How to Speed Up the Drying Time of Oil Paint

The temps sechage peinture a l’huile time of oil paint is one of the most common frustrations that many painters experience. It can take several days for the paint to dry to the touch and weeks or even months for a painting to fully cure (become stable) and ready to be varnished. However, the process of drying can be influenced in various ways and there are ways to speed up the curing of oil paint without affecting its long term stability.

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Oil paint is a thick medium that consists of pigment and oils. The oils are the binding agents that essentially hold the pigments together to form the paint film on the canvas. Depending on the type of oil used, the dilution, and the pigments that are in the paint, the drying time can vary. Oil mediums such as linseed oil, poppy oil, walnut oil, and stand oil can be added to the paint to increase its fluidity or transparency for use in glazing colours and details. These also slow down the drying time slightly but linseed oil is the fastest.

Other factors that influence drying times include the climate, the thickness of the paint layers and the age of the paint (it may have been stored in tubes for a while and already started to oxidize). It is also helpful to apply a primer or gesso before beginning a painting as this creates an ideal surface layer for the oil to adhere to. A fan to promote air circulation, natural light and the use of siccatives such as turpentine or a chemical solution can also help to speed up the drying process.

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