4 Keys to Understanding Alkyds in Oil Painting


What are alkyds in oil painting and why would you want to consider using them?

Have you seen alkyds at your local hobby shop or online art store and have wondered if you should give them a try?

I tried alkyds and with good success, so I thought I would share my experience and tell you what I learned about them.

Alkyd paint is a fairly new painting medium that is fully compatible with oil paints.

Commonly referred to as the happy compromise between acrylic and oil paints, alkyds are fast drying like acrylic paints, but are well suited for oil painting and glazing techniques.

4 Keys to Understanding Alkyds in Oil Painting

Alkyds can be blended with any oil paints to speed drying time

Alkyd colors are made with an alkyd resin binder. The binder does not contain oil like linseed oil, and therefore eliminates the yellowing or cracking tendency seen with oil paints.

Alkyd paints are proven to display optimum color retention because of the greater pigment density, and excellent durability with a rapid drying time.

#1. Alkyds and Mixing Mediums
Alkyd paints can be used in combination with oil paints and their standard mediums, or on their own with the medium Liquin.

They cannot be mixed with any other mediums. If used in conjunction with oil paints, alkyds can be blended to dry slower, with more characteristics of oils.

If used alone, alkyds will mimic acrylic paints, drying just slightly longer at an even rate and to an even gloss, regardless of color. Liquin will act like oil painting mediums by making the naturally thick/stiff paint thin and buttery, but instead of slowing down the drying time as most oil mediums do, using Liquin will enable the paint to dry at the same rate and consistency of the alkyds.

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  1. great post, I love articles about different paint reviews I did one as well recently about watercolour ink have a look if you like.


  2. Cindee smith says:

    Hi Gary,
    Thanks for great information. I am keen to try the technique that I believe uses Alkyd oil paints.
    I m wondering if you know how to create a mottly/spotty effect that the artist Thornton Walker uses in selected paintings. Website—-thorntonwalker.com.au
    The painting of the man running away with his back to us and from waist down uses the effect on the dark parts of the painting.
    I am hoping you can help me with this unusual effect that looks like some sort of Chemical reaction.
    Thank you

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