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Griffin Alkyds

Oil colour has been used in various forms since the fifteenth century. Its rich, voluptuous nature, unique aroma and extraordinary versatility has ensured that it still maintains its standing as one of the most popular painting media today. Winsor & Newton began making colours in 1832, swiftly developing and subsequently maintaining a reputation for unparalleled excellence and consistency. Using this wealth of colour making experience, Winsor & Newton have developed a range of new and improved Griffin Alkyd Fast Drying Oil Colour which offers unique features not found in traditional oils or acrylics. With this range the artist can enjoy all the benefits of using a conventional oil colour together with the convenience of completing a painting which is touch dry within a day.

Griffin Alkyd Fast Drying Oil Colour is a genuine oil colour made from pigment and oil modified alkyd resin which can be thinned using conventional oil colour solvents. It is this unique formulation which allows Griffin Alkyd Fast Drying Oil Colour to dry quicker than most oil colours but slower than acrylics. The oil modified alkyd resin binder includes a solvent which is necessary to control the drying rate and consistency of the colour. This enhances the transparency and luminosity of Griffin Alkyd Colour. The binder used also produces a more fluid consistency than traditional oils. The Griffin Alkyd Fast Drying Oil Colour Range has undergone a number of changes and improvements. The range offers the artist a range of 48 colours which are available in 37ml size tubes. Each colour has been specially selected to offer the greatest choice and flexibility to artists and the ability to select the palette which suits their work.
Full details are available in the Technical Section. Improvements in lightfastness have been made across the range using new, high durability pigments. All Griffin Alkyd Colours are now rated AA or A and are recommended as permanent for
artists’ use.


Winsor & Newton have over 170 years of experience in the making of oil colours.  The choice of raw materials, formulation and manufacture of Griffin Fast Drying Oil Colour reflects this experience and provides a product of absolute excellence.  The vehicle (oil modified alkyd resin) allows the colour to dry quicker whilst retaining the other characteristics of conventional oil colour.

As with all Winsor & Newton colours, every colour in the range is individually formulated to take advantage of the natural characteristics of each pigment and to ensure the stability of the colour.

Pigment loading/ tinting strength

Because alkyd resin has physical properties that differ slightly from those of traditional oils, the pigment load is somewhat different as well. Experienced painters will notice slightly greater transparency compared to Artists' Oil Colour. The colour has been formulated to offer the greatest degree of tinting strength possible (consistent with good handling properties), and to take full advantage of the true characteristics of each pigment.

Single Pigments

We use single pigments wherever possible to create individual colours. Combined with strength of colour, single pigments provide a wide colour range in themselves and offer cleaner, brighter mixtures with infinite hues. This is particularly important for violets, greens and oranges. Single pigment 'secondaries' considerably broaden the artists' available spectrum.

Colour Series

As the cost of the pigments used varies, so does the price charged for the colour. Therefore we have grouped colours together in 'series'.  The higher the series number, the higher the price. You can find the series number both on the colour chart and on the tube.


Not all colours in the range are transparent. Pigments vary in their transparency by nature, and Griffin colours are marked as T or  (transparent), ST or  (semi-transparent), O or  (opaque) or SO or  semi-opaque on the colour chart (the level of transparency of a colour is relative to other colours in the range).


Griffin Fast Drying Oils offer a slightly more fluid consistency than traditional oils.

Surface Sheen

Alkyd colours dry to a more even reflective surface than traditional oils.


The highest quality raw materials and superior manufacturing standards are employed in formulating this range. The result is that, providing the artist uses sound painting techniques, oil and alkyds should share similar life spans.  AA and A rated colours are recommended as permanent for artists' use. Please refer to the permanence ratings provided on the printed colour chart and the tube labels.

Drying Time

The most outstanding advantage of the Griffin Fast Drying Oil Colour is the speed of drying.  Depending upon your technique, you will be able to complete a picture in a fraction of the time required for a traditional painting.

All colours in the range remain workable on the palette for 4 to 8 hours, and are touch dry on the canvas in 18 to 24 hours. The drying time will be affected by the thickness of the paint and the temperature of the environment, however.

Thorough drying prior to varnishing is essential, and should be a minimum of three months in thin films of colour.

Speed of drying makes Griffin Colour ideal for using at college, art school or in art society environments and also for examinations, painting outdoors or on holiday.

Using Griffin Alkyd Colours with Traditional Oil Colour

Griffin Alkyd colours can be either mixed with or used underneath oil colours. Because the alkyd film is slightly less flexible and faster drying than traditional oil, applying Griffin Alkyd films over oil colour or Oil bar layers is not recommended.

Griffin colours are particularly popular for making a quick underpainting, followed by Artists' or Winton Oil Colour for overpainting. Griffin Alkyd is not intermixable with acrylics.

Advantages of Griffin Alkyd Colour vs. Traditional Oils and Acrylics

Griffin Alkyd Colour vs. oils

  • Quicker speed of drying

  • Greater transparency and luminosity from the tube

  • More fluid consistency

  • Harder paint film for outdoor or craft use

Griffin Alkyd Colour vs. acrylics

  • Oil colour consistency

  • Depth of colour of oils

  • Longer drying time

  • Looks like oil colour painting when finished

Oil Painting Rules

Oil painting with Griffin Alkyd Fast Drying Oil Colour requires attention to a couple of conventional oil painting rules:

  • Fat over lean (flexible over less flexible). When oil painting in layers, each successive layer must be more flexible than the one underneath. This rule is maintained by adding more medium (e.g. Liquin) to each successive layer.

  • Thick over thin. Thick layers of oil colour are best applied over thin underlayers.

  • Due to differences in flexibility, never use Griffin Alkyd Colour on top of conventional oil colours unless the oil colour is completely dry (6-12 months). Conventional oils may, however, be used over Griffin Alkyd Colour.

Colour Mixing

Pigment purity in the Griffin Alkyd Fast Drying Oil Colour range ensures the brightest colour mixtures.  Artists are however, often interested in the colour theory of painting.  The three primary colours in the Griffin Alkyd Fast Drying Oil Colour range are Winsor Lemon, Phthalo Blue and Permanent Rose.  These colours are the best selection when only three colours are used.  When using a six colour mixing system, we recommend Winsor Lemon, Winsor Yellow, French Ultramarine, Phthalo Blue, Permanent Rose and Cadmium Red Medium.

Whites in the Range

White is the most popular colour in the spectrum and is most useful for producing ‘tints' when mixed with other colours.  The two whites which are available in the Griffin Alkyd Colour range offer the artist different working characteristics.  Titanium White is the most popular modern white.  It is the whitest, most opaque white and gives excellent covering power in a painting.  Mixing White is the most transparent white available which makes it ideal for tints and glazing. 


Many artists complete the underpainting of a project in alkyds to save time and then go on to complete it with conventional oil colour.  Underpainting can be done in monochrome using any colour, or it can be done in full colour because of the rapid and consistent drying time of Griffin Alkyd Colour.

Other Methods of Using Griffin Alkyd Fast Drying Oil Colour

Alkyd resin dries to a hard paint film that has good resistance to physical wear and weathering.  This makes Griffin Alkyd Fast Drying Oil Colour the ideal choice for using on surfaces such as wood, glass, metal or porcelain to decorate both functional (non-food use) and decorative items.

Griffin Alkyd Colour is ideal for the decorative painting which is popular in Northern Europe and also with folk artists.  The speed of drying and hard paint film make Griffin Alkyd Colour ideal for outdoor signs and oil colour murals.

Bright colours and fast drying make Griffin Alkyd Colour an exceptionally good choice for design work.  Unlike gouache and water colours, Griffin Alkyd Colour is water-resistant.

See our range of Winsor & Newton Griffin Paints