Material Matters: Artist Adam Dix on using Griffin Alkyd Oil Colour

Artist Adam Dix is an artist living and working in London; he received his M.A. Fine Art from Wimbledon College of Art in 2009 and has been shown nationally and internationally since, as well as being held in private and public collections around the world. Dix’s paintings discuss a borderland between the virtual and real world, whilst exploring how humanity adapts to new modes of communication and the communal experience. To create his latest painting ‘Silent Signs’ he used Griffin Alkyd Fast Drying Oil Colour. We asked him about his process and how he used this paint to create his multi-layered work.

Adam talks us through his experience and experimentation using Griffin Alkyd Oil Colour.

As a painter I like to have a balance between the control of my chosen medium and freedom for happenstance to occur; this is helped by using oil paint, such as Griffin Alkyd Fast Drying Oil Colour.

I work in many layers of oil glazes using a watercolour technique, which goes against the normal rules of oil painting. I tend to work up from the lightest area to the darkest, suspending my paint in a solution on Fine Detail Liquin.

Adam Dix
© Adam Dix

The nature of the painting is slow and meticulous at certain stages, so if I can speed up the drying times that can be of great benefit to me. As you can see from the documentation, my painting travels from being vertical on the wall to lying flat when applying the paint, depending on the quality of mark or glaze.

Adam Dix
© Adam Dix

You will see that I tend to obliterate the stark white of the gesso surface by creating a texture, then either pulling an all over glaze or leaving certain areas untouched. I prefer to work in oil as I find acrylic does not give the depth of tone or sheen, this means that by using the alkyd base range with other oils I can quicken the process in the under painting, as well as extending my paint blend.

The constancy of the paint, straight out of the tube before mixing it with the Liquin has a good balance; it is not too solid or creamy. There is no excess linseed oil and there is a consistent buttery feel, which blends well when making glazes and thicker opaque textures.

Adam Dix
© Adam Dix

The alkyd range can help to enrich the colour, and later in the painting process where certain areas are more opaque, I can get a nice resist when layering another glaze, without worrying that the under layer with lift.

I like to keep the ‘surface landscape’ of the painting quite shallow allowing the glazes to be absorbed into the gesso as well as getting a balance in the ‘surface’ between absorbed and raised areas of the painting. This creates textured areas of paint by either applying the paint by pressing cut shapes of paper (that have had paint previously applied) or scraping back with a palette knife, in contrast to thin glazed areas.

Adam Dix
© Adam Dix

As the alkyd-based paint dries quicker, it can give a sticky resist if I want to irritate it before it’s completely dry, meaning I can get subtle textures which can either be enhanced by a thin glaze or left alone.

Like most painters I tend to work on a few works at a time, having the freedom of ideas to feed into one another, but also break up the painting process. Using the alkyd range helps to keep a sense of immediacy within my often quite methodical way of working.

I tend to judge the completion of a painting by the sense of depth in the glazes, often putting finishing ‘spot glazes’ on. These can be quite gloopy with a thick syrup quality to them, so again by using the alkyd range these spots of glazed paint can be applied knowingly, being able to dry quickly without cracking as well as having a depth of colour and sheen to them.

The painting documented is Silent Signs and was completed in December 2020.

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