top of page

 Alkyd Oil Paints

Alkyd Oil Paints on a Palette Winsor & Newton Griffin Jonathan Brier



Alkyd Oil Paints.


Alkyd Oil Paints are essentially Traditional Oil Paints with the addition of the fast drying and hardening agent, Alkyd Resin.


This is an Alkyd Resin Binder and can be added to standard Oils in various forms marketed as drying mediums. Liquin and Alkyd Flow Medium to name a couple.


Brands and recipes vary as does that of standard Oil Paints and subsequently have noticeably different qualities.


Alkyds are a variation of Oil Paints.


Alkyd Oil Paints are made by modifying oil paints and for all intents and purposes they work in the same way but with an accelerated drying.


This does make them feel slightly different but then different brands of Oils vary in characteristics as well so it's by your own standards to judge.


Mix Alkyds with Oil Paint to make them dry faster..,


Yes, Alkyds and Oils can be mixed to decrease drying time. 


A common practice is to substitute the traditional Oil White with an Alkyd White and just mix throughout the palette and use as usual.


Alternatively, you can use a drying medium that can be mixed with or substituted for your usual medium.


Don't mix Alkyds & Acrylic paints...


Alkyds are Oil based the same as traditional Oil Paints and Acrylics are Water Based and therefore should not be mixed wet into wet...



You Can Paint over Acrylic Paint with Oils or Alkyd Paint


You can paint Alkyds over dry Acrylic Paint but not Acrylics over Alkyds or Oils. Acrylic Paint can, therefore, be used as a ground or underpainting for Alkyd or Oil Paints but again, not the other way around,


Pros and cons of Alkyd Paints...


Pro or con you decide...

it's a matter of requirement...


1. Dry faster than oil paint.

2. Dry slower than acrylic.

3. Can be mixed with oils.

    (There are recommendations though...)

4. Can be painted over Acrylics.

    (Not mixed with or under.)

5. Not advised to paint over traditional oils with just alkyd mix. Faster drying, sinking craking etc... rules...

6. Paint under traditional unmodified oils.

7. Dry harder than oils and possibly acrylics.

8. Can be thinned down considerably.

9. For priming a surface over a gesso ground for either oil or alkyd painting.

10. Painting outside or travelling.

11. Glazing

12. Underpainting 

13. Oil sketching

14. Practising oils.

15. Relatively affordable.

16. Drying time is not identical but more throughout the range but closer and more predictable than oils.

17. The same kit needed or is used for both oils and Alkyds. Mediums, spirits brushes etc.

18. Versatile

19. Fix, Repair and Rework fast.

20. Waterproof to a degree at least.

21. Fat over thin is less of a concern as drys fast.

22. Sinking is less of an issue due to fast drying.

23. Collect less ambient dust than oils as dry faster.

24. Work right up until deadline.

25. I dont tend to varnish my alkyd paintings!!!

26. Ready to varnish sooner than Oils

27. Easily cleaned if required.

27. Opaque when needed

28. When used as a ground tougher than acrylic or gesso.

29. Used to create texture

30. Hard to remove when dry.

31. Very transparent if required

32. Can creat mat or gloss finish.

33. Use White Oil paint to slow drying time

34. Drying resin built-in.




Brands of Alkyds to try:

  • Winsor & Newton Griffin Fast Drying Alkyd Oil Paint ( These are what I have always used)

  • Gamblin FastMatte Alkyd Oil Colors

  • Da Vinci Fast Dry Alkyd Oil

  • C.A.S. AlkydPro Fast Drying Oil Colors

Alternatively, use a medium with your Oil Paints


  • Daler Rowney Alkyd Flow Medium. is my prefered drying medium to use with standard Oil Paints, I prefer this over Liquin any day because it does Flow where Liquin becomes tacky... and really smells awful. I haven't experimented extensively, I stop when a tool does what I need and only look again when it stops me doing what I want to achieve. My point, I didn't like what Liquin did. it drys fast but not in a way that suits my technique... but was sure that there was something that would work so I kept looking. Oil painting is a medium that was developed to aid the Artist, give them flexibility and its likely that there is a way to make them work exactly how you would like them to, you just have to look.

  • It is not unheard of for an artist to just replace their Oil White with an Alkyd White if it is likely to mix with the majority of the colours in the painting. Remember though, any areas that contain no white in the mix will still take the normal time to dry. Note, it's worth reading on if you are considering this...





Rules or at the least some suggestions for best practice.



The fat over lean practice is less of an issue with Alkyds but you should still learn this traditional Oil Painting Rule. You can mix Alkyds with Oils but similar to the fat over lean suggestion don't paint Alkyd or Alkyd Oil mixed paint over unmodified Oil especially if the previous layer has some body to it. A thin wash of Oil as an underpainting would probably be ok as it would be absorbed or incorporated into the subsequent layer.


 Ignoring these practices with Oil or Alkyd paint and even Acrylic to some degree can result in cracking over time or delamination due to the different drying speeds of thicker / thinner paint or the lack of binder in thinner paint reducing the bond.


Things to consider when using Alkyds...


Tips: To be expanded on...

  • White alkyd is all you need to Mix with Oils...

  • Mixing Oils and Alkyds

  • Using as a ground

  • Using as an underpainting

  • Choosing which colours to choose oils

  • Glazing

  • Staining 

  • Durability


Properties that I like but must explain...


As Oils dry they become workable in different ways, their properties become better for some techniques and less useful for others. Blending, for instance, is easier when the paint has dried a little as it kind of stretches I guess rather than just sliding, there is resistance anyway... Hard to describe exactly.

 This is an additional benefit from just drying fast as it means that different techniques and the ability to manipulate the paint at these different stages become sooner and therefore improves convenience.


This chance in cure time changes the way the paint can be altered for example when almost dry Oil Paint is scraped from a canvas it leaves a substantially different texture than a wet oil. To achieve this effect in Oil may take a week before the paint is ready whereas an hour in with Alkyds and this method is available to the Artist.

Repair a damaged surface with Alkyd.


If you manage to ruin your surface for whatever reason, (mine is usually from overworking or scrubbing back to much...) Alkyds are a great tool to fix this. You can sand back or just apply a White (or an alternate opaque colour of choice) over the failed section, carefully apply the paint, recreating the original weave of texture and the paint will dry and can be ready in a day or two depending on the complexity.

Alkyd is strong enough to create a mild texture which can mimic the original gesso on board or even canvas although this is harder to mimic.

Potential Negatives.
  • Wasteful if you don't use all of the paint on the palette. Although you do learn not to put lots down... actually see this as a good discipline and saving strategy. 

  • There are times when your session is cut short for whatever reason and your paints are going to dry before you are ready. This might be on your palette but worse really for me is on the actual painting. This is where my anxiety kicks in and I will often wipe away hours of work that I am not 100% confident with instead of letting it dry and being unhappy with it.





bottom of page