The Sun and Oil Painting II April 28, 2022 04:39

In a previous post, I wrote about my experience of using sunlight to speed up the drying of a finishing coat of sun-thickened poppyseed oil. I've been using this oil, which I made a couple years ago, as a final seal on my paintings instead of using varnish. I wrote how using the sun to speed the oil's drying really helped. But I noticed on about day 4 that it had another effect--it made the paint brighter.

Mandrakes under grow lights

I've read about this in various sources online for years but never thought about using light for this purpose. Researching it, I found that some people use UV light boxes that they buy ($$$) or build ($) to dry their paintings more quickly. Some people even use a group of regular lightbulbsa for this.

I've been using strong lights (4 T5 fluorescent bulbs per fixture) for years to grow mandrakes indoors. I've recently consolidated my drake collection so that I no longer need to use all of the four fixtures I own. But now I'm going to try using a fixture to dry paintings. The height of my fixtures can be easily adjusted, so I can keep the lights an inch or so from the painting surface. T5s barely heat up, so that should be safe, and I normally leave my growlights on only when I'm at home. I even have bulbs for two different light temperatures. But I usually use the bulbs that are supposed to mimic mid-day sun. BTW, T5s are not as bright as the new LED growlights. I tried one of those for my plants, and they bothered my eyes, so I returned them and went back to using the T5s. I'll post how it goes when I get this arranged. 

For me, the slow drying of oil paints is a PIA. I do try to keep at least two paintings going at once so that it is more likely I will have something I can work on every day. I've even recently sorted out all my paints according to which are the fastest driers and have pulled some that are very slow, like dioxazine purple. I've even been using a lead/manganese drier, which helps but might cause problems down the years being used on stretched canvas. I do paint thinly, so I'm not too worried about cracking, but it would be nice not to have to deal with driers at all if using lights will work.