I have a query for Richard and anyone else who might like to comment.

Richard, I notice that you recommend Archival Oils by Chroma but that you regularly use water soluble oils when making the online demonstration videos.  Do you now prefer water soluble oils to the traditional oils?  

I'm fairly new to oil painting having painted mostly in watercolour and acrylic in the past.  I have bought a number of tubes of traditional oils but I'm now wondering whether I should have bought water soluble oils for more convenience.  It seems that they might dry quicker?  or are they easier to handle? and easier to clean up? I would like to hear the pros and cons on each please.  Thank you.

Views: 2157

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Candi,

I have just responded to your message with the message to Cindy above.  Not sure if it automatically replies to you as well, so I thought I would just let you know and thank you for your help. :-)

Colleen



Colleen McCafferty said:

Hi Cindy and Candi, Thank you for your helpful comments.  It's all very interesting.  I bought some walnut oil a few months ago and have tried it with normal oil paints, like Richard does, and I like it a lot.  I have only just recently bought a few tubes of Cobra water mixable oils but haven't had a chance to try them yet.  Living on acreage and with a very wet Summer and now Autumn, I have had to spend a lot more time in the yard just to keep it under control - and I would rather be painting!  But I will give the water mixable oils a try as soon as I get a chance.  I have a workshop coming up in a couple of weeks time with Colley Whisson in traditional oils so I'm looking forward to that.  Apparently we can bring traditional oils, acrylics or water mixable oils - choices!  choices!  At this stage I think I'll just take traditional oils so that I have the same as the tutor.  I think this always works best for workshop.  Although I have to confess I would much prefer acrylics for the easy cleanup! None of them are ever as easy to clean up as watercolour, but it's a completely different medium.  Anyway, thanks again for your help.

Colleen

Candi Hogan said:

Hi Colleen!  I've attempted two paintings now in water soluble oils.  Used them for one of my Challenge 41 paintings (the other I did in watercolor). With both of the W.S. Oils I used Cobra Painting Medium....they take a long time to dry.  Lots easier clean up than oils, but not as easy as watercolors!  I haven't painted with oils in years, but when I did...painted differently.  I always did an under painting and then layers of glazes, so difficult to compare.  I have read that Richard uses walnut oil, going to try that, and will also try just with water.  Would like to learn more about them myself...so will keep my eye on this forum, and let you know my feelings on the water and walnut oil!  

Liking the reminder about Murphy's Oil Soap, that does wonders to restore brushes!

I use the Grumbacher WS oils and enjoy them a lot. The best thing about them is that I can use soap and water to clean up.

The key to using them is do NOT use water for anything except cleanup! If you need to thin them, use WS linseed oil or regulat safflower or walnut oil. If you add water to the oil paint, you get a very unstable drying situation and willend up with a matt finish.

With the Grumbacher, the paint is very stiff out of the tube,mso I just add a few drops of WS linseed oil,many brand as long as it is water soluble. Safflower and walnut oils are easy to clean up with just soap and water, so water soluble versions are not necessary.

One thing about WS oil paints is that you can add up to 30% traditional oil paint or linseed oil and still maintain the wRer solubility. It isn't an instant loss of the water solubility, however, the paint becomes progressively less and less soluble in water as you add more and more traditional oils.

Water soluble oil paints are a true oil paint. There is no water in the formulation. The linseed oils used to make them has been modified to make them water soluble. It is a true linseed oil. The gloss, drying characteristics, and handling vary from brand to brand just like they do with traditional oils.

Hi everyone,

I'm a beginner with oil painting and if this thread is still open I have a question for those with more experience.  

I like the idea of WS oils vs regular oils but I'm having trouble seeing where there is much of a difference in safety.  If you avoid toxic pigments and use walnut oil as a medium (maybe also with oil of lavender if you need a thin medium) the only difference I can see with traditional oils that you need to clean your brushes in walnut or safflower oil before you wash them with soap.  This is an extra step but I don't see the difference in solvent exposure.  Am I missing something?

thanks for your help, Jeff

HI, I switched to water soluble a few years ago and love that I don't need to use solvents any more. They handle the same as traditional oils, and set up fast so I can work plein air on different parts of the painting and then go back to other parts as they dry a little to rework or work over the prior area. This way I can get a complete work done, 8x10, in about 2 hours outdoors. I'll take a short break after block in, then can work the rest. They clean up easily and I use the Masters brush cleaner paste, which works even if I forget a brush for a few days. I use water and some linseed oil or special water soluble oil while working when thinning is needed. The final product dries to the touch in about 2 days and in a week I can store these in a stack side by side. I'll sign and varnish them with Gamvar a few weeks after they are done if need be. Gel medium is also good for thicker strokes and smoother paint as needed. I've found Gamblin solvent free gel works best. Here is a sample of recent work.

 

Colleen, personally I have never used water soluble oils but a very well know artist Marc Hanson tried many if not all the different brands and gave a review of the ones he used. He did prefer the Cobra Water Mixable Oil Colors. Here is the link to Marc's review, Marc Hanson review of water soluble oils.

As an outdoor painter I like the water soluble oils as they "setup" pretty quickly and I can take a break and then paint over what I didn't like so far. In two days or less here in Hawaii, they are tacky but dry enough to completely overpaint any area. The first block in can be done with water as thinner, then I use water soluble medium later to thin. Within a week I can use gamvar varnish to finish the sheen as the paints tend toward the dull side depending how much medium or gel you used. The varnish really brings out the colors well. Clean up is  easy and if I get paint on myself and clothes, I can put the clothes in the washer and most comes out easily. I clean the brushes with Masters brush cleaner paste and leave a little on the brush at the end to condition it. I use synthetic brushes, mainly Artisan brand, and cleaning them and hanging them bristle down to dry has let me keep using them for years.        

Over my career I've moved from watersoluble to standard oils to archival oils by chroma to watersoluble and now am back to standard oils made by M Graham. As for the fumes, I just paint outdoors more than indoors.

I began painting with acrylics because I was intimidated by oils. All those mediums and solvents and procedures that you have to follow. Toxicity and safety issues !

But I took a class and the teacher allowed us to choose any medium. I was becoming more committed to painting so I decided to take the plunge and paint with oils like the big boys do.

After a few years, I have learned how to make painting with oils very easy.

I bought odorless mineral spirits ( Gamsol or Turpenoid in the U.S.), linseed oil and alkyd lite.

Alkyd is an additive that makes oils dry faster.

I mix a solution that is equal parts oil and solvent then I add about 10% alkyd to it. I keep it in a small plastic squeeze bottle.

I use this to change the consistency of the oil paint.  After a while, you just know when to use it.

The surface of the painting can be dry to the touch in as little as a day!

Then there is the matter of cleaning brushes!

Simple, really.

Again,I make a mixture of oil and solvent, 40% oil, 60% solvent more or less. Keep it in a jar with a lid.

When it is time to clean my brush,I wipe as much paint off on paper towel ( kitchen roll ) or cloth or something as I can.

Then I dip the brush into the oil and solvent.

I wipe the brush. Dip. Wipe. Dip. Wipe. Maybe 6 or 7 times .Never swirl the brush...just gently dip it into the medium and lift it out. It isn't necessary to remove every bit of pigment.

FINALLY. I dip the brush in a mixture made of artist grade safflower oil into which I've added clove leaf oil.

I don't wipe off the oil from the brush.I set it aside covered with this oil medium.

The clove leaf oil takes a LONG time to dry! 

The reason we clean our brushes is that we don't want any paint to dry between the bristles. This would deform the shape of the brush. But if the brush doesn't dry between sessions, there is no problem.

You can go about 3 weeks before the brush will start to stiffen.The, either you start to paint again or else you re-apply the clove infused oil to your brush to keep it soft.

Note: Use only artist grade safflower oil, not what you find in the market.

The beauty of this procedure is that your use of solvent is minimal.

Brush 'cleaning' is a breeze.

And, since oil paint is mostly oil, I can clean my hands etc. with simple dishwashing liquid which is formulated to cut through oil and rinse clean.

Cleaning brushes by swirling them in pure solvent releases a lot of fumes into the air and forces you to buy a lot of solvent.

You end up with solvent soaked rags which are dangerous to have lying around.

Gerald

Thanks for your input Richard.  It's interesting that you have gone back to standard oils.  I'm painting in watercolour these days.  

Richard Robinson said:

Over my career I've moved from watersoluble to standard oils to archival oils by chroma to watersoluble and now am back to standard oils made by M Graham. As for the fumes, I just paint outdoors more than indoors.

Thank you for your response Gerald.  Your brush cleaning exercise sounds excellent!

gerald greenblatt said:

I began painting with acrylics because I was intimidated by oils. All those mediums and solvents and procedures that you have to follow. Toxicity and safety issues !

But I took a class and the teacher allowed us to choose any medium. I was becoming more committed to painting so I decided to take the plunge and paint with oils like the big boys do.

After a few years, I have learned how to make painting with oils very easy.

I bought odorless mineral spirits ( Gamsol or Turpenoid in the U.S.), linseed oil and alkyd lite.

Alkyd is an additive that makes oils dry faster.

I mix a solution that is equal parts oil and solvent then I add about 10% alkyd to it. I keep it in a small plastic squeeze bottle.

I use this to change the consistency of the oil paint.  After a while, you just know when to use it.

The surface of the painting can be dry to the touch in as little as a day!

Then there is the matter of cleaning brushes!

Simple, really.

Again,I make a mixture of oil and solvent, 40% oil, 60% solvent more or less. Keep it in a jar with a lid.

When it is time to clean my brush,I wipe as much paint off on paper towel ( kitchen roll ) or cloth or something as I can.

Then I dip the brush into the oil and solvent.

I wipe the brush. Dip. Wipe. Dip. Wipe. Maybe 6 or 7 times .Never swirl the brush...just gently dip it into the medium and lift it out. It isn't necessary to remove every bit of pigment.

FINALLY. I dip the brush in a mixture made of artist grade safflower oil into which I've added clove leaf oil.

I don't wipe off the oil from the brush.I set it aside covered with this oil medium.

The clove leaf oil takes a LONG time to dry! 

The reason we clean our brushes is that we don't want any paint to dry between the bristles. This would deform the shape of the brush. But if the brush doesn't dry between sessions, there is no problem.

You can go about 3 weeks before the brush will start to stiffen.The, either you start to paint again or else you re-apply the clove infused oil to your brush to keep it soft.

Note: Use only artist grade safflower oil, not what you find in the market.

The beauty of this procedure is that your use of solvent is minimal.

Brush 'cleaning' is a breeze.

And, since oil paint is mostly oil, I can clean my hands etc. with simple dishwashing liquid which is formulated to cut through oil and rinse clean.

Cleaning brushes by swirling them in pure solvent releases a lot of fumes into the air and forces you to buy a lot of solvent.

You end up with solvent soaked rags which are dangerous to have lying around.

Gerald

You're right, if you don't clean up with solvents (just store brushes in safflower oil) and don't use a quick drying painting medium (eg. Liquin) then there is no difference in toxicity that I know of.

Jeff Hyman said:

Hi everyone,

I'm a beginner with oil painting and if this thread is still open I have a question for those with more experience.  

I like the idea of WS oils vs regular oils but I'm having trouble seeing where there is much of a difference in safety.  If you avoid toxic pigments and use walnut oil as a medium (maybe also with oil of lavender if you need a thin medium) the only difference I can see with traditional oils that you need to clean your brushes in walnut or safflower oil before you wash them with soap.  This is an extra step but I don't see the difference in solvent exposure.  Am I missing something?

thanks for your help, Jeff

Reply to Discussion

RSS

The Complete Artist is a friendly social network for all artists wanting to improve their painting.


Groups

Photos

Loading…
  • Add Photos
  • View All

Events

© 2017   Created by Richard Robinson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service