Titanium White taking forever to dry. Ugh!

The titanium white on my last painting done on ACM is taking forever to dry.  I’ve got to turn it in for an exhibit Feb 12th.  Any suggestions on how I might accelerate the drying time?


  • Heat and indirect sunlight
  • GTO

    An oxygen tent and heat.

  • @dencal how does the oxygen tent work?  Just blow air though an enclosed space?
  • dencaldencal -
    edited January 14

    One of those vacuum storage bags or any large enough plastic bag with a simple wire frame.
    Blow enough oxygen in to the bag to displace the air and seal with tape. Position in a warm room.

    The TW should be touch dry in about 10 to 12 days, dep on temp and humidity, without any special treatment,12 Feb should be no problem.


  • @dencal I’m not sure I understand what you mean by seal with tape.  Do you mean to continuously allow the air to flow through the plastic tent?
  • GTO

    No. Just displace the normal air with oxygen and seal up the bag with tape.

    A saucer with a little 6% hydrogen peroxide in the tent will maintain oxygen levels for some time.

    No need for a continuous oxygen flow.


  • Thanks @dencal you must have a science background.😀
  • @denal is so helpful. Among other things, he advised me about how to get paint to stick to a cello.  He's the DMP oracle when it comes to matters technical.  :)
  • Folks

    You're embarrassing me. You have 5000 words to stop it.


  • What brand of titanium white is it? Did you use mediums or additives? Looking to change for my next titanium white and don't want to buy into the problem you're experiencing.
  • @Abstraction, have you tried Langridge's TW? Straight from the tube with no medium, it's touch dry in about three days. If you used a medium with solvent it would probably dry quicker.
  • The titanium white I used is Geneva.  
  • Folks

    Regardless of brand if you want 24hrs drying then Liquin  (modified soy oil) is the go.

  • edited January 14
    @GTO - heat, dryness, oxygen, air movement. If you have a convection oven and can set it on 100 degrees farenheit and no family member objects, and your painting will fit in it, this will do it since you paint thin. (Let the smack down begin!)  I hope you share your latest painting with us. 

    I live in the hot, dry desert and set paintings outside in the shade to quicken the drying time. 

    @tassieguy - if the Langridge PW6 dries in 3 days, it has a drier added to it by the manufacturer. I think it is not a problem, but I do like paint makers to tell the customers what is included in the paint. 

    @Dencal - I use Liquin regularly. It contains a metallic drier mixture. 
  • @Desertsky,  Langridge TW has a cobalt dryer in it. If I paint a thin stroke of white straight from the tube it is touch dry (not completely dry right through) in about three days. My studio is hot in summer and I keep it warm in winter. Their product information says it dries in 3 - 6 days and that matches my own experience. They inform customers in their product information sheet that it has a cobalt dryer. Nothing underhand about that. They are the highest quality paints I have ever used. 
  • edited January 14
    @Tassieguy - thanks for the clarification.  Nothing I wrote was intended to disparage Langridge. I have never used it as it is expensive here in the US. 

    Tassieguy - did Langridge always disclose that its titanium white contained a small amount of PW4? I am assuming that what I read about this was true, but I don't know. What I do know is that most major oil paint manufacturers who marketed in the English-speaking market added PW4 to their labeled PW6 without listing this on the label or on their website. I directly emailed manufacturers with this question and was just - astonished - at the responses. Most did, most did not disclose as it was a "small amount." I had read that Langridge had stopped adding PW4 to the PW6. I hope you can share your information about these specifics for us. 

    ... I was expecting objections, not by you, to my suggestion about putting the painting in a warm oven for a while. Still braced :) 
  • Desertsky said:

    ... I was expecting objections, not by you, to my suggestion about putting the painting in a warm oven for a while. Still braced :) 
    Bad @Desertsky !

    (Will that do?  =))
  • @MoleMan  - thanks. I feel so much better now. 
  • edited January 14
    @Desertsky, there is nothing in Langridge's product info sheet for TW about PW4. I have complete confidence that if their TW did contain PW4 it would be stated in the product info sheet. As far as I know Langridge has never used PW4 or PW6 in their TW. But if they ever did, they certainly don't now. 

    Here is what's in Langridge's TW:


     CHEMICAL ENTITY                                            CAS NO                                                   PROPORTION
    Castor oil, hydrogenated                                 8001-78-3                                             <1 %
    Hexanoic acid, 2-ethyl-, cobalt(2+) salt         136-52-7                                                <0.1 %
    Linseed oil                                                         8001-26-1                                               20-40%
    Octadecanoic acid, aluminium salt               637-12-7                                                <2 %
    Octanoic acid, calcium salt                             6107-56-8                                              <0.1 %
    Titanium oxide (TiO2)                                     13463-67-7                                              60-80 %

    Ingredients determined to be Non-Hazardous B

    IOW, there's no lead in it. I suspect that what you read is untrue.
  • @Tassieguy - thanks for the interesting information.  I wish all manufacturers had this level of specific information about their paints. BTW, I did not write about lead in the white paint. I wrote about zinc oxide in the titanium-labeled paint. 

    Do all the Langridge oil paints dry at the same rate? 

    My apologies to @GTO for this sidebar. 
  • I also use Graham titanium white.  It lists PW6 and PW4.
    Geneva lists PW6

  • FYI, in case it went unnoticed. Many used to think that most paints do not contain toxic additives, especially study (student) grade. But I have noticed that WN started listing cobalt for their TW, for Winton and Artist lines.

    As for the original problem of GTO, if you are using Geneva, formulated to be slow drying, then you shouldn't complain. Have some alternative for such cases when shorter time is needed.
  • edited January 15
    tassieguy said:
    @Abstraction, have you tried Langridge's TW? Straight from the tube with no medium, it's touch dry in about three days. If you used a medium with solvent it would probably dry quicker.
    I've been after a titanium white with linseed oil for mixing as evidence suggests it will form a better film. I'm not clear on how much difference that makes. I was thinking to also use a smaller tube of titanium with safflower oil for highlights and lighter colours, especially blues for final layers because it is much slower to yellow - which would be Langridge as i like their paints. So this 'slow drying' is a challenge to consider. I'm compiling a list of titanium white by brand and % of zinc if they have it. Now I may need to consider another column for additives such as driers, etc.
    Desertsky said:
    @tassieguy - if the Langridge PW6 dries in 3 days, it has a drier added to it by the manufacturer. I think it is not a problem, but I do like paint makers to tell the customers what is included in the paint.
    I spoke to Langridge and he explained they did used to have zinc but stopped doing so. There may still be older references on other sites that offer their paints.
  • @Tassieguy -  the Langridge paint chemicals you posted contain three different driers: cobalt salt, aluminium salt, and calcium salt. I think the manufacturers always put in more than one kind of drier because the driers work a little differently, and by combining several, better drying results. In your experience, do all the Langridge oil paints dry at the same rate? 

    @Abstraction - I think if one paints conservatively, meaning not too much solvent, LF1 pigments, nonflexing substrate, no natural resins, not 1cm+ thick impasto, etc. - then the kind of oil does not make much difference as long as some linseed is in the painting somewhere. I use some linseed and lead white in all paintings, and so do not worry about some safflower oil in the painting. Because I have eliminated some known major weaknesses such as flexing canvas, humidity-receptive RSG, etc., I conclude that using some safflower oil or poppy oil will not weaken the painting enough to be a concern - but nobody can demonstrate this :)
  • @Desertsky, no, the colors dry at different rates. TW and UB dry the slowest. The greens and the earth colors dry quickest.
  • @GTO Do you use additional clove oil anywhere? I know the paint has a small amount which is probably not a problem - but do you add any or use it with your brushes? Just wondering if that was the culprit.
  • @Abstraction I thinned the paint down a bit with 100% walnut oil.  
    I have set the panel in a box with a 60watt light bulb. The box lid is covered half way to let some air circulate.  That should help a bit.  
  • @GTO - forgive me if you stated this earlier, but did you do anything different with this painting than previous paintings? You have always struck me as someone who is in really good control of his materials. Let us know how this turns out as the information may be useful to others (and it will certainly be useful to me.)
  • @Desertsky the only thing I can think of that is different is that I thinned the Geneva white down with walnut oil.  There’s probably more oil than usual in this.  Though the paint covered well.  
  • edited January 17
    @GTO - thanks - I must have missed this point in your posting.

    Walnut oil dries slower than linseed. I don't know how much more slower, as I haven't kept track. But I think your painting will be dry in time. If you have a temperature gauge of some sort, you can put it in the warm box your painting is in to measure the temperature. I think 100 degrees F would be safe, even with the wooden stretcher bars I think I recall you use.

    I have placed paintings out here in Arizona summer for 24 hours, with temps ranging from 100-110. Everything was fine: paper substrate, acrylic seal and primer, oil paint. 

    I was serious about the convection oven, but understand your caution about such an "unusual" method. 
  • @Desertsky I wasn’t sure if you were serious or not.  The painting is on ACM panel.  
    When you put it in the oven do you have to shake the paint first? 😂  Shake and bake?  

  • @GTO, it is true that walnut oil takes longer to dry than linseed. Also Geneva paint has clove oil in it which further retards drying. But if you keep the painting warm with good air flow you should have it dry in time. I use walnut oil and I notice it dries faster when the weather is hot. Maybe try placing it in front of one of those little heaters that blow hot air. In future, if you need a painting to dry quickly you could add a bit of cobalt drier.
  • @tassieguy I’ve avoided driers and thinners, any solvents, in the past but in the future for something time sensitive I definitely will use them.  
    After a few days in the hot box it seems to on its way to drying.  I think it will be ok.
  • GTOGTO -
    edited January 29
    😀.  @Richard_P  it is dry now but the surface that has a lot of titanium white has a glossy look.    I have been keeping it in my newly invented oil painting incubator environment aka. OPIE.😀.  I’ve kept the lamp 60watt on it four hours per night and eight hours per day on the weekends.  If accepted in the exhibit I will have to turn it in on Feb 12th.  I am hoping by the 10th it will be dry enough to varnish with gamvar.  But it is so glassy already.  One of the things I noticed with this one is the panel was prepped with auto primer and not the Holbein ground that I used on the other panels.

  • That's a nicer photo of your bird than the original posting. Sharper focus and without a blue cast on the white.
  • @heartofengland the bulb is an incandescent bulb.  Maybe the warm color took out some if that blue.  
  • Love your incubator - the angle of the light it actually looks like a box with a bird in it and it's casting the shadow. I'm hypothesising the glossy look as the tiniest film of 'excess' oil (or just right, IDK) where pigment has settled more in comparison to the other paints. That's what happened with my Gamblin oil ground. My understanding of matte finish is that there is more pigment at the surface and it scatters the reflected light forming the matte appearance. That's why varnish evens up the reflective surface by creating a smooth layer.
    If you varnish with Gamvar so soon then the painting will probably not be able to be cleaned (in 40 years or whenever) without risk of removal of paint. The varnish can bind in with the paint a little and remove paint with the solvent. Some (including some Gamblin sources) say dry to touch but it is still oxidising and conservators (eg, on MITRA forum) recommend 3-6 months. I'm facing the same dilemma with my portrait but I do have about 2-3 months before it needs to go the the art prize. I'm still fiddling though.
  • @Abstraction yes, the pay is in a cardboard box.  I cover the top with an ACM leaving space around the lamp so it doesn’t get too warm,  The cardboard box is a key component to the OPIE (oil painting incubator environment)😀  
    Maybe I will skip varnishing before submitting it to the exhibit.  🤔
  • edited January 30
    I understood re-touch varnish was what is used within a month of painting and then a more permanent varnish is used around 6 months after painting.    Some things I have read suggest using re-touch for exhibitions etc...   I have just bought some to try.   
     Am I correct in thinking Gamvar has a form of plastic in it which enables it to move with the paint as it cures and shrinks; which would be why it is different to other varnishes in its time frame for use.  
  • I’ve not used retouch varnish before.  Good question @toujours about gamvar.  I don’t know the answer to that.
  • Toujours

    Retouch varnish has the same components as normal varnish except a higher proportion of solvent, resulting in a thinner and breathable layer of resin allowing the polymer and pigment to set up but at a slower rate.


  • Thanks @dencal, looks like I was on the right track (in a simplified way) with both products.
  • edited January 30
    "For oil and alkyd paintings, one must typically wait 6 months to a year in order to ensure that the varnish does not “sink in” and become incorporated into the slow-curing oil film," (MITRA Surface Coatings, Retouching Varnishes, and Oiling Out. https://www.artcons.udel.edu/mitra/Documents/Varnishes.pdf) So this is written by conservators. Once incorporated into the film, the paint film itself becomes vulnerable to the solvents used to remove the varnish when cleaning is required. The pdf is very informative.
    My understanding is that retouch varnish can have the same issue - some on other forums have reported issues. So this article addresses real artists concerns about having to wait 6 months in and informed an considerate manner. I mean we have shows and buyers to navigate. So he gives a couple of tests - including the 'solvent test' - to see whether or not the painting might be ready. I'll be using these! https://paintingbestpractices.com/wait-six-months-to-varnish/
  • @Abstraction Hmmm…. I think I will skip varnishing the painting before submitting it to the exhibit.
  • edited January 30
    @GTO, because it is already shiny with good color saturation, you wouldn't need to varnish it. There are no dead, sunken areas so varnishing wouldn't do much except make it even more shiny. Best leave it until after the show. 
  • Thanks @tassieguy. And @Abstraction for your input on this. It’s much appreciated.   I’m going to leave it as is for now.  
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