View Full Version : Alkyd vrs. Oils

04-15-2002, 03:54 AM
Nice day! Do you have any experience with alkyd colors? And what's your opinnion for that. I have just dicovered this new medium and it sounds very good for me as I need a quick drying layers for glazing technique and quick done work for illustrations, but I am a bit affraid.
Till now I used for book covers only combined technique of acrylic with briliant colors, because I had very short terms and I couldn't wait for long drying oils so I used oils only for my personal pleasure and non bussines work, but if that is true - I can have all .... short time drying technique, but wet enaugh at least for one day and all positives of oils together. So I could use it for illustration work too. I have read that it is also possible to mix it with traditional oil colors. But I am affraid of quality and technical problems in future. It sounds too me a quit exotic. Do you know something about stability of pigments, reaction with normal oils and which bacground to use? And one question out of topic. My friends gave me large, nice canavas as a present... great, but they bought canavas with acrylic gesso :-( What to do with that, I would like to use it, because it is of high quality, with gentle canavas for portraits, but ... but... Is there any way how to turn it to oil canavas? I dont want to use oil colors over acrylic background... and I don't want to sell it as it was present.

04-15-2002, 05:28 AM
I have seen an artist use alkyds as an underpainting, then going over with oils. I personally use normal oils but an alkyd medium (liquin) so have no problem with alkyds. Haven't tried the paints themselves because I only use the liquin as and when I want to change the texture or transparency of the paint.

As for the canvases - all commercial canvases are primed with acrylic gesso (not really gesso). These are fine for oils. I have my canvases custom made with acrylic gesso. Yes, there are arguments for traditional gessoing, but I wouldn't guess many artists actually do it anymore. (but know a few here do)


04-15-2002, 07:11 AM
Hi, Tina!
Thank you for your quick answer. :) So I will try it and than I will see. At least I will buy basic colors for beginning and some umbra's and sieannas which I use for underpainting layers. You know, I just wanted to know more, before I will spend half of my wages in the art shop. (the most dangerous place for me :) As for canavases, I was just affraid, because all painters from old school around were telling me what to do and not to do, so I had this in my memory as a rule. I am self-educated in painting, so I collect information everywhere, so I am very thankfull for this forum

04-15-2002, 12:00 PM
I use alkyds quite a bit for underpainting and have done some work with them as my primary material. I still favor traditional oils as a rule but the alkyds are great for thier fast drying properties. The pigments, lightfastness and all other basic qualities are rated the same as your traditional oils. They can be mixed with oils with no problems at all. The only real difference is that they're not quite as smooth and buttery as traditional oils and i tend to find myself using more medium with them. They really won't stay wet for an entire day though. They will start to feel pretty tacky on your canvas as well as your palette in just an hour or less. All in all i like them but wouldn't replace my traditional oils with them. There's room for both in my studio. :)

04-15-2002, 05:33 PM
Hi Jana, alkyd is an oil-modified resin based on vegetable oil. Pigment stability is roughly the same as for real oils, however the amount of pigment the alkyd medium can hold is lower than linseed oil's so they tend to be more transparent, sometimes quite a bit more transparent. While this means they are not so good for some painting techniques this makes them naturally good for glazing and they appear to be more stable used in multiple layers than traditional oil paint. The binder may be more prone to yellowing over time than linseed oil.

They can be directly mixed with real oils and layered with them but there is debate about whether it is best to use alkyds underneath or over oils in layers so you might want to do some research on this. Alkyds remain much more flexible than oils over time (as much as ten times better) and the 'fat over lean' rule can also be expressed as 'more flexible over less flexible' but the binding of an alkyd layer to oils underneath might not be as good as the reverse.

As for your canvas, many people use these all the time but there are worries expressed about how well oil paints bond to acrylics primers. These vary enormously from maker to maker so the question is not as simple as it might first appear, if you are worried about how the oils will bond to the acrylic, I would suggest judging the surface for yourself: if it is slightly shiny and feels smooth like plastic if you run a fingernail over it, it is probably too smooth to form a reliable bond with oils. If this is the case you could do two things, turn the canvas over and use the unprimed side which you would then treat the way you would normally. The other option is to sightly sand the acrylic surface with fine sandpaper to roughen it which will improve the mechanical bond with the oil paint.


04-16-2002, 03:35 AM
Thank you very much for your wanderfull support. I just came from shop. It was hell's expensive, but I am happy as a child. Soon I will experimentate with that new medium. There is only one shop who experimentaly sell alkyd's as a new medium and nobody knows anything about it here in Prague. I have some project in my head, so I will may be show my progress here on wet canavas and I would like to use these colors. You know I am just watching what is possible here, because I am here completly new member :angel:

That canavas is not so smooth, but anyway I will try to sand it gently. It's good idea. In a past I sometimes primed my own canavases or rather pripared wood boards, but now I have no studio, so I am working at my room.
:rolleyes: It's hard sometimes, because I have a smell of oils and turpentine everywere, my windows are still open and I have a forever cold.:p

04-16-2002, 08:14 AM
Jano! Dobrý den! Vítám vás na WetCanvas!
As I see this is your first post on WetCanvas, let me take this opportunity to welcome you on board! Drop in the Welcome Forum and say hi!

I've been having a quick look at your website... very nice! Particularly liked the scenes from Bretagne :D


04-16-2002, 08:42 AM
Bonjour James :p (Perfect czech )
Thank you for your nice welcome. Yes, I am just discovering interesting things on this website so I will visit Welcome forum soon. As for Bretagne ... really nice part of your land. I was there many times, but only once I had so much time for painting. I love Camaret sur Mer and Dinan with its medieval atmosphere.... oh and that crepes and cidre .. wild sea and high cliffs :D

04-16-2002, 08:52 AM
Thanks Jana!

I'm taking Czech lessons, so that helps a little...


04-22-2002, 10:58 PM
Welcome Jana---I too have enjoyed alkyds for quick drying properties as I don't care for the smell and sometimes can't wait for oils to dry in winter when I can't have windows open in our snowy climate. I like that they are mixable with regular oils & mine usually stay wet a day. I still like traditional oils best but in a pinch there is a place for them in my studio too. Have FUN!

04-23-2002, 04:28 AM
To James: funny ... I am taking a lessons of french now :) mais mon francaise est mal, parce que je etudie seulement six mois.:p

To artbabe: thank you! I have tryed it few days ago as some friends asked me to paint small wooden box, just for decoration. I used my new colors ... just as a test before I will start on canavas and it worked well. So I had a lot of fun. ;)

04-24-2002, 07:31 AM
Jana, I think your French is great for 6 months' study! Took me ages to learn the language! (English is my mother tongue)

Please let us know how you progress with the alkyds. I haven't tried them yet and would be interested in hearing about your first experiences....


04-24-2002, 08:58 AM
Thank you James :angel:

I will surely add some pictures of my painting process, but it will take me some time as I must finish some huge work before I will start some new image. I have been working on that project for 6 months and now I am just few steps from finishing it :D Freeeedooom!

.... here on picture ... I am on beginnig, but it was made by acrylic colors. I was a bit stupid that I didn't made any documentry photo, but this pages showed me, how it could be important. With the documentary photo, you could look on your painting from diffrent shape and you are able to see mistakes. So I will wake up my camera soon;)

04-24-2002, 12:01 PM
I do not use Alkyds myself but here is a useful link: http://www.rbdance.com/PaintingAlkyds.html