Water-Mixable Oils vs Traditional Oils for Solvent-Free Oil Painting (Video)

by Will Kemp

in oil painting, painting

You like the idea of trying oil paints but the practicalities of cleaning up your brushes with solvents is out of the question.

It could be you paint in a small room without good ventilation or you’ve had to stop using traditional oils due to skin sensitivities or asthma.

So what’s the alternative? Acrylics? Watercolour? or go old school with some Egg tempera?

How about a real oil paint that can be mixed with water or natural drying oils and cleaned with soap and water. Long working time, soft blends, buttery consistency, no solvents and a super easy cleanup.

Mmm, sounds too good to be true, so what’s the catch?…

What are Water-Soluble Oils and how are they Water-Mixable?

duo-aqua-palette

Water soluble oils (also known as water-mixable oils or water-miscible oils) are oil paints that can be diluted and cleaned with water, rather than solvents. They contain dry pigments (colour) an oil binder (usually Modified Linseed or Modified Safflower Oil) and an additive used in the manufacturing process that acts as an emulsifier.

The additive helps form a stable blend of tiny oil droplets within the water. In essence, it’s a bit like traditional Egg tempera, which is also made by mixing a binder and water with dry pigment to make a paint. It consists of dry pigments, egg yolk and water. The egg yolk acts as an emulsifier to create the vehicle binder for the paint.

Are Water-Mixable Oils real Oils?

Yes they are, water-mixable oils are real oils, they are water mixable, not water based.

They can be mixed and applied using the same techniques as traditional oils but whilst wet they can be removed from brushes and palettes with soap and water and I’ve found Masters Brush Cleaner works a treat!

How do they Dry?

When water is used to dilute the paint it dries in two stages. The first stage is evaporation of the water, it will then start the second stage, a further curing process, drying by oxidation, which is exposure the air, just exactly the same as conventional oils.

If used straight from the tube or mixed with natural drying oils, water-mixable oils dry through oxidation.

Water-mixable oil paintings cannot be reactivated with water when dry.

How long do they take to Dry?

When diluted thinly with water they can dry within 5 – 10 minutes, when used straight from the tube or mixed with drying oils, they can dry within 1 – 3 days, depending on how thick you paint, the water-mixable oils retain their elasticity and workability for up to 48 hours.

Also, the more drying oil medium you add into the paints, the longer they take to dry. Many whites use Safflower oil rather than Linseed oil as a binder because it is a paler oil, but this takes even longer to dry.

How do you prepare a surface when using Water-Mixable Oils?

If you intend to use very watery washes at the underpainting stage, then Acrylic Gesso should be used as the starting ground to ensure proper adhesion and absorption. You can also use canvases labelled as ‘universally primed’ (suitable for oil and acrylic). 

It is possible to paint on canvases that have been prepared in the traditional way using an oil-based primer if you use the paint neat or mix it with a drying oil medium.

What are the handling properties when mixed with Water?

Thin Washes

Good when diluted with water to a thin consistency, water-mixable oils tend to feel and behave more like watercolour than oil paint thinned with turpentine.

The watery layers are best used when ‘working-in’ an underpainting stage onto an absorbent ground, so the paint ‘grabs on’. The more water you use the quicker the paint dries and it dries very matte.

Because of the inclusion of water, you’ll find the pigments tend to temporarily lighten in colour and then dry matte as the water evaporates. The principle is similar to when you cut through traditional oil paint with turpentine for the first few stages of a painting which also creates a matte surface. Remember, it’s the oil within the oil paint that creates the glossy sheen so the more you dilute it, whether it be with turps or water, in this case, the less glossy it will become.

This is easily remedied by applying a final varnish, once touch dry, they are just like any other oil painting and take about 6 months to cure before you varnish with traditional varnishes (With Gamvar from Gamblin, you can varnish when the oil paint is touch dry).

Problems with the thin layers

When you’re painting an in-direct method (multiple layers) the first block-in helps you to establish your tonal range and get an idea of your colours within the scene.

When you’re only thinning the water-mixable oils with water to a thin layer, it’s harder to get a solid tone established in comparison to if you were to do the same thing with artist quality acrylics or traditional oils.
The paints behave more like a student grade acrylic in their coverage and they are not as opaque at this stage.

Pro tip: If you also use acrylics you can block in the first layers with watered down acrylics to establish your tonal range and then switch to the water-mixable oils to work on top.

A few drops of Water for a thicker layer with Water-Mixable Oils

You’ll find if you want to paint thicker than a wash and thin the paint with just a few drops of water, the mix becomes a little bit stickier to work with and I’ve found it’s harder to get a nice flow.

This is when I introduced a medium or drying oil to dilute the paint and extend the drying time.

A whole range of water-mixable mediums are available to achieve a good flow and desired consistency.

So if you think of the paints as water cleanable, solvent free, rather than a paint you only use water with you’ll achieve much better results.

A Painting of Two Halves

In the video below, I show the different handling properties between water-mixable oil and traditional oil and demonstrate techniques using water and mediums. I’ve approached it in the same way I would build up a painting with traditional oils or acrylics to see how they compare to my current work flow.

I start with a very watery wash to see how far I can push it, then use the paint neat, straight from the tube with no dilution at all and then make a jump to using a medium to get past the stickiness.

Some artists mix water and a water-mixable medium together to dilute their paints but I found this mix to be cloudy and it didn’t give me the feel under the paintbrush I was after.

I demonstrate with Duo Aqua water-mixable oils from Holbein.

  • Holbein Duo Aqua Permanent White
  • Holbein Duo Aqua Yellow Ochre
  • Holbein Duo Aqua Burnt Sienna
  • Holbein Duo Aqua Ultramarine Light

Traditional Oils

  • Winsor & Newton Titanium White
  • Winsor & Newton Yellow Ochre
  • Winsor & Newton Burnt Sienna
  • Sennelier Ultramarine Blue Deep

Video Comparison Review: Water-Mixable vs Traditional Oils

What Mediums can be used with Water-Mixable Oils?

Confusingly, artist’s use the word ‘medium’ to describe different paint types, such as an acrylic, watercolour or oils.

However, in this context, the word ‘medium‘ is used to describe substances that add flow and transparency and change the consistency of paint. The other benefit of using a medium is that the paint mix stays wetter on your palette for longer.

Mediums for traditional oil paints are usually a mix of a thinner (turpentine or odourless mineral spirits) with a drying oil (linseed or walnut oil).

When working in layers, the traditional rule of “fat over lean,” or “flexible over less flexible” apply, so you would progressively add more oil or ‘fat’ but the underlying layers must dry first. For the later stages of the painting, thicker oil (stand oil) or resins (dammar) can be mixed in to create a more enamel like finish.

Water-Mixable Linseed Oil

duo-aqua-linseed-oil

The same principles apply to water-mixable oil paint, your leaner layers would be mixed with water and then your fatter layers on top would be mixed with a medium.

Holbein produce a special range of mediums that are designed to work with their DUO range and you’ll find all manufacturers of water-mixable oils do too:

Walnut Oil Based Medium

M Graham & Co – Walnut Alkyd Medium

I prefer to use a walnut oil based medium because I can dilute the paint with it, a little goes a long way and I already use it in my studio practice.

Because you need such a tiny amount, I can still wash out my brushes with soap and water without using any solvents.

Walnut oil has been used in paintings for centuries, many Renaissance paintings use Walnut oil as their medium. It’s harder to determine if a turpentine was used initially due to the turpentine evaporating from the picture surface.

You can also use walnut oil to clean your brushes and then an oil soap cleaner (Murphys Soap cleaner gets good reviews)

It’s paler than linseed oil and less likely to yellow, doesn’t quite have the same viscosity so can feel a little slippy under the brush but is slower drying. This M Graham Walnut Alkyd Medium makes the water-soluble oils flow more easily with only a tiny drop and the alkyd addition counteracts the slow drying nature of the walnut oil.

With traditional oil paint I find the walnut alkyd medium can be a little too glossy, but as the water-mixable oil leans towards the matte side, they balance each other out nicely.

Pro tip: An Alkyd is a resin that can be mixed with oil to speed up the drying process (often by 50%). This is why Alkyd oil paints are often known as ‘quick drying oils’ because they dry with 24 hrs.

What is the Paint Consistency and Opacity straight from the Tube?

Pretty good, they’ve got a nice flow from the tube but Holbein Duo Aqua isn’t as buttery, thick or opaque as some artist quality oils, for example, if you’d been working with Old Holland you’d notice a big difference, the consistency is similar to a student grade oil.

Can you mix them with Acrylics?

Yes, Duo Aqua is the only brand I’m aware of which says it can be mixed with acrylics, watercolour and gouache as well as with traditional oil paint.

Can you mix them with Traditional Oil Paints?

Yes, amazingly with every brand of water-mixable oil paints you can even add a small amount of up to 20%-30% of traditional oils paints in with your mix and they still remain water soluble.

Are Traditional Oil Paints Toxic?

There isn’t anything inherently toxic about a tube of oil paint. It is just dry pigment suspended in a binder, usually a drying oil such as Linseed oil (from flax seeds) Safflower oil (from Safflower) or Walnut oil (from erm..Walnuts)

It’s the thinner or solvent, usually Turpentine, that you mix in with conventional oil paint that can cause issues.

Now there are certain pigments such as Cadmium, Lead and paints containing heavy metals that are hazardous but these are always labelled as such on the tubes and they’re at their most risky when in a dry powder form. (These are labelled as Elite colours in the Duo Aqua Range)

It’s also worth noting that the modern manufacturing process mill Cadmium pigments to a larger size than cannot be absorbed into the skin.

What are the most Toxic Solvents used with Traditional Oils?

gum-turpentine-sennelier-artist

The strongest smelling, most toxic thinner used in the traditional oil painting process is distilled turpentine.

Distilled Turpentine

Often called ‘turps’, is considered toxic because some of the species of pine trees from which it’s distilled, can produce a solvent that causes skin irritation and allergic reactions in some people.

By adding turpentine to oil paint, you cut through to create a ‘lean’ paint. This dilutes the paint and dries quickly evaporating into the air, so isn’t recommended if you’re working in a small space without any ventilation.

White Spirit 

White spirit is a petroleum distillate and often used for cleaning artists’ brushes rather than diluting the paint as it evaporates quicker than turpentine.

Because it has high levels of “aromatic hydrocarbons” present….it’s got a harsh aroma but is a strong solvent good for cleaning dried on paint.

Mineral Spirits/ Odourless Mineral Spirits

sansodor-winsor-newton-mineral-spirit

There are more modern solvents like OMS (Odourless Mineral Spirit) that also cut through oil paint to make it leaner, they not as strong smelling as turpentine but should still be regarded as solvents.

Sansodor (Winsor & Newton) and Gamsol (Gamblin) are two common lower odour mineral spirits.

Here is a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for Gamsol which shows that it has an Exposure Limit Value higher than most solvents available to artists, which means you can be exposed to it longer. However, it’s still not recommended to keep unlidded pots of the solvent in confined studio spaces and it’s not advisable to eat and drink in the same area when painting with mineral spirits.

It has a very low ‘aromatic hydrocarbon‘ content.

“Gamsol is a petroleum distillate but all the aromatic solvents have been refined out of it, less than .005% remains. Aromatic solvents are the most harmful types of petroleum solvents.

Gamblin Artist Colours

When solvents dry, they release Volatile Organic Compounds (or VOCs) into the air, the lower, the better.

  • Gum Turpentine –  VOC 865 g/litre
  • White Spirit – VOC 795 g/litre
  • Odourless Mineral Spirit – VOC 767 g/litre
  • Acrylic Gesso can also release VOCs but are much lower, for example, Liquitex Acrylic Gesso has a VOC of 49.3 grams per litre

Can I really just clean up with Soap and Water?

Yes, Masters Brush Cleaner (also make a nice hand soap) Fairy Liquid (I personally love Platinum) or more commonly available in the USA – Murphys Oil Soap (can also be found on Amazon)

What are the best Water-Mixable Oil Paint Brands?

How do they compare to Alkyd Oils?

  • Alkyd paint dries much faster than water mixable oil colours, touch dry and able to repaint over in 24 hrs.
  • Solvents are necessary to thin and clean Alkyd paint
  • I’ve found Alkyd oils tend to have a thicker consistency and better opacity
  • Alkyd paints dry at the same speed
  • Some Alkyd mediums contain 2-Butanone Oxime, which is used as an anti-skinning agent in the formulation of the mediums and can cause irritation.

How do they compare to Traditional Oils?

traditional-oils-limited-palette

Pretty well.

Drying times for the water-mixable oils are a couple of days quicker than traditional oils but much longer than Alykd quick drying oils and the main huge benefit is the ability to work without any harmful solvents whilst still experiencing the longer working time available with oils.

Water-mixable oils don’t have the same ‘spread’ as traditional oils and Holbein Duo Aqua isn’t as buttery, thick or opaque as some artist quality oils. With traditional oils, a little goes a long way and a small amount of paint can cover a larger surface area without having to add any medium.

I found the biggest handling difference with the paints are the flow and opacity and it was all about finding the right medium to mix in with them to suit my style of painting.

Although water is okay to dilute the paint, it’s best used for an underpainting that you want to dry quickly and for cleaning your brushes in-between mixes.

You can get a water-mixable thinner (you can see a comparison video here) which will give you more similar handling properties to turpentine if you wanted longer working times in thinner layers or you could use a Quick-Drying medium for the first stages instead of water.

To make the paints behave as similar as possible to traditional oils, you’ve really got to use a combination of mediums which gives you a more viscous mix so you can work and adapt techniques even closer to traditional methods.

Finally, there can be a disparity in the drying times between layers if you paint the first with water and the second with thicker paint, it’s difficult to achieve a smooth smokiness you’d get between 2 creamy texture paints.

You can, of course, remedy this by painting a thicker background with less water dilution to start with, but if you’re adding water to blend, it will cut through the paint layer and can sometimes pull it off the canvas.

So water-mixable oils give you the opportunity to paint with an oil paint but with the ability to wash up with soap and water and work in a non-toxic painting environment.

The best way to give them a go is to grab a starter set and give them a tryout!

You Might Also Like:

  1. 5 Key Differences between Acrylics & Oils
  2. How to Paint a Simple Still Life Oil Demonstration 
  3. Oil Painting Glossary for Beginners

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Nuala Higgins August 10, 2017

Thanks for the info will give a try

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Will Kemp August 10, 2017

Cheers Nuala, hope you enjoy experimenting with them.
Will

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Jennie Harborth August 10, 2017

Thank you for your in-depth investigation and comments on these paints. I have only ever used water based oils so I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference (I have an severe intolerance to turpentine and other similar solvents). I was stuck with watercolour and acrylic for years before these were devised and I absolutely love them. Also, cleaning up is fabulously easy :)

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Will Kemp August 10, 2017

My pleasure Jennie, pleased you’ve been enjoying working with them in your portraits.
Will

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John Crossett August 10, 2017

Will,

Very wonderful write up on the topic. I’ve learned a lot from your site, and while I’m not experimenting with oils (let alone water soluble oils), my acrylics are being more intense and beautiful. With time and practice, I’ll get there.

Keep up the good work, we all appreciate it.

John

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Will Kemp August 10, 2017

That’s very kind of you to say John, pleased your acrylics are coming on well.
Will

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Mario August 10, 2017

Hi Will,
Very interesting post indeed.
Could you mention something about prices of the water-mixable oils? Are they easily obtainable?
Thanks
Mario

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Will Kemp August 10, 2017

Hi Mario, the Duo-Aqua tend to be more expensive in the UK, here’s a rough guide based on a few brands with Titanium White:

Water-mixable Oil

Holbein Duo Aqua – 50ml Titanium White – £10.70 (0.21p ml)
Daniel Smith – 37ml Titanium white – £8.90 (0.24p ml)
Cobra Water-mixable Oils – 40ml Titanium White – £4 (0.10p ml)
Winsor & Newton Artisan – 37ml Titanium White – £4 (0.11p ml)
Jackson’s Art – 56ml – Titanium White – £3.40 (0.06p ml)

Traditional Oil

Old Holland – 40ml – Titanium White – £6.90 (0.17p ml)
Michael Harding 40ml – Titanium White – £5.90 (0.14p ml)
Winsor Newton – 37ml – Titanium White – £5.80 (0.16p ml)

Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

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Maria August 10, 2017

Hiya Will, thanks for the informative article. I haven’t painted in ages (I like acrylics) but am now very inspired to try oil painting. The water mixable alternative might be a good intro to oils for me. I see a lot of email questions in your future!

Maria

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Will Kemp August 10, 2017

Ha, ha, pleased you found it helpful Maria.
Cheers,
Will

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Kare August 10, 2017

Having spent a number of years painting with powdered lead-based paint on porcelain,
I purchased Holbein paints and switched to canvas painting…a safer product in many respects. They work just as you’ve described. As time went by, I purchased oil paints and you can mix the two but you do need to treat as oils using Gamsol and I love Daniel Smith Oil Painting Medium in the tube. It stands up on your palette rather than runs like Liquin.
Holbein dries faster than oils but slower than acrylics and doesn’t emit any odor when drying. I love Gamvar Varnish…self leveling and beautiful results. Not too shiny and not too dull.
Thank you, Will, for your careful attention to detail.

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Will Kemp August 10, 2017

Hey Kare, thanks for the info on the Daniel Smith Medium, good to know. Yes, Gamvar is a real revelation isn’t it for being able to varnish oils when touch dry. Pleased you enjoyed it.
Will

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Celina Gray August 10, 2017

What a great write-up! This “If you also use acrylics you can block in the first layers with watered down acrylics to establish your tonal range and then switch to the water-mixable oils to work on top.” is so useful to me. Thank you!

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Will Kemp August 10, 2017

Hi Celina, yes this method can be very effective (it works with alkyd and traditional oils as well) as long as the acrylics are diluted slightly with water so the layer of oil can create a good bond.
Cheers,
Will

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Anndell Banks August 10, 2017

EXCELLENT… GREAT NEWS..can you suggest a short list of products to use as a beginning test of these water-mixable oils.

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Will Kemp August 10, 2017

Hi Anndell, the paints I use are listed above the video and the brushes and canvas board I demonstrate with are also mentioned in the video.

A quick list would be:

Canvas or Canvas Board
Acrylic Gesso (Golden Brand)
Water-mixable oil starter set
Synthetic Brush (a round and filbert)
Either a water-mixable linseed oil or I demonstrate with a Walnut Alkyd Medium.
Paper towel

Cheers,
Will

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Jeff August 10, 2017

hi Will,
thanks for the very nice written and video paint comparisons. I also switched to water soluble paints because I was worried about solvents but I didn’t like their feel (sticky) or their coverage, except for Duo- which is pricey. When I learned that I can easily clean regular oil paint from my brushes with rag and a jar of safflower oil I switched back. I can underpaint with acrylics or casein or just with oil paint if I add a touch of medium to the next layer. I think artists can easily use regular oil paints totally solvent free if they want to.

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Will Kemp August 10, 2017

Hi Jeff, nice to hear from you, pleased you enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing your techniques and glad you’ve found a method that suits your painting style, yes traditional oil can be easily adapted, the acrylic underpainting can work a treat.
Cheers,
Will

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Sue August 10, 2017

Thank you so much for the emails I do love receiving them and appreciate all the information they contain, everything I do at the moment is a learning curve as I only started painting last year and as a very mature student with no art school training I find my progress very slow. I purchased your portrait course and as yet have to have a go, but I will and will let you know how I get on, once again, thank you very much Will
Kind regards
Sue

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Will Kemp August 10, 2017

Hi Sue, lovely to hear from you, often it’s a case of starting a painting that can be the hardest stage, once the first ground is on and then a little drawing the enthusiasm to progress through the harder stages comes, but yes, it can definitely seem like a lot of information to take in. Hope you enjoy the portrait course.

Will

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Frieda Stewart August 10, 2017

Thank you for answering so many questions I had about water mixable oils in a very easy to understand format of demo and writing! All painting mediums are fairly new to me and I have only tried pastels and acrylics so far but have been wondering about oils. It was the smell and toxins that I was concerned about and hadn’t even given a thought yet to how they would differ in application to the canvas. So, thanks for anticipating and answering even more questions that would eventually occur to me.

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Will Kemp August 10, 2017

My pleasure Frieda, really pleased it helped to answer some of your questions about trying oils, hope you enjoy experimenting!

Will

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John August 10, 2017

Hi Will

Thanks for this write up!
It’s a real good read . . . .

Cheers

John – Carlisle UK

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Will Kemp August 10, 2017

Cheers John, pleased you enjoyed it.
Will

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CHERYL August 10, 2017

WOW, AND HERE I THOUGHT I KNEW EVERYTHING ABOUT OIL PAINTS. HA HA. SERIOUSLY, I LEARN A LOT FROM YOUR INFO. THANK YOU SO MUCH, I HATE CLEAN UP FROM OIL, SO I SHY AWAY FROM IT. YOUR TIPS HELPED SO MUCH. THANK YOU. I MOSTLY USE ACRYLICS. AND THE THEY ARE SO MUCH FUN TO PLAY WITH.

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Will Kemp August 10, 2017

Ha, ha, thanks Cheryl, so pleased you learnt about some new painting mediums.
Cheers,
Will

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ping August 10, 2017

Very informative, thanks for your hard work! Lately, I have tried Lavender spike oil, a solvent said to be a low-toxic substitute for turpentine(https://www.naturalpigments.com/spike-oil.html). The outcome for me is that in a small, closed room, it seems to be not better than OMS. So the water-mixable oil is worthy to consider.

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Will Kemp August 11, 2017

Hi Ping, I find Lavender spike oil can have a very strong smell when working in a small space, it really cuts through paint and can sometimes even go through an upper layer of paint to the one below. If using it you only need a really tiny amount on your brush.
Will

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Syl Hayes August 11, 2017

Hi Will, thanks for your clear demo. So well organized in the vertical. I’m interested to know what to use to do the original drawing onto the canvas. Many thanks, Syl

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Will Kemp August 11, 2017

Hi Syl, pleased you enjoyed it, I used an acrylic marker, Liquitex makes a good range.
Cheers,
Will

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Alan August 11, 2017

Hi Will
Your output, both in quality and quantity, amazes me. Thank you.
This question may be a bit off-topic:
House paints are engineered to resist wind, sun, salt, heat, cold … Surely they are now good enough for use by artists (unlike Pollock’s paint which is now falling apart).
In particular, I have just ‘inherited’ several large acrylic paintings, rejects which were destined for the bin. On Belgian linen, clearly expensive. I would like to repaint them. I’m happy to incorporate the existing textures but would like to cover them in white. Money being the root of all evil, I would like to save by overpainting with an acrylic house paint (quality brand, probably a paint designed to be a primer/undercoat).
Is this a good idea?
Thanks again for all your hard work.
Alan

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Will Kemp August 11, 2017

Hi Alan, mmm, it’s a tricky one because in theory, yes acrylic house paint could be used as an undercoat and I know of many framers who use an acrylic based paint to create a traditional gesso effect on wooden frames, the only thing is the archival quality and yellowing of the paint that can happen over many years as they aren’t designed to last for longer periods of time. You might find this article of interest, it’s got some info from Mark Golden, founder of Golden Paints: Is it Okay to use house paint for Art?
Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

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LYDIA DEHN August 11, 2017

Hi, Will,
I have used the Artisan Windsor & Newton paints for 10 years now and like them. I have not tried the Duo Aqua. Do you prefer one over the other, or how do they differ?
thanks, L.

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Will Kemp August 11, 2017

Hi Lydia, I find the Duo-Aqua tend to be a little thicker and better tinting strength and they have a wider colour range, but are more expensive than the Artisan range.
Will

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Dave August 11, 2017

Thanks Will for another informative posting. Can you find the same range of colors with water-mixable oils as with oil and acrylics? I paint with a limited pallette but sometimes reach for a tube of teal or Chrome green.

Cheers

Dave

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Will Kemp August 11, 2017

Hi Dave, yes different brands have different ranges, I think Artisan have about 40 colours, Holbein has about 90 colours.
Cheers,
Will

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Janet August 11, 2017

Great info and demo Will. Thanks for taking the time to demonstrate the differences! It’s good to know that if I develop and allergy there’s an alternate choice now. I did have problems with using the strong smelling turpentine, but have since changed to the low odour turpentine which solved that problem.
cheers,
Janet

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Will Kemp August 11, 2017

My pleasure Janet, pleased you’ve been enjoying working with the OMS.
Will

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Gary Sherwin August 11, 2017

As ever, nice work Will. Great to see your info on oils in recent times. Acrylics are brilliant but there’s still something magical about oils and your calm, highly informative and enjoyable videos are in a class of their own.

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Will Kemp August 11, 2017

That’s very kind of you to say so Gary, really pleased you found it helpful.
Will

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Darren Jones August 11, 2017

Hi Will,

Thanks, the article is so informative.

I use Gamvar varnish and am always keen to do so, watching the colour fade/dry from a painting is so disheartening. I never realised I could apply Gamvar when touch dry, I’ve been waiting months before applying! Brilliant… that’s my weekend sorted! :)

Keep up the good work

Darren

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Will Kemp August 11, 2017

That’s brilliant news Darren! happy varnishing!
Will

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Frances August 11, 2017

Hello!
This is just the video that we need! During a Yes-R I use watermixable paint and my busbanen acryl. We try to convince eachother and have lots of reasons bit iT is hard. Now you have put the hamer om the nail….
Thank you Will , we love you.
Frances and Karel

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Will Kemp August 12, 2017

Sounds like perfect timing Frances, pleased you both enjoyed it.
Will

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Beverly August 11, 2017

Thank you so much for this great demonstration. Someone gave me a set of “water mixable oil colors” a while back and I have been sort of terrified to try them. Now I can’t wait.

One question: you talk about “smoking” the edges of the image. Perhaps because I’ve mostly watched your demos on acrylics, I haven’t come across this term before and don’t understand the purpose. Can you explain further?

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Will Kemp August 12, 2017

Hi Beverly, smoking the edge is another way of saying blending the edge, it comes from the Italian word ‘sfumato, translated into English means soft, vague or blurred.
Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

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Stefan August 11, 2017

Great issue, Will!
Have you ever tried the Medium W by Schmincke to make your traditional oil paint water mixable or has anyone any experiences using this particular medium?
Thanks Will
Cheers Stef

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Will Kemp August 12, 2017

Hi Stef, hope you’re well, I’ve read about the ‘Medium W’ in the past but completely forgot about it for the article, I haven’t personally used it but would also be interested to see how it works with traditional oils. You might find this article on Jackson’s Art Blog of interest where they review the Medium W
Cheers,
Will

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Austine August 12, 2017

Will, I am most grateful for the generous sharing of your extensive knowledge of painting. I have wondered about the water soluble oils, but needed your explanation and demonstration in order to give them a try. These will give me a better option for painting when we visit the beach. Thank you.
Austine

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Will Kemp August 12, 2017

That’s great to hear Austine, so pleased they will help with your paintings at the beach.
Will

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Peter Browning August 12, 2017

Thanks for your very informative article Will. I am reluctant to return to oils now that I have got so used to acrylics, and enjoy using them. Having read all the information and watched the video, I may add a starter set of water based oils to my Christmas wish list!
All the best, Peter B.

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Will Kemp August 12, 2017

Hi Peter, my pleasure, glad you’ve been enjoying the acrylics and hope it’s helped to give an overview to the water-mixable oils.
Cheers,
Will

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Shirley Laprise August 13, 2017

Thank you Will for sharing. I have only worked with watercolor and acrylics. I think I will soon try the water-mixable oils, thanks to your very helpful information..

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Will Kemp August 13, 2017

My pleasure Shirley.
Cheers,
Will

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Connie Hurley August 13, 2017

Great side by side demonstration, love the comparison especially of the blending/mixing/smoking differences.

As always, brilliant video.

Thanks,
Connie

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Will Kemp August 14, 2017

Thanks Connie, hope you’re keeping well, really pleased it helped.
Will

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Dana Ziebarth August 14, 2017

Hi Will, Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate this very comprehensive
Video .I started using the water based oils a few months ago and you answered many of the struggles that I have noticed ! I haven’ found much info on this subject, so was really delighted to find your Video !
By the way, I have painted and taught in water colors and pastels for years , just wanted to learn something new … But intended it to be a love- affair, not a struggle.
Thanks again !
Dana

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Will Kemp August 14, 2017

So pleased it helped Dana, that’s great to hear and hope your new experiments with the paints will go really well.
Cheers,
Will

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