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Linen oil taking forever to dry

Hi, I'm new to oil painting and trying to reproduce a Sorolla piece. Not an easy one I admit but very motivating. I think I might have done a mistake and would like to hear how would you go about correcting it. I used a standard oil painting medium for most of the work and it worked fine. However at some point I decided to test pure linen oil, a bottle I have had for almost 20 years (yeah, it stayed there in a box from high school). The parts where I used linen oil take forever to dry. Now almost two months and the shine is still there. I am posting a picture so maybe someone can suggest what to do? On the picture you can see the black dress on the man in front, parts are matte while others are still shining. Same thing on the ox-es. That was all painted at the same time, about two months ago. Can this be from using pure linen and what to do next? I would't go over it because of the fat over lean rule, and I'm not sure will the shine stay there for good. I need to go over it because colors and values have to be restated. Thanks everyone.


  • Hey @idobran I assume you are talking about linseed oil, I'm not familiar with linen oil but @dencal is our resident chemical genius - I made the mistake of oiling out a piece with just pure linseed oil (sunthickened - like molasses) ---------  holy cow, that thing is probably still dripping a year later :).   If it is still wet, you can try patting it and absorbing the oil with a Viva paper towel or smooth cotton cloth (bumpy texture paper towels or clothes are not recommended) -  You can just lay something like that on top and rub it to try to wick any wet linseed oil?  If it is dry, I would try re-touch varnish - see if brings it all to the same sheen (the flat areas may just be sunken in)……………   good luck and it looks like you have a nice start going with the painting - thank you for sharing!
  • Is is it just shiny or is it wet?
  • idobran

    Welcome to the Forum.

    Linseed oil is a drying oil. Store in a warm, dust free place to dry.


  • Thanks guys. Sorry for the delay. Julianna, yes its linseed oil, sory bout that :) Boudicca, it is just shiny, not at all wet to the touch. Denis, the painting has been standing near an open window for about two summer months, quite hot and dry, and doesn't show any progress in drying. At least not a noticeable one, it may be so slow that I just don't notice it. Thanks again for the support. Ivan
  • Mine take six months in similar climate.  It's exasperating, but I had been warned!  :/
  • Shiny doesn’t mean wet.  Sometimes paint dries smooth and shiny, sometimes it goes all matt and sunken.  Normal.
  • edited September 2018
    I'd be surprised if you used pure linseed oil (no clove oil) and it's still wet after 6 months near the sun.
  • PaulB said:
    Shiny doesn’t mean wet.  Sometimes paint dries smooth and shiny, sometimes it goes all matt and sunken.  Normal.
  • edited September 2018
    @idobran, don't worry about it. When the painting is finished and dry you varnish it and the sunken areas will be restored and you'll have an even all over sheen.  @PaulB is right. Different pigments dry differently. That's normal. Use a little less oil in the thin dark areas so they don't shine so much if it bothers you. 

    BTW, I understand that if you use Geneva paints you don't need any medium - it's included in the paint so you can paint straight from the tube and you get a more even result.
  • I didn't use Geneva paints. I know they are premixed, watched carefully all the videos :) I was thinking about Geneva, but I'm outside USA and started with other brands that I can buy here. I might try Geneva soon. I used some standard oil paints and thinned them with an average oil medium, sometimes just with solvent because I was experimenting. I understand what PaulB is saying, heard about different behavior of colors/pigments, but as can be seen from the photo, on the back of the man in the foregound there is matte black and shiny black. These are the same color but different medium. The matte parts have been painted with standard medium, while the shiny parts are linseed mixed. So it's not a question of difference in colors. Now I get it that once finished and varnished, as Tassieguy says, it should turn out even. But can I go on restating rtight away colors and values over the shiny parts or should I wait, or as Julianna suggested, try to wipe the oily parts away Thanks again everyone :)
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