Tips & Techniques

Oil Painting Rules

Oil painting with Griffin Alkyd Fast Drying Oil Colour requires attention to three 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. 


Glazing is the build up of layers of transparent or semi-transparent colour over dry underlayers. It is a lengthy technique where the effects in oil are unmatched when compared to other media. Griffin Alkyd Fast Drying Oil Colour is excellent for glazing due to its speed of drying. Liquin is an excellent glazing medium and will reduce brush marks.

Blending is the mixing of two or more colours so that you can get an even gradation between them. To get an evenly blended area, it is recommended to mix Liquin with the colours on the palette first.

Loosely brush a thin film of opaque or semi-opaque colour over your underpainting. This may actually show through in places and can retain an important influence on the surface appearance of the painting. Liquin or Wingel can be used to thin the colour. If you prefer a thick texture, use Oleopasto.

Stipple Effect
A bristle brush and thick viscous oil colour can create a "stipple" texture. Tube colour alone will work well or colour mixed with Oleopasto.

Scraping Back
"S’graffito", the technique of scratching into a wet oil film, can be done with the pointed end of a brush, painting knife or any scraping device. It is effective in defining outlines or details for expressive effects. If you want more time for scraping back Griffin Alkyd Colour, you can slow the drying by using Refined Linseed Oil or Artists’ Painting Medium with the colours.

This is the technique of applying paint thickly, so that the brushstrokes are plainly visible and create a textured effect. Oleopasto will add texture and increase transparency. For thick impasto, build the texture in several layers allowing each to dry first.

Many artists complete the underpainting of a project in Griffin Alkyd Colours 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.