Fat over lean

“Fat over lean” is a principle in oil painting that refers to the practice of layering oil paints with a higher oil content (fat) over layers with a lower oil content (lean). This principle is important because it helps to ensure the stability and durability of the paint layers over time.

The basic idea is that the lower layers of paint (the lean layers) should have less oil and more solvent, making them relatively thinner and faster-drying. As you progress to upper layers (the fat layers), you increase the oil content, which slows down the drying process and creates a more flexible and durable paint film.

Following the fat over lean principle helps prevent cracking or other structural issues in the painting as it dries, as the more flexible upper layers can move slightly without damaging the layers beneath them. It’s a fundamental concept in traditional oil painting techniques and is still relevant and widely practiced by artists today.

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