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Old 01-06-2010, 11:54 AM
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Ian Bruce Ian Bruce is offline
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speed drying an oil painting--suggestions?

I have a painting that I completed last Saturday for drop-off at a show this Saturday. I'd like to get it touch dry and get a coat of touch-up vanish on it by then. (It is entitled 'Fish heads' and was posted a day or two ago)

Any ideas of how I can speed the drying? I have had it pretty close to the wood stove but the white is still pretty soft. I don't have another painting that fits the theme of this show.

Desperate for ideas!
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:01 PM
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Keith Russell Keith Russell is offline
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Re: speed drying an oil painting--suggestions?

Heat doesn't "dry" oil paint; oil paints don't actualy "dry". They oxidize (for want of a better word, they rust...)

I'm not as familiar with the actual chemistry of this process as I hope to be someday, but I don't think there's anything you can do to hasten the process.
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:06 PM
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Re: speed drying an oil painting--suggestions?

If it was me, I would get out my little, portable, and
very hot hair dryer and go to work on that painting.
It's a great source of high volumn hot air...art
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:06 PM
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Re: speed drying an oil painting--suggestions?

It should be touch dry by then. A warm area will help. Put it near (not on top of!) a heater/radiator.
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:11 PM
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Re: speed drying an oil painting--suggestions?

OK, stapeliad and artc are claiming that heat will hasten the paint's oxidation.

Can anyone explain 1) if this really will work, and 2) how it works, if it does?

Thanks!
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:22 PM
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Re: speed drying an oil painting--suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Russell
OK, stapeliad and artc are claiming that heat will hasten the paint's oxidation.

Can anyone explain 1) if this really will work, and 2) how it works, if it does?

Thanks!

Heat will increase the speed of reaction. More energy in the air will increase the chances of oxygen molecules hitting the paint and reacting. Increasing the amount of oxygen in the air or increasing air pressure would speed the process too, so even a cold fan will help.

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Old 01-06-2010, 12:50 PM
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Re: speed drying an oil painting--suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Sheeky
Heat will increase the speed of reaction. More energy in the air will increase the chances of oxygen molecules hitting the paint and reacting. Increasing the amount of oxygen in the air or increasing air pressure would speed the process too, so even a cold fan will help.

Mark

Thanks.

Using a fan makes more sense to me than heat. Didn't Leonardo have a painting melt right off of a wall, from too much heat?
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:58 PM
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Re: speed drying an oil painting--suggestions?

You don't want intense direct heat. Just a warm area.

My easel is by the heater, and when the heat is on my paintings dry much faster...which is annoying because sometimes I'd like more "open" time. And the palette dries too.

I just finished a painting which kept drying overnight (and the palette too)...because the heat was on. Usually I can keep a palette out for at least 3, 4 days and my paintings are not touch dry overnight.
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:11 PM
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Re: speed drying an oil painting--suggestions?

Freezing will slow oxidation to a crawl. Cold will slow it considerably. Room temp about 70F, average drying, warm like about 100F will accelerate it but it still takes time. Too much heat can be detrimental can't say exact temp though, I assume that it can alter the process of oxidation/polymerization in a negative way.
Bottom line, warmth and time, your only option at this point.
I have old hot water radiators and if I want quicker drying I place them above one. In the summer I leave them in a warm car. I would not even consider holding a hair dryer on them because the time frame for proper drying still will be in the few days range. Quick drying colors like burnt umber, maybe a day or so to touch but dry to touch is not thoroughly dry either.

Last edited by sidbledsoe : 01-06-2010 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:24 PM
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Re: speed drying an oil painting--suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Russell

Thanks.

Using a fan makes more sense to me than heat. Didn't Leonardo have a painting melt right off of a wall, from too much heat?
I think you thinking of the last supper. But it is causes by an improper fresco technique, among other issues.
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Old 01-06-2010, 03:27 PM
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Re: speed drying an oil painting--suggestions?

Thank you for the suggestions, everyone. I don't usually pay much attention to how long my paintings take to dry--it always seems quick enough. This is the first time that I had such a tight deadline.

My house is not overly warm and gets quite chilly by morning (I have a small wood stove), and gets quite chilly again by the time I get home from work.

I guess I need to replicate the conditions within a closed up car on a hot day in Arizona! Perhaps an electric heater with a fan. I will try borrow one.
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Old 01-06-2010, 04:52 PM
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Re: speed drying an oil painting--suggestions?

all paints drying times are influenced by cold / heat / humidity cold paint will dry slower hot quicker

drying will also be influenced by how porus a surface it is used on / how much it is diluted and depending on the medium it is diluted with

liquin speeds up drying but can have undesired reactions other mediums will slow drying

a friend from another forum has built a closed drying cabinet with steady warm airflow

when it's cold i put mine on top of the radiator to get gentle rising heat

this seems to narrow drying times considerably

unsure they totaly dry by oxidisation a good percentage has to be carrier medium evaporation the smell you get from the paint and mediums will be from them gradualy evaporating !!
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Old 01-06-2010, 05:01 PM
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Re: speed drying an oil painting--suggestions?

I put one of my paintings in front of the heater for a day once, it seemed to work, but the paint was also pretty thin.
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Old 01-06-2010, 08:59 PM
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Re: speed drying an oil painting--suggestions?

Heat and light both help, I would shine an incandescent light on it.
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:33 AM
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Re: speed drying an oil painting--suggestions?

Neither heat nor air will help with a thick over thin application of oils. Each depth has to dry at its own rate. If oxidation doesn't occur naturally, with time as the only ingredient, you would risk having the person who may buy the painting return it to you in a couple of years time to ask why it's cracking and crazing. It might be risk to hasten drying within a week, but if it's not drying on its own, you might consider entering something else this time instead. (Even if it didn't sell and you brought it back, you would be losing a painting to cracks).
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