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Water Mixable Oil Paints

Hello! Any help would be appreciated! I have recently come across Mark's videos and am so grateful. I've been reading and watching a lot of his information. I've been so excited to try out the techniques.

The trouble is that before stumbling upon this site I had bought quite a lot of Winsor and Newton Water Mixable Oil Paints. After listening to Mark speak about toxicity next time I'm going to buy regular oils or Geneva paints if I can afford them. But for now I have a lot of the water mixable paints and can't afford to not use them and just buy different paints. 

I looked at Mark's medium recipes but I dont know if they would work with the water mixable paints. Therefore I have purchased winsor and newton water mixable stand oil and thinner. Having tried these with the paints I just cannot get the consistency I need. 

Like I said I won't buy these again so that I can stick to the supply list - but for now has anyone else had any success with the water mixable paints? If so what medium did you use? Any advice would be appreciated as I just can't seem to get this right!


  • ANorris

    Welcome to the Forum.

    WM oils are no more toxic than regular oil paint or Geneva. The toxic component is the solvent added via the medium. You can choose to use a non toxic solvent such as water ( not recommended) or citrus based solvent such as Zest It. 

    The solvents to avoid are oderless mineral spirit or turpentine. Even these can be managed with good studio practice and ventilation.

    I have been using W&N WM paint for several years mixed with Mark’s slow dry formula. No problems.


  • Hi Denis,

    Thank you so much for your response! I'm so happy to be part of this forum now. 

    I thought that I might have been worrying about the toxicity of normal oil paints more than I should have. Now I'm starting to think that either are fine. I also wanted water mixable oils to clean my brushes with water but watching what Mark does with his brushes (not cleaning them fully) that doesn't seem to be much of an issue either. 

    If I could get the winsor and newton water mixable oils to the right consistency that'd be great for now. I've bought stand oil, linseed oil and thinner (all part of the winsor and newton water mixable range). I just can't seem to get the ratios right!

    It's so good to hear that you've been using Mark's slow drying medium recipe with the WM paints without a problem. I'll try that. Stick to the recipe and add until I get ketchup. Fingers crossed. Do you use the odorless mineral spirit in the recipe then? 

    I had no idea I could mix his recipe with WM paints. Thank you so much for your advice!

    I spent today messing up a painting with paint I'd made all slimy and horrible. Things are looking up now though.

    Amanda (Wales, UK)
  • Amanda

    Yes I use OMS in the SDM. Using up my stock of SDM until Geneva is available here in Australia.
    With good flow through ventilation and the OMS mixed in with the oils and resins the only noticeable aroma is clove oil.

    Toxicity is all about dose/response. Even water is toxic in excess. Just use a barrier hand cream and have the materials for cleanup close by your easel. Don’t eat while painting. Close up all containers. Remove paper towel waste frequently. Use only one colour group at a time. Use non solvent clove and walnut for brush storage.


  • Hi Amanda,

    I have a lot of Cobra water mixable paints, and I can just add walnut oil (or linseed oil) with a very small amount of clove oil and use them like that.

    They wash out easy with water.

    I've since moved onto other paint brands for the colours I use, but you certainly don't need to use solvents to paint with oils (none of my paintings use solvents). 
  • Thank you - you just gave so much helpful information. I am awful for leaving paper towels full of paint around and am a messy painter in general. I'll start learning some better habits! I'll buy everything needed to make Mark's SDM. Fingers crossed I can get hold of everything I need in the UK! I'm hoping that the water mixable stand and linseed oils I've already bought will be ok for the recipe. I think that here we call minieral spirit white spirit (unless I've got totally mixed up). I've got some which isn't artist grade but I'm hoping it'll be ok. Now to search for venice turpentine and oil of cloves.

    I'd love to try the geneva paints. I'll splash out one day.

    Australia - wow you're up late/early! Good for me that you're not sleeping.

    Thanks again

  • Hi too Richard. Thank you also for your advice! I haven't tried walnut oil yet. And I'm about to order clove oil. So you don't use a water mixable alternative to the mineral spirit? I thought that if I wasn't using Mark's proper medium receipe for now then I'd have to use the water mixable thinner. I'm getting myself all confused. There seems to be so many oils/mediums/thinners out there!

  • Thanks movealonghome! It's all starting to make more sense now. I think I'll try without solvents first then. It's also good to know though that I could use Mark's slow drying medium recipe with water mixable paints. I started off not knowing at all what I could mix with the WM paints. Now I see that I have a few options. You've all been so helpful. I really appreciate you all taking the time to offer advice.  

    I'm sure I'll still mess it up by adding too much walnut oil. Today I added far too much stand oil but luckily I didn't use all my paint. 

  • Welcome to the forum Amanda. Just adding my 2 cents worth, The advice you've gotten so far is spot on They are always right and won't give you a bum steer.  The clove bud oil or clove oil needs to be clear and fresh with no additives like alcohol. Alcohol is good for cleaning glass palettes though.

  • Thank you! I havent ordered the clove oil yet so I'll check that. I am using glass palettes as suggested by Mark so I'll try cleaning them with alcohol. I feel so lucky to have come across Mark's tuition videos and now lucky to be getting such great advice from forum members. I hope soon I'll be able offer advice on a topic too! 

    Today was a bit disappointing as I had set up my studio to the book, had watched so many videos, I'd stained my canvas, drawn on it with the right pencil and then messed it up by adding far too much stand oil to my paint. But with the advice I've received now I'm excited to buy a few more supplies and try again. 
  • I just use an eyedropper and add a few drops to the paint (Depending on the size of the pile). Works for  me :)
  • Not pouring it on like I did earlier! I'll definitely try an eye dropper.
  • Ahh movealonghome I suppose maybe the glass jars aren't necessary after all. I've bought a lot of jars. Guess I'll have to start making jam!
  • I think I've finally got my head around water mixable oil paints. I was thinking of them as totally different to regular oil paints but I now gather that they are much the same. They can be mixed with regular oil paints and regular mediums (including Mark's SDM) without problem. The main difference just seems to be whether you want to clean brushes with water instead of solvents (not so much of an issue if you follow Mark's brush care tips I guess). I was thinking that I had to use special water mixable linseed/stand oil etc but that's only true if I want to wash my brushes with water. Eureka! Thanks so much to you all for helping me get my head around this. There still seems to be quite a bit of choice when it comes to mediums so I'll have a little play about with the oils that have been recommended but this time I'll use them a bit more sparingly! Its also good to know that I haven't necessarily got to use mineral spirits or thinners. I've always used oil paints straight from the tubes without mediums so this is a bit new to me. I think I should have learned about this stuff a long time ago!
  • ANorris  - there are ways to use some of those jars Watch Marks video on "how to not waste paint" he has a good tip in it!
  • Thanks Cadia! I haven't watched that video yet so I'll take a look. There are so many videos to watch but I'll get through them eventually. 
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