New tube blues

I am currently painting a larger than normal oil painting, 16×20 inch in fact. This means more than one painting session to complete the job. For a change I’m painting from imagination or memory of various scenes I’ve encountered recently. In other words, I am making it up as I go along. Starting with a sketch and progressing by painting in the sky and distant horizon. At this stage I leave the painting to dry for a day or two and continue to paint on top of the dry layers. In spite of reasonably warm weather the initial painting is still not dry. I used Liquin, as usual, and a small amount of Linseed Oil in the mix. So it should have dried by now – 3 days later. The problem was a ‘new tube’ of Cobalt Blue paint.

When the paint is formulated and put in tubes, in order to extend the ‘shelf life’ of the tube, a drying ‘retarder’ is put in the paint. When you open the tube for the first time you will notice a clear liquid emerging ahead of the paint. This liquid which has seeped from the paint in the body of the tube, will contain a quantity of the retarder and if it gets into your paint mixture will seriously extend the drying time, as it did with mine. As I usually paint from start to finish in the one session I don’t notice this slow drying, I just put the painting aside when finished and wait for it to dry.

This little omission on my part has seriously ‘retarded’ my painting progress. Couldn’t I start another painting while this one dries? Absolutely not. I find it difficult to start a new project while I’m still involved in the previous. Multi-tasking is not for me. I will mull over this in an agitated state until its done and move on to something different. Hopefully, I won’t have to wait for much longer.

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