View Full Version : oil painting drying times

06-22-2007, 12:38 PM
Hello this is my first thread as a new member.

I use water mixable oil paints. I have been painting a few paintings using a palette knife creating an impasto effect. However while the paint applied is indeed quite thick in texture it is touch dry in two weeks time. I would like to carry on adding more paint as the paintings are not finished. However I am a little concerned about when to start repainting as I do not want to place more paint onto an area which appears dry to the touch but may not be really dry enough to carry working on. My biggest fear is to place more paint on a semi dry area and then the newly applied paint would start to crack when that dries.
I did read in an art instruction book that thickly applied paint could be painted over in two weeks time. This seems a bold statement seeing as some colours especially black take ages to dry. Infact I have recently started using a water mixable oil impasto medium. This medium is fine for black paint alone as it mixes in nicely, however if I use it with two or three other colours one of those being white it becomes very hard to actually mix in. The effect when placed on the canvas with a knife is quite blobby in places. While that seems ok, it is not really the ideal effect I was wanting. So I only use this medium with the black in the foreground towards the end of the painting now.
I do realise that i have perhaps asked two questions, one regarding drying times and two regarding using the impasto medium, but it is a general feedback of drying times and repainting or carrying on painting that I would really like some feedback on.

I do hope someone will be able to tell me of their own experiences on this matter.

06-22-2007, 07:08 PM
Hi SkyeNorth, I moved your thread to the Oil Painting forum, as that is where all the experts on oil paints hang out. :D I'm sure someone here can help you.

Carey Griffel
06-22-2007, 07:24 PM
Hello and welcome to the oil painting forum!

So far as I know, it is generally considered to be okay to apply your next layer of paint when the first is touch dry. (Or even before that.) I can paint quite thickly at times and I have never had a problem with further layers--sometimes I put them on before they are even 100% dry (in that case, the next layer can potentially bond physically with the previous layer, creating in essence one layer instead of two).

It seems that your question is basically about the so-called "fat over lean rule"...which can be complicated, but *only* because there are so many ways of explaining it and often it's not explained all that well, anyway. Basically the problem with such cracking, etc, is that you have a *less* flexible area of paint over a more flexible layer of paint. Things that make a paint layer more brittle can be adding solvents or driers or putting a noticeably thinner layer over one that is very thick. Things that make a paint layer more flexible are adding oil or an oil-rich medium (I'm not sure about what you're using, but I'd bet it falls into that category--likewise, Liquin and such things are in this category as well even though they make the paint dry faster) or using a much thicker layer of paint. If you are using basically the same type of paint (ie, the same level of flexibility) or more flexible paint in a subsequent layer (for the most part it doesn't necessarily matter how long the previous layer has been drying), then you should not worry about it.

We can't control all aspects of the paint on the canvas completely--but if you're at least basically following this so-called "rule", then you should not spend too much time thinking about it. :)


06-22-2007, 08:28 PM
Thank you Carey.
As long as the paint I am adding to a touch dry or semi dry paint is of equal thickness or thicker ...then I will be ok. My experience of one painting having cracked paint in the foreground would have been due to me adding a thin layer of paint over a thick layer. Mind you painting water ripples is not easy to do with thick paint!
I did ask another question when replying to a thread and I haven't found that thread.
I think it will take some time for me to find my way around WetCanvas.

thanks again for the feedback.