An Artist's Life

Watching paint dry with Tomasz Schafernaker

Posted by Mikki Longley on February 15, 2021 · 2 mins read

Painting and the weather - unconnected you might think unless you are a “plein air” artist and out there painting in all conditions. When I’m busy painting in the studio it’s actually really important to factor in the weather conditions. If it’s too hot, the paint dries too quickly and if it’s too cold it dries too slowly (as well as having cold fingers). Thanks to Tomasz Schafernaker (other weather presenters are also available), I can predict which will be a perfect day for painting in the studio.

I work mainly in acrylics - they are affectedly humidity, temperature. Airflow, absorbency of the media you work on (paper/canvas etc). They vary between brands too.

There are a few things an artist can do to control the drying times:

To make acrylics dry faster:

reduce humidity

Increase temperature

Increase air flow

Paint in thinner layers

Paint on absorbent surfaces

Use acrylics without retarders

To make acrylics dry slower:

Increase humidity

Avoid high temperatures

Decrease Airflow

Paint in thick layers

Paint on non-absorbent surfaces

Add retarder to the paint

*Thanks to for this list

One of my tactics is to work on several pieces in the studio at once - I’m lucky enough to have space for this. That means that I can move from piece to piece as the paint dries.

Having said all this, as my purpose-built studio is incredibly well insulated, and with a thick Sedum roof, the only times I have a real problem is during heatwaves (remember them??) when it’s lovely to have the doors flung wide open to hear the birds and smell the flowers, the fresh-mown lawn… Oh for the days of Summer!

I’ll explain more about acrylics in a future blog post.


I always have music playing in the studio, so I thought it would be fun to have a mini-playlist for each blog post.
Watching Paint Dry Playlist
It’s Raining Men: The Weather Girls
The Next Storm: Frank Turner
Long Hot Summer: The Style Council
Calm after the storm: The Common Linnets
Brighter than Sunshine: Aqualung