Traditional oil paint consists of pigment particles (colour) suspended in a drying oil (binder) that hardens into a tough film when exposed to air. Some common drying oils are linseed, poppy, safflower, and walnut. Linseed oil is preferred for its ease of use and versatility; however, it’s susceptible to yellowing. The drying time of oil paint varies from colour to colour. Thin layers of paint touch-dry anything between 12 hours to a week.


Alkyd oil paint contains an alkyd resin made from modified oils. When dry, the alkyd resin forms a tough film. Thin layers of paint touch-dry within 24 hours. Alkyd oil paint can be mixed with linseed oil to slow drying time and be thinned with alkyd mediums and solvents.


Water-mixable oil paint, which has the same vibrant, rich, and lustrous colours as traditional oil paint, contains an emulsifier that mixes with water. Thin layers of paint diluted with water touch-dry within 10 minutes. Water-mixable oil paint can be used with traditional oils, but it will lose its water-soluble quality.