Friday, August 14, 2009

Water-Soluble Oils

How can oil color be water-soluble? Can it truly be oil color? I thought oil and water do not mix. Is this a misnomer?

Water-soluble oils are the best of both worlds, combining the flexibility of oil painting with the easy cleanup and safety of acrylics. This option for artists has revolutionized the way people are thinking about painting.

All oil paints are made by finely grinding pigment into vegetable drying oils. Oil paint has been popular for centuries for a number of reasons:

* Oil in the paint allows the paint to spread easily.
* Oil can dry to a thin durable film for detailed work.
* Oil provides excellent adhesion for the pigment.
* Oil adds transparency to many pigments.
* Oil provides body to retain brush or knife strokes.
* Oil adds depth to the pigment not possible in its dry state.

The new oils are no exception to these benefits. The difference is that the oil vehicle has been modified to make it soluble in water, eliminating the need for harsh or dangerous solvents used to thin the paint and clean brushes and palettes.

There are four major manufacturers currently marketing the new oils in the United States. Each of them has developed their own formulas and methods of making the paint, which is mixable with water. Grumbacher: Max Artists' Oil Colors; HK Holbein: Duo Aqua Oil; Winsor & Newton: Artisan Water Mixable Oil Color; Royal Talens: Van Gogh H2Oil. Each brand of paint has its own consistency and the mediums offered by one company are completely compatible with paints from another.

I have recently been painting with Winsor & Newton's brand. Having fun!

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