Oil paints are created by mixing dry pigments with a medium of “drying oil,” such as linseed oil or walnut oil, which binds the pigments, allowing them to be applied to a surface while wet where they then slowly dry. The drying time of oil paint depends on the type of medium used. Traditional oil paints can take as long as three weeks to dry, while certain modern oil paints, if diluted efficiently, can dry in a matter of just a few days. The type of oil used, and other factors such as the amount of dilution, can affect the visual qualities of the paint, making the sheen more or less luminous, the viscosity more or less thick, and the color more or less vibrant.
Although oil painting has been around since at least the 5th Century A.C.E., it potential is still being explored and expanded today. In her paintings, Anya Spielman demonstrates the fantastic range of hue, texture, luminosity and transparency that a painter can achieve with oils. Gudrun Mertes-Frady explores the transcendent qualities that can emerge when blending oil paints with other mediums, such as metallic pigments. Pierre Muckensturm and Xanda McCagg demonstrate in their paintings the depth of the relationships that can be aroused when mixing oil paints with other mediums such as acrylics and graphite. Yari Ostovany uses oil paints to create visceral depth, and to manifest the intense, elemental rawness of the medium itself.