Fat over lean is a phrase that comes from traditional artist’s studios. It refers to the sequence that should apply when painting with oil paints.

Just like all paint, oils are a mixture of pigment, extender, and binder. Pigment is the colour, usually a powder. Plus the extender which is a neutral powder bulking up the pigment. The binder is the juice that holds it all together. In oils the binder is traditionally linseed oil plus a thinner or solvent such as turpentine.

lovely 'fat' paint

‘Fat’ oil paint has more oil to solvent [and pigment] than a ‘lean’ mixture. The fat oily layer of paint would be more gooey, thicker, and glossy. Whereas lean paint would be duller and thi