Tuesday, August 03, 2010


Development of alkyds began in the 1920s. Today, alkyd based oil painting mediums are readily available and popular. So widespread has this synthetic resin become that some products, with "traditional" names, are in fact alkyds in disguise.

Not to dissuade anyone from using them, but when a medium begins to dominate, is there a danger that painters, who are just starting out, will not even try older recipes? What if an established painting medium worked better for a particular style, but since alkyds are easily acquired, the painter will not even be aware of other approaches? A similar argument can be made for acrylic gesso, which has almost replaced glues for preparing canvases. What if a traditionally sized canvas simply creates a better surface for a particular type of work?

The key of course is to experiment will all kinds of oil painting mediums, including alkyds. Even when a formula is found, style and technique can change, and alternate mixtures must be tried again.

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