (I have only tried samples of the others) and I find it very easy to work with. Galkyd SD (slow-drying) is formulated to resemble stand oil. Galkyd Lite is, if my memory serves me correctly, intended for particularly quick drying. These mediums are pourable liquids, not gloppy gels like the Liquin. I have never known them to exhibit the irritating characteristic Liquin has of becoming "gluey" and "stringy" toward the end of the working time. Nor have I known them to turn frighteningly dark (or to turn dark at all) in the bottle. I believe Gamblin also has a tubed gel alkyd medium. - Brie
09-18-2001, 06:05 PM
Thank you Brie - now I recall seeing that in the Blick catalogue. I am planning on trying some of the Gamblin products anyway.
Elizabeth - I suppose Maroger could be mixed with alkyds. I love Maroger for oil, but I would think it would make the alkyds dry slower?? I want to order that as well, but I need to use up some of what I have first.
09-19-2001, 11:30 AM
there's always wingel or oleopaste, which are gel-like alkyd mediums. i defintely would recommend galkyd over liquin, but i'm not a huge fan of either. galkyd seems to not clump up as much as liquin, and i was able to use it as a successful substitute for my regular painting medium. but i can't stand the smell.
i wonder if there is anyone out there (maybe some acrylics forum members are lurking?) who has tried the MSA acrylics from Golden? i am thinking of giving them a test run. they might be another option for these methods which blend oil and acrylic techniques.
09-21-2001, 09:07 PM
Well, i bought three tubes of Alkyds (W&N) today and can't wait to get home and give them a run (i'm at work so other than a quickie test on paper i haven't been able tp play :) ) Will report on them soon. The price was very reasonable. $4.89 per tube, but i then opened my Jerrys catalouge and saw them for $1.40 cheaper. sigh....
Les you may want to check this out: www.colourshaper.com
09-22-2001, 09:34 AM
Well, you know how much I use (and love) my chisels since you first recommended them. Use them all the time. My son bought me a whole set of them, unfortunately they are only good for clay (too soft) - which I will use eventually as I love sculpting as much painting. The same thing (or what looks to be the same thing) is listed in the Blick catalog and I already have it on my "things to buy" list and will place the order in about a week. It's with the clay tools in the catalog - page 295. Take a look and tell me what you think.
09-29-2001, 04:48 PM
Here is a good link for you to learn more about Alkyds from the home page of Robert Dance:
09-29-2001, 06:53 PM
if your looking for mediums,driers etc for your oils,why not have a look at the recipes at www.studioproducts.com . There should be something there to suit everyone.
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