Traditional oils versus Water mixable oils

dencaldencal -
edited August 2013 in Color Mixing

Here is a good discussion on the virtues and vices of both types of paint.
The comments are worth reading too.



  • Kingston

    Running both paints at present. One thing no one mentions is cost. The water mixables are about a third of the price of the Artists Oil Color.

  • Has anyone any experience of watering these paints down significantly? I'm currently using them in an airbrush. I'm struggling with the best way to fade colour from a strong pigment to a less strong pgment mix. I come from a background of using watercolour adn acrylic in an airbrush and there I just water the paint down. So far my attempts to water the paint down further just makes a watery but very strong colour when sprayed.
  • Kingston said:

    This stuff doesn't do well in the ab. If you use water it dries in the brush after a while spraying. I don't think the pigment atomizes as small as watercolor or dye. Blending down can be done by paintbrush working carefully wet into wet. Its a blending process.

    Start with a watered down base dried. this will give you bite. Mix the two ends of the fountain with a good moderate synthetic bristle wet into wet. In the long run its easier and looks good. Bob Ross (not at all my favorite painter0 used this technique.

    I miss my airbrush with oils but oil is overall more forgiving than watercolor. You can paint with oil so many different ways.

    Thanks for the comments Kingston. I htink your point that the pigment doesn't atomize as small is true. I was expecting the watering down process to do exactly that.

    The water / paint sticking issue is common with acrylics too - specifically the AB turbo I use. Retarders help with that porblem. I was hoping to have an even better result with the oils because they naturally do not dry as fast.

    I agree with you though, it is more forgiving and I like the look so far. I may not be able to go far with it but I'm going to try and push it. Someone has to.
  • So the answer is to use odorless mineral spirits. You are right Kingston, the water would normally evaporate too much on it's path through a traditional airbrush and to a lesser degree the Ab Turbo I use.

    Making a compromise of wearing a mask while painting (along with my glasses and a visor magnifier. I look like a demented doctor) and ditching the water, I was able to get some very nice fine lines with Cobalt Blue by adjusting the paint mixture with spirits on the fly and varying the air pressure. The lines are near hairline - as good as I could get previously with watercolour and the build up on the previous days work was nice.

    in addition I found a strong plus - I cna rub out details without affecting the layers underneath. I can rub stronger than I ever could on a watercolour. In fact, when I attempt to wipe out an area of a watercolour airbrushed, the change to the area is horrible. With the oils, it is negligible and I can get some effects I am used to from working with charcoal. As you said Kingston, the oil paint is very forgiving. Now I can add paint and wipe details at will without changing the overall visual image of an airbrushed area. I'm pretty happy.

    Thanks for all the suggestions! Now I can use better quality regular oils and now I have to go to the real transparent colours to see what they can do. This is baby steps but I am really hopeful of some great painting. Images coming soon!
  • Folks

    I just bought an Artisan, water mixable, impasto medium by W&N. Not available here until now. I'll let you know how it goes.

  • tjstjs -
    edited August 2013
    Denis before I started with Mark's method I used water mixables and I still have a tube of the impasto medium. I did a few swatches. That was about 6 years ago. Last month I cleaned out my old stuff and noticed some cracking on the test swatches both on panel and canvas. It truly makes the paint really dry. Not for artists that prefer more fluid paints.

  • Let me know what you think though :)
  • I've tried water-mix able oils before, but thinning with water always makes the colours change and go milky, They dry normal tho. But I found it impossible to mix up a colour! You can use the mediums tho and then they behave more like oils.
  • Kingston said:

    Do they still make that turbo?

    Last I looked Paasche still sells the turbo though I don't know if that is old stock they are going through. Dixies and a few other online stores carry the turbo along with accesories. I have 4 that I have collected and canibalise as I need to make two great ones. The hardest part was learning to follow the directions given by Paasche, find the right grease for the airbrush and find other good information on tuning the airbrush.

    Everything said about the ab turbo is true - they are a PITA when you are first learning to tune them and finding out what they do, but once you do and find the pressure that works for how you paint, for fine work there is no other airbrush for me. I do have 3 other airbrushes for other ranges of work including an air gun. I also have an Iwata Micron for detail but I truly prefer the turbo. It feels like I can truly paint and not just spray paint with this airbrush. It's just my voice.

  • Constantine do you have someplace on the web of your airbrush work? I'd love to see it.
  • tjs said:

    Constantine do you have someplace on the web of your airbrush work? I'd love to see it.

    Thanks for your interest in my painting. Sadly I don't have a wepage set up with my work. Once I get time I will post some of my work up here. I'm not just talking big, I really do have paintings I've done by airbrush! It is just that I set it aside for so many years that I am building back up again any body of work. My daughter takes up a lot of my time and energy along with earning a living and maintaining a house. I chat on this site to keep myself motivated and to share my discoveries. Since I've logged in here, I've reset up my modest painting area and as noted above, I'm beginning the infamous expeiments in oil. Step by step...I iwll make photographing my work a priorirty for people here. Seems only fair.

  • VangieVangie -
    edited August 2014
    Some years ago, I bought some Daniel Smith Water Soluble Oil Colors and a couple of bottles of Daniel Smith Water Soluble Linseed Oil (2oz each). I used them when I painted a small still life with 2 apples on an 11" x 14" canvas panel (this was when we had a DMP "complementary colors" challenge). I mixed my colors first to a buttery consistency (a la DMP). But what I found out was that I ended up using a lot (I mean, a real lot) of the ws linseed oil because my paint was drying too fast, so I kept adding ws linseed oil to the paint. Then it seemed to take forever for the whole painting to dry because it had too much linseed oil.

    Maybe it's just my inexperience with ws oils, as well as being used to Mark's paint consistency, and maybe the panel that I used was inferior that it was just absorbing too much of the paint/oil. I haven't used them again, and I don't think I'd really ever want to for quite some time, if ever.

    For what it's worth, I've attached an image of my painting... not a good quality image because it was taken in a poorly lit passageway to avoid the glare from my studio window.

    @dencal Denis, if you'd like to try them out, I could send you some by mail ... let me know.
  • Vangie

    Thanks for your generous offer. But no, I have a full set of W&N ws oils and haven't found any reason to criticize them as they mix well with any medium (I don't use water). They are so much more affordable than the artist's oils.

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