Water Soluble Oils

Yes, these are water soluble oils which I know sounds odd but they do work quite well. Buy these if you are sensitive to the smell of solvents. No need for turpentine, white spirits etc. The paint itself doesn't smell much either. They are not as buttery as regular oil paint and I don't feel they have the same vibrancy or covering power but still, a good alternative if you want to avoid the smell. Maybe you have limited space or don't want to offend your family's nostrils. Cleaning up with warm water and soap is a breeze. They touch dry in roughly five days.

Even though these can be used with water there are paint mediums available that will enhance the look of the paint. If you mix with water you will find there is a colour shift. You can also dilute the paint to the same level as traditional oil paint whereas water can cause the paint to lose lustre.

I am a fan of water soluble oils after many years of pretty much sticking to artist's oil colours from Winsor and Newton. I bought a dozen Artisan Water Mixable Colours about four years ago, experimented with them and found them more than workable. I recently took them up again when I started doing some painting at home. I expanded my colour range to twenty-seven colours and I use them with artisan thinner. Artisan Water Mixable Linseed Oil as well as a range of other mediums to suit any style of oil painting are also available from W&N. Obviously there are no problems of pigment change because of the oil content if you use this linseed oil and you can work fat over lean with no problems. W&N have developed 40 colours which gives us plenty of scope.

Varnishing is well covered too with Artisan gloss, matte and satin to choose from.

I haven't used all mediums designed for water soluble oils yet but I have experimented with impasto medium. The claims made for it say it halves the drying time but as I only used it around a month ago at the time of writing this article I cannot comment. The colours are certainly pleasing to look at.

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