View Full Version : New tutorial: Drying times

01-19-1999, 06:32 PM
I've posted a new tutorial in the oils category entitled, "Paint Drying Times" - if you are just getting into oil painting, this is a must-read... :-)


02-08-1999, 01:20 AM
Really appreciate your chart on drying times.
As you can guess, I'm what I call a "Sunday Painter" (read "rank amateur") and will take all of the help I can get. As I'm just getting started with oils, I, for one, would appreciate a similar chart on "Lean" and "Fat" colors when you have nothing else to do :-)

Thanks again!

02-08-1999, 05:24 AM
Hi there Rebob.

I'm not sure what you mean by "fat" and "lean" colors. "Fat" paint is not thinned with medium, while "lean" paint is. Hence, the old "fat over lean" concepts of oil painting. Hmm - time for a new tutorial?

However, oil paints do have different levels of opacity. Some paints are more transparent than others - is this what you need?

Best regards.

02-08-1999, 08:57 PM
A-HA!!! See, again your straight forward answer saves the day! I guess there was a real misunderstanding on my part re "Fat" and "Lean" paints - My interpretation of all that I've read was that the color had a lot to do with it. Yeah, a tutorial on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again and keep up the great work!!!!!

PS: I understand the opacity/transparancy issue.

Paul Isaacs
03-14-1999, 06:38 AM
I thought a fat color was one that needed a lot of oil when making up the paint, e.g. terre verte, and a lean one needed little, e.g. true naples yellow.

Paul Isaacs
Please remove nospam and the extra com from address when replying by mail

03-15-1999, 09:51 AM
I stand corrected - thanks for pointing that out, Paul. I should have used the word "thinner" instead of medium!

Fat colors contain a higher degree of medium, generally "oil".

Thin colors, of course, have a lesser degree of medium.

When paint thinner is mixed with oil paints, it significantly reduces the ratio of oil, thus making it a "thin" wash of color.

I generally paint with colors out of the tube - mixing brands that have a good consistency, thus, I generally do not add medium. My fat over lean consists of me thinning paint for the tonal wash and underpainting, and the more opaque layers of paint (generally only 1 or 2) without thinning.


03-15-1999, 11:17 PM

Thank you for that info on fat and lean. I never understood it before as the text books tend to be complex. I am enjoying your site very much and am a regular visitor. I especially enjoy the tutorials. When will there be some on pastels as I am a keen pastel painter?
Take care - Amanda from Australia

03-16-1999, 12:17 AM
Hi there, Amanda!

Glad you are enjoying the site and find it useful. I have had discussions with several pastel artists and associations in regard to providing some content - we'll keep our fingers crossed! :-)

Best regards.

03-18-1999, 10:01 AM
scottb said that he wasn't sure what the other poster mean by "fat" colors so I thought I'd try to explain.

Some colors, even right out of the tube, have more oil content than others. For instance Ivory Black is a "fat" color. By comparison Mars Black is a "lean" color.

I've been told never to use Ivory Black straight out of the tube in an underpainting for this reason.

03-09-2006, 06:59 PM
Hi, I'm new here and I'm trying to figure out how to get to this "Paint Drying Times" tutorial... Can anyone help?

03-09-2006, 07:35 PM
hi carletta, welcome to wetcanvas! and the oils forum. the article you are looking for is from 1999, i did a search and was unable to locate it either. is there a specific question you have? someone here will likely know the answer.

03-09-2006, 11:06 PM
Hi Carletta, welcome to the oils forum!
Generally an oil painting takes at least 6 months to properly cure. Temperature and humidity of course have an impact. Thick paint, especially if more oil has been added, would take longer. You can paint additional layers when the previous layer is dry to the touch- but just because it is dry to the touch doesn't mean the paint has actually finished the drying process.

Oil paint dries by oxidation- this is versus evaporation, the way acrylic and watercolors dry. Some colors take longer to dry than others- titanium white, for example, can be a bit slow drying.