Oil Paint (Water Soluble)

Update:-  I am switching over to Traditional Oils now.  I plan to use the WSO sparsely.  The traditional are just easier to use and handle.

MugMy entry into the world of color was through Pastel, for the sole reason that there were no solvents or smells of any kind.  I also could leave my work without having to worry about cleaning the brushes or the paint drying on my palette.  However, In Pastel, if you own around 100 color sticks, searching for the right color with the right value and intensity is a little cumbersome,  I also did not like hauling all the color sticks for plein air work either,  and as much as I enjoyed plein air, I frequently found excuses to avoid it.

Water Soluble Oil (WSO) Gallery (click to see the gallery)

The constraints of the Pastel lead me to explore other mediums.  During my search I discovered the Water Soluble Oil, this was God sent to me.  I could mix any chroma and value with just a few tubes of colors.  Therefore it also dramatically cut the volume and weight, that I faced with Pastels.

Marble Bowl

Initially I struggled, because I was working with the Artisan WSO, made by Winsor & Newton, which was a little sticky and some of the yellows were too stiff.  I was contemplating switching to traditional oil when I discovered the Grumbacher MAX.  This paint is really awesome, it flows like butter, behaves very nicely and is reasonably priced.  Another plus, I found, is the fact that it does not dry too fast. After sitting for a couple of days on the pallete the paint develops a thin layer of skin which can be broken and removed to access the paint inside.   For now I will be using the Grumbacher MAX,…,at least for a while.

Update

I have recently started using Holbein WSO and I have to say they are even better than the MAX.  These are truly Water Soluble and do not become tacky at all.   So if you are new to Water Soluble Oil, do yourself a favour and buy these.

 

18 thoughts on “Oil Paint (Water Soluble)

  1. Sam

    Hi Faisal,

    Thanks for your reply.

    (1) Do you soften the edges immediately after you put down the paint? Do you soften the edges several hours after you put down the paint?

    (2) What brush do you use to initially put down the paint? (brand, size, shape – flat or round or filbert, material – nylon or animal hair)

    (3) What brush do you use to soften the edges? (brand, size, shape, material)

    Thanks,
    Sam

    Reply
    1. Faisal Tariq Post author

      Hi Sam,

      I soften as I paint and as needed. I don’t really give it much thought. I use the same filbert nylon brush (Maters Touch, Synthetic) for softening the edge that I use for painting. I don’t know if there is a secret recipe for this, you need to just keep experimenting.

      Thanks

      Faisal

      Reply
  2. Sam

    HI Faisal,

    When I try to soften the edges, I found a new brush works better. A new brush is soft, almost like duck’s feathers. I can smudge an area into a solid fog. But, after I use the brush a few times, it becomes hard,. When I smudge on wet paint, it leaves a lot of visible streaks.

    I think maybe I am not cleaning the brushes properly. How to you clean the brushes?

    Thanks,
    Sam

    Reply
    1. Faisal Tariq Post author

      Hi Sam,

      Yes! a dry clean brush works the best. You need to try different kinds of brushes to see what works. After you wipe the brush clean with a rag or towel, rub your brush on a dry canvas surface as if you are repeating the action for blending.

      Also, the softening should be done on the surface of the painting, with very light touches, don’t dig in with your brush.

      This is something you will have to experiment with and see what works for you, don’t get too hung up on getting the brush to behave perfectly every time, you will have to accomodate the brush and not the other way around… 🙂

      Take Care.

      Faisal

      Reply
    1. Faisal Tariq Post author

      Hi Sam,

      I would strongly recommend “Glass”. First, we WSO users will occasionally use water and that does not go well with wood and secondly when the paint dries you can use a scraper to remove the dried paint without a problem. If for some reason you feel the paint is really hard to get off the palette, try using Isopropyl alcohol from your local pharmacy store (Walgreens and CVS).

      I use two palettes. One is a glass table top that I found at Walmart. The other one I got custom made at the local glass cutter who cut a rectangular piece for me. Make sure you get the edges grounded otherwise you may end up cutting yourself, also make sure you use a thick piece of glass, thicker the better.

      I visited your blog and have written a comment. Nice Start!… you will see yourself bloom in no time.

      Take Care

      Faisal

      Reply
  3. Sam

    HI Faisal,

    I have a few more questions.

    (1) Both medium and thinner make oil paint flow more easily. But what is the difference between medium and thinner in general?

    (2) More specifically, what is the difference between these two:

    Artisan Water Mixable Painting Medium
    http://www.winsornewton.com/products/oils-solvents-mediums-varnishes/oil-colour–oils-solvents-mediums-varnishes/artisan-water-mixable-painting-medium
    vs.
    Artisan Water Mixable Oil Colour Thinner
    http://www.winsornewton.com/products/oils-solvents-mediums-varnishes/oil-colour–oils-solvents-mediums-varnishes/artisan-water-mixable-oil-colour-thinner

    (3) Do you use medium or thinner?

    Thanks,
    Sam

    Reply
    1. Faisal Tariq Post author

      Hi Sam,

      The thinner is a replacement for the water, to dilute the paint. It has no oil in it, i.e. it does not have the slick feel. If you want to get a feel for the thinner, just try water, it is exactly like that. Except that in some cheap WSO paint if you use water it will make the paint very sticky and almost unusable, and this is where the thinner works well (with the cheaper brand). With a good brand like the Holbein Duo you can use water, it works just as well. However I don’t use water or thinner at all. (If I ever use water to clean my brush I dip it in an oily medium before dipping it in a medium, that way it keeps the hair nice and manageable). One more thing adding water will make your paint milky temporarily until the paint dries and then it comes back to its normal chroma. The thinner has the advantage of not making the paint milky, it just dilutes the paint.

      All mediums are oil of some sort (the one that I am aware off) and they either retard or speedup the drying of the oil paint. It adds sheen to the paint, and adds a little slick to the paint, making the brush glide, adding too much can spell disaster, just a few drops usually is fine.

      I exclusively use clove oil to prep my paint and then use Linseed Oil made for WSO exclusively during painting.

      Take Care,

      Faisal Tariq

      Reply
  4. Sam

    Hello Faisal,

    Do you mix WSO paint with regular (non-water soluble) linseed oil? Or do you mix WSO paint with water soluble linseed oil?

    If you use regular (non-water soluble) linseed oil, do the brushes become impossible to clean with water?

    You use Holbein WSO paints. If you use water soluble linseed oil, do you use the Holbein brand? Or do you use other brands such as Winsor & Newton?

    Thanks,
    Sam

    Reply
    1. Faisal Tariq Post author

      Hi Sam,

      I have used walnut oil as a medium as well and that is not water soluble. I am also using clove oil which is not WSO and It works fine. I think the regular linseed oil will be fine, if used in small quantities, a drop or two. The WSO paint has emulsifiers in it that should help break down the linseed oil and your brush should be easy to clean with soap and water.

      However since you are starting out, I would strongly recommend that you stick with everything WSO (don’t use the clove oil for a little while). You don’t want to have a bad experience battling your tools, i.e. paint gumming up etc, and you want to concentrate on your painting.

      I use the Winsor & Newton WSO linseed oil with Holbein WSO Paint.

      Take Care,

      Faisal

      Reply
  5. Sam

    Hi Faisal,

    >> I paint on 5″x7″ oil primed boards. I strongly recommend oil primed surfaces to paint on.

    In any new field, lingo is an initial challenge. The phrase “oil primed board” is new to me. So I searched the Internet. I found two entirely different products. The first is wooden boards (you would be painting on wood), such as Blick Studio Artists’ Boards:

    http://www.dickblick.com/products/blick-studio-artists-boards/

    The second is canvas mounted on wooden boards (you would be painting on cotton or linen), such as Centurion Deluxe Oil Primed Linen Panels:

    http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/canvas-and-boards/canvas-panels-and-boards/centurion-deluxe-oil-primed-linen-panels.htm

    Which board do you use (wooden surface or linen surface)?

    >>Do share your paintings, if you have done any.
    I will be glad to share. I am a true beginner. I have a life-long appreciation of art. I also have sketched occasionally since childhood. But I only started painting this year. So far, I painted about 10 acrylics paintings and 2 oil paintings. When I posted the comments, I filled out the email address field. You can send your email address to my email address, and I will send my paintings to your email address. If your blog account does not show you my email address, please let me know, I will include it in my next comment.

    >> Are you in the US? Where exactly?
    Yes, I am in the US. I am in California. So, painting seascape is a future possibility.

    Thanks,
    Sam

    Reply
    1. Faisal Tariq Post author

      Hi Sam,

      I paint on oil primed Linen. If you read my previous e-mail I mentioned Raymar as top-notch quality and Centurion as a good practice board. The wooden boards that you sent the link to were not “oil primed” instead they were the other type and are not suitable.

      I strongly think Passion for Art will take you farther than talent. If you have got a little time to dedicate every week, then you can and will improve,… I assure you.

      I will contact you through e-mail and look forward to seeing your paintings.

      Take Care,

      Faisal Tariq

      Reply
  6. Sam

    Hi Faisal,

    Thanks again for your quick reply. I just want to confirm: when you paint with WSO with brushes, you always mix WSO with linseed oil (you never paint with undiluted WSO straight from the tube), correct?

    I am very impressed with Gallery #1/3: Oil Paint (Water Soluble), especially “Lucky Bamboo”.

    What brushes do you use to paint water soluble oils still life paintings (Size: approx 5″ x 7″)?

    brand
    type (flat/round/?)
    size
    material (natural/synthetic)

    Thanks,
    Sam

    Reply
    1. Faisal Tariq Post author

      Hi Sam,

      Yes! I always mix with Linseed oil. It is too stiff for me straight out of the tube. (Remember, I already have clove oil mixed in the paint, before I start adding Linseed oil).

      Thank you for visiting my blog and the nice complement. I strongly urge people learning to paint or draw to make it a habit to paint/draw frequently. Painting small helps. I paint on 5″x7″ oil primed boards. I strongly recommend oil primed surfaces to paint on, otherwise surfaces with Gesso and Acrylic primed surfaces absorb the oil out of your paint and the brush just drags instead of gliding making things very hard, especially if you are a new comer. RayMar brand is what I will highly recommend, but Centurion is a good option if you just want to practice and are on a budget (aren’t we all). I will also recommend to put a thin layer of linseed oil on the surface and then wipe it off, such that you can see a thin sheen on the surface, this helps the brush to easily glide on the surface and the paint goes on easy on the surface (you will have to experiment with this one to see what works for you).

      I use Masters Touch, synthetic, I use size 6 and below and they are Filberts and Flats only. I use the Size 6 to finish 90% of the painting, then based on the details needed I switch to smaller sizes.

      Are you in the US? Where exactly?

      Take Care,

      Faisal

      Reply
  7. Sam

    Hi Faisal,

    Thank you for your quick reply.

    When you said “I use Clove oil to extend the life of the paint on the palette”, what did you mean? Did you mean that you drop a little clove oil on the palette first, and then squeeze paint on top of the clove oil puddle, without mixing the two?

    You also said that work-flow #1 would be very challenging to use. Does that mean that artists almost never paint with undiluted paint? (when they are using brushes instead of palette knives)

    Thanks,
    Sam

    Reply
    1. Faisal Tariq Post author

      Hi Sam,

      Regarding the Clove Oil. I squeeze out the paint on my palette (roughly 1.5″ long) and drop clove oil on it and thoroughly mix with a palette knife. Another option (if you don’t want to mix clove oil with your paint) is to keep your palette in an air tight container with a cotton ball soaked in clove oil, somewhere on the side in the container. The air inside the container will saturate with Clove oil and will prevent the oxidation of the oil in the paint hence stopping the hardening of the paint.

      I did not understand your question regarding question #1. What I meant is, I have not seen artists blending paint with medium on the canvas, instead of the palette, maybe one can do this in the very early stages when one is spreading paint to cover the canvas, but never in the second and subsequent layers. However Art is one area where rules are meant to be broken and I am sure someone somewhere is doing it.

      Do share your paintings, if you have done any. Have Fun!

      Faisal

      Reply
  8. Sam

    HI Faisal,
    I just started learning how to paint (with WSO). I have a few very basic questions.
    The first question is about thinner. Do you thin your WSO paint? If so, do you use water, safflower oil, walnut oil, or linseed oil?
    The next question is about the work-flow. Which of the following describes your work-flow? If none does, can you describe your work-flow?
    (1) Squeeze the paint onto the palette, undiluted. Dip the brush in the thinner, then pick up the undiluted paint with the brush, and apply the paint on the canvas.
    (2) Squeeze the paint onto the palette, mix the paint with thinner on your palette, then pick up the diluted paint with the brush, and apply the paint on the canvas.
    Thanks,
    Sam

    Reply
    1. Faisal Tariq Post author

      Hi Sam,

      Welcome to the world of Water Soluble Oil.

      I use Clove oil to extend the life of the paint on the palette (Go to your local Organic Food Store, Whole Foods if you are in the US). I can leave the paint in the open for 2 weeks before it starts to dry. I use 2-drops (using a dropper) for 1.5″ Burnt Umber and 1 drop for 1.5″ Ultramarine blue, Cadmium Yellow, Alizarin Crimson and Titanium White. There are a few renowned artist who use Clove oil. I have heard that it causes darkening of the paint over time. At this point I am not selling my art so I don’t mind, as long as it gives me time to experiment and not worry about the paint drying up. Besides all the mediums will produce some discoloration over time.

      After I prepare my palette using the above medium. I use Water Soluble Linseed Oil to dilute my paint on the palette and then I apply it on the canvas.

      I use Water to a minimum. I clean my brushes with water and then wipe them dry and then dip them in the Linseed Oil to give them a coating of linseed oil. I sometimes dilute with water to get my underlying sketch work layed out.

      So I guess, I use work-flow #(2). I don’t know how #1 would work? It would be very challenging to use it that way.

      If you are new I would highly recommend Holbein WSO, as they are the best and do not gum up. Hope this helps. Don’t hesitate if you have any more questions.

      Thanks

      Faisal

      Reply

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