As far as I have understand about oil paintings and other choices of color painting media, the duration to completely dry an oil painting is longer than one can expect. Unlike acrylic paint, it dry much faster. The slow drying process for oil color could be an advantage to allow artists to work on it for many sessions. On the other hand, it could be frustrating for the final wait of drying oil painting before you able to frame it up.
You would had been done your artwork with painstaking attention, yet drying is another pressing issues for beginners who uses oil color. Waiting time may take even weeks to dry. So what takes oil painting so long time to dry?
For simple fact that oil do not dry by evaporation. The drying of oils is the result of an oxidative reaction, chemically equivalent to slow, flameless combustion. The thicker the coat of paint, the longer the waiting time will be. Having said that, there are 3 basic methods to shorten drying process. Namely, paint with thin layers, use paints ground in linseed oil, and use drying additives.
- Painting thin layers allows oxidation to permeate into oil layers easier, than thick or multiple layers on top of one another. Thus, shorter time is achieved and it also an added advantage for painting more layers on dryer oil surface.
- Linseed oil is made from the seeds of the flax plant. It is available in refined and cold-pressed oil. Beside a better and faster drying oil, it also has adds gloss and transparency to paints. It dries very thoroughly, making it’s ideal for under-painting and initial layers in a painting.
- Cobalt Driers are extremely powerful oxidizing agent. The adverse effect of using this addictive may affect the color of mixtures. So it is advisable to use it sparely. If used in excess they can ruin a painting. Most experienced painters would agree that not more than 5 drops of cobalt drier should be used per each 2 1/2 fluid Oz of any given medium. Basically Cobalt Driers are diluted in the oil painting medium if you are using one. It is harder to control the amount of drier, if directly into the blobs of paint on the palette. In short, Cobalt Driers are used to improve and speed the drying rate of oil colors.
Whatever the methods to increase the rate of drying oil painting, I would say having good patience is still the key factor in learning any art disciplines.