A Guide to Oil Paint Drying Times

A Guide to Oil Paint Drying Times

Our friends at Winsor & Newton have released a very useful guide explaining the time it takes for their paints to dry:

Please note this guide is the time before paint is dry to the touch. Oil paint must be fully dry before varnishing, usually between 3-6 months or longer depending on the thickness of the paint. Oil paint must be left to cure through the process of oxidation, which basically means the oil has to harden. 

Aim to work your oil paint Fat over Lean: meaning thin painted layers with maybe added Liquin or Turps first then subsequent layers which have more oil in the pigment. This will prevent cracking later from uneven drying.

Artists’ Oil Colour is closest to a traditional oil colour, created with the highest quality pigments via methods perfected over decades. Artists’ Oil Colour is lightfast and provides strong and consistent coverage with both brushes and palette knives. 

Find drying times by colour below:

Fast Drying (around 2 days):

  • Permanent Mauve [manganese]

  • Cobalt Blues

  • Prussian Blue

  • Raw Sienna

  • Umbers

  • Underpainting White

Medium drying colours (around five days):

  • Cadmiums

  • Permanent Alizarin Crimson

  • Cobalt Violets & Greens

  • Winsor Blues & Greens (phthalocyanines)

  • Ultramarine Blues

  • Permanent Sap Green

  • Ochres

  • Burnt Sienna

  • Mars colours

  • Lamp Black

  • Ivory Black

Slow drying colours (more than five days):

  • Winsor Yellows & Orange (arylamides)

  • Quinacridones

  • Alizarin Crimson

  • Titanium White

  • Zinc White

Winton Oil Colour is an affordable medium that is ideal for large coverage. Winton offers an easy transition from Artists' Oil Colour and provides strong coverage and uniform consistency.

Find drying times by colour below:

Fast drying (around 2 days):

  • Prussian Blue

  • Raw Sienna

  • Umbers

Medium Drying (around 5 days):

  • Phthalo Blue and Viridian Hue (Phthalocyanines)

  • Burnt Sienna

  • Ultramarine Blues

  • Ochres

  • Titanium White

  • Zinc White

  • Lamp Black

  • Ivory Black.

Slow Drying (more than 5 days):

  • Cadmium Hues (Arylamides)

  • Permanent Rose (Quinacridone)

  • Alizarin Crimson Hue

Artisan Water Mixable Oil Colour has been created to be water soluble for when solvents are not suitable but without losing any of the unrivalled performance of traditional oil paints.

Find drying times by colour below:

Fast drying (around 2 days):

  • Prussian Blue

  • Umbers

Medium Drying (around 5 days):

  • Cadmium Hues

  • Phthalo Blue (red shade)

  • Phthalo Greens

  • Sienna’s

  • French Ultramarine

  • Ochres

  • Titanium White

  • Zinc White

  • Lamp Black

  • Ivory Black

Slow drying (more than 5 days):

  • Cadmiums

  • Permanent Rose (Quinacridone)

  • Permanent Alizarin Crimson

Griffin Alkyd Fast Drying Oil Colours

These paints are fast drying! you can work with all the colours in this range on your palette for between four and eight hours! Once painted they become touch dry after 18 to 24 hours! This range of oil paints have a high proportion of single pigments providing brilliant colours even when mixed. However, thickness of impasto will make a difference to the drying times, obviously the thinner the layer of paint the quicker the drying time. Also humidity will play a huge part in slowing down or speeding up the drying times.

Aim to use fast drying paint as under layers to avoid cracking. Investigate oil drying mediums to help speed up or slow down you drying times. Winsor & Newton Artists’ Painting Medium changes the rate of drying and influences the gloss and texture of colour. If you want to speed up the drying process, try Winsor & Newton Liquin Original to increase the drying rate by approximately 50%.

Painting in a humid environment may cause your oil paint to yellow. 

Ellie Jakeman
Ellie Jakeman

I have had a strong interest in the visual and creative arts since a very early age. I completed with great success ‘A’ level Fine Art, Textile and Embroidery City and Guilds, Foundation Diploma in Fine Art, (BA hons) Degree in Embroidery and Textiles from Manchester Metropolitan University and a PGCE from the University of Huddersfield. I have taught Art and Design, Fashion and Textiles, Textile design and Fine Art print and Illustration for over 20 years. Before teaching I was a freelance artist and illustrator and decided 4 years ago I would return to freelance and commissioned work. I have created many domestic and commercial murals for hospitals and hospices. I work part time for ARTdiscount as a content creator and product tester.


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