Does oil paint expire?

I've had oil paint for a while now and sadly, I haven't had any time to use it. So I was wondering whether or not it expires (I heard it from an art teacher a long time ago that it does.)

3 Answers

  • M T
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Oil paint does not rot or expire. Certain pigments fade or darken when exposed to light. These do not change within the tube. If air gets to the paint it will oxidize, drying out. In some cases the dryer added in some paint brands to speed up the drying time may trigger a reaction causing the paint to harden within the tube over time. Dryers generally rely on a reaction to oxygen which points to a fault of the tube itself. Some paints contain lead which can harden in the tube over time.

    As for using paint when the pigment has separated from the oil, this should not be considered excess oil. Consider what you would have if you reduced the oil in a recipe. It is a vital ingredient and the amount used is not determined at random. It is best to squeeze out all of the tube contents, remix/blend the oil and pigment then re-tube the paint within a fresh/empty tube. Using the pigment after it has separated from the oil, the excess oil typically being soaked up with a paper towel, can lead to cracking and "sinking in."

    Note: "Sinking in" occurs when the surface/support or pigment is very absorbent and more oil is leeched out of the paint. It dries to a dull/matte finish. It shows up unevenly dispersed across the painting.

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  • 1 decade ago

    There are several things that can happen to the paint which make it unusuable...

    it can dry up in the tube if any air has gotten to it

    the oil can seperate from the pigment and be on the top of the tube and the bottom of the tube will get hard.

    the pigment will start to fade and wont be as brilliant as it used to be.

    I would suggest putting some of the paint on a pallette and checking it out..find out what the consistency is...the oilness of it...etc.

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  • Raf
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    As long as the paint is usable, then it is good. Some artists prefer older oil paint where some of the oil has separated out.

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