Monday, February 11, 2013

Painting with Water Soluble Oil Paints

I have been painting in oils over the last 5-6 years after a long, long break. While I lived in Heidelberg a few years ago, I had been working mostly in pastels. I love pastels, but don't really like the dust, the having to get everything framed and dealing with glass. Pastels taught me a lot about layering colors, and scumbling and thinking about texture. I learned quite a bit about color while working in pastels because you can't really mix the color you want as you do in mixing paint. You have to layer the colors sometimes to get the exact color you want if you don't have 4000 pastels available to choose from. I do like the portability of pastels and the ease of sliding through the airport without causing an uproar over what is in my carry on bag.

But there's just something about the BRUSH.
The mixing of the paint, the way that the paint flows and how it can be just about anything you want, is just so alluring. Also, I learned very quickly that in art shows, generally speaking, oils are king and most buyers for whatever reason, simply prefer oils. So, when I decided to return to painting and planned on  purchasing all of the materials that I would need, I decided to try the fairly new water soluble paints. I need to make this very clear...these paints are NOT acrylics, although many artists that I know continue to think that they are....

Just as you can go into a paint store and purchase oil house paint that can clean up with either turpenoids or soap and water, you can choose your paints the same way. Water soluble paints clean up with soap and water, and turpentine or turpenoids are not used. Water is used the same way one would use turpentine or thinners in traditional oils. You thin the paint with water, you clean with water, and you still use all of the various mediums available to increase flow or transparency, but they have to be those that are created specifically for water soluble paints. I use a great deal of linseed oil when I paint and adhere to the "fat over lean" principle.  The linseed oil   for these paints is made specifically for these paints. I have also used safflower oil and drying mediums and stand oil as well; all designed to be used for water soluble paints.

I never cared for the turpenoid smell or having to worry about flammability, storing used rags and the pain of cleanup with traditional oils. This is huge for me and surely one of the biggest benefits of using these oils. Painting out of doors and transporting your stuff is great because you don't have to worry about the turpentine issue again-just a little water will do just fine. These paints also dry in about the same time that traditional oils do, depending upon how much medium you use. They require a 6 month wait prior to varnishing just as traditional oils do.

My favorite brand is LUKAS Berlin line of paints because of it's buttery consistency and miscibility. Lukas also seems to stay moist and ready to go down to the last squirt of paint, whereas I have found other paints to harden up a bit toward the end. Whether you choose another brand or not, you will find that the selection of colors to be a bit more limited than those offered by traditional oils. This doesn't bother me a bit, I just mix what I want from the selection of paints that I have.

I can say that sometimes the cad reds seem to lose a bit of their luster once they are dry. But this problem is solved when I varnish the painting once dry.

I could write pages, but I don't want to write volumes and bore everyone to death. I am happy to answer any questions about these oils. Just email me and I promise to write back...

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