Friday, September 7, 2012

Water based Oil Paints

I have always found oil paints difficult,  not least because the smell and toxic fumes, especially from turps, set of my asthma but also because I am impatient and hate the drying time between stages.  I know there are people who can use them and finish a painting in one sitting,  but not me,  I just get too muddy.  Anyway I was intrigued by water based oil paints.  As far as I could see then these paints acted and felt like oils but there was no need for turps or thinners to use them,  you could use them with good old fashioned water.  

I chose Winsor and Newtons Artisan paints for 2 reasons,  1. I have always rated Winsor and Newton paints and I am totally hooked on their watercolour ranges.  2.  In my research then I found these were the best for using with water,  not something most oil painters liked, but I felt coming from a watercolour background they may suit me better as the flow would be similar.

How wrong could I be. I was not impressed when watering them down, not only did it massively shorten the drying time,  but they were wishy washy and very flat.  This is when I discovered in my pile of goodies I picked up from a art shop sale,  that I did actually already owned the Artisan  safflower Oil.  I definitely think you need oil to keep the drying time long and to thin the paints, without loosing colour and texture,  but it was good to be able to wash the brushes with water.

So this is what I painted. It may look like an out of focus photo but this is what I wanted for the background.  I did try adding the trees and some foreground details but as always, without leaving it to dry then the paint just lifts and mixes and a muddy mess appears. So I am going to be patient and wait for it to dry before I add the next layer.

In conclusion these a good substitute for full oil paints,  they seem to act and flow in the same way ( not that I am any expert in oil painting). Only time will tell if they retain the pigment and brightness as they dry,  but overall I would say to save the hassle associated with them, then they would be good. 

 But alas if oil painting is not for you then these paints are not going to change that.  I doubt I will use them much and they will hopefully be used by any of my students, curious enough to have a go.


  1. I was desperate to try these as I love using oils, but tend to get in an awful mess! I got some of these water-mixable oils last Christmas and found they weren't very effective when mixed with water. To be honest I was happier using them with winsor & newton liquin original.
    They seem just as difficult to clean off your brushes too! But I do love the colour intensity you can achieve with them =]

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