Alkyd oil paints have been manufactured with a special alkyd resin as opposed to the traditional linseed oil or poppy oil, which makes the term “alkyd oils,” a misnomer. As opposed to the traditional oils, alkyd paints are translucent and dry quickly, which makes them an ideal choice for the artist who wishes to practice glazing with oil paints.
Liquin Alkyd Flow Medium
alkyd paints can be reaped with traditional oils by the introduction of an alkyd flow medium, such as Liquin. Again, Liquin is an alkyd based gel that adds transparency and flow to the oil paint, but unlike linseed oil, it accelerates the drying time of oil paint and leaves a matt finish.
Fast Drying Oil Paint
Alkyd paints or using Liquin with oils are similar in that both are ideal for glazing techniques. This means that the pigment is translucent and can be applied in a similar way to watercolour washes. Each glaze modifies the colour beneath in that it makes the colour richer, lighter or darker as the artist wishes. As alkyd mediums dry quickly, the second glaze can be applied within a day or so before applying the next glaze. Portraiture, sky sketches and floral art are ideal subject matter for glazing with oil paints.
Fat Over Lean with Oils
When using Liquin, it is wise to introduce a little more of the medium to the oil paint with each layer. This means that the dense layer beneath provides a sound foundation for the thinner layers on top. This applies to linseed oil too, because linseed retards the drying time of oil paint. The lower layers must dry before the upper layers to prevent the upper layers of paint from cracking whilst drying.
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How to Use Alkyd Medium
Alkyd Mediums for Glazing Techniques
Glazing with oil paints provides delicate pastels, soft hues or rich colours, which are difficult to attain in alla prima. In fact, some of the old masters used to apply ten or more thin glazes of oil paint before they were satisfied with the result, but effective glazing techniques do not necessarily require going to such lengths. Personally, I have found that two or three glazes are sufficient for my oil paintings.
Essential Oil Painting Materials for Glazing
The artist may wish to invest in a selection of Griffin Alkyd oil paints. But traditional oil paints can be used with Liquin to get the same effects. Soft brushes, such as good quality sable artist brushes are essential for glazing techniques. Round sizes 3 for detail and up to 20 for larger areas. Soft brushes are available in an array of shapes, but bright (or flat) or fan brushes are good for glazing large areas. If the painting is completely dry, I sometimes use a soft rag to gently wipe a glaze over the painting, which help give an airbrushed finish.
Since alkyd mediums dry quickly, it is essential to clean the brushes immediately after the painting session in artists spirits and then washing up liquid.