Hey Everyone!

Recently I've switched from using oil paint to water mixable oil paint. Also known as water soluble paint. I really have fallen in love with this medium.  It is greener than regular oil paint and cleans up easily.  I find it is a lot like working with acrylics.

I must admit that the first time I tried water mixable paint, I didn't like them.  Most of the colors came out thick and a bit sticky.  Also, I did not buy the mediums to go with them.  I tried using a small amount of water for better flow but this only made the paint look dull and flat.

I really love the feel of oil paints so I gave up on the water solubles and went back to using my regular oils. After awhile, I again grew tired of all of the clean up involved.  I don't have a studio to work in so I must  clean up after every painting session.  I also have oil paint on most of my clothes now.

I figured I'd give the water mixables another go.  This time I bought water mixable linseed oil  and a drying medium as well.  It made a huge difference in the feel and flow of the paint.  I also read and watched videos on how to properly use them. 

I found that the oil in water mixable paint is altered to be broken down with water.  Just like cooking oil can be washed with soap and water.  Also, the water evaporates when the painting dries so that you are left with just paint and oil on canvas.  This is why their is no distinction between oil and water mixable oil paintings when sold or exhibited. 

Here is a WIP I'm working on with water soluble paints.  

I love that I can clean my brushes with water for color changes and with soap and water at the end of my painting session.

It's much better than working with all of that toxic turpentine.  The paint doesn't have much smell, only from the linseed oil; which isn't very strong.

Now my family and I, along with our pets, can breathe freely.

I highly recommend water mixable paint if you are staying away from oils due to the fumes, toxicity and messiness.  Give them a try or revisit them you may like them!

For more information you can visit my blog  Harvest Moon

Happy Painting!


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Sylvia, Yes oils are easier to blend becuase they stay wet longer.  :) I'm going to use regular oils becuase I need the paint to stay wet and workable for at least a week.

Marge, I tried using a little water and it didnt look or feel like real oil paint. I used the aqua oil..it worked better for me...but if you let the paint dry overnight and then go to blend and rework on it....mine at least was geting small bumps rolling around on it. I will use these paints for a under painting, with a lot of water...I will first practice on a cheap canvas. After it is dry I will use regular oils on top.

sounds like a plan...good luck :)

Catherine Marie Chiara Duran said:

Marge, I tried using a little water and it didnt look or feel like real oil paint. I used the aqua oil..it worked better for me...but if you let the paint dry overnight and then go to blend and rework on it....mine at least was geting small bumps rolling around on it. I will use these paints for a under painting, with a lot of water...I will first practice on a cheap canvas. After it is dry I will use regular oils on top.

Glad you liked it.

Jim Kruse said:

thanks for the info!

I am waiting for my first set -Windsor and Newton Artisan (got off Ebay) to arrive in mail this week! Can't wait-Ive got brand new supply of The Masters brush soap/cleaner - and am so excited to paint with oils and not have to deal with the Mess!! (have almost 3 yr old!) are Artisan any good? I dont think my set comes with linseed oil or medium- i need both ?

I'm so happy for you!  When my kids were little I stopped painting in oils because of the toxic fumes.  I switched to watercolor which is good but I'm not as good with it.  I happen to love Artisan.  Some people have trouble with them because they are more like using acrylic.  They don't dry as fast as acrylic but do dry pretty well, usually within a day or two are tacky.  Within a week or two are fully dry. You don't need both linseed and medium.  Just one will do.  I also like to have fast drying medium to use when I want to get the paint dry for a sale.

Be patient with them they take a bit of getting used to.  A little thicker out of the tube, and drier.  As you can see in previous replies one person  had a hard time with little balls of paint forming on the canvas.   That happens when you try to paint on tacky paint with new paint and don't make it wet enough with the medium.  That means the paint is thick in areas and has already started to dry.  I usually wet my brush with medium and go over the paint already laid down.  Just a thin layer to re-wet the canvas.  Don't use water as a thinner, it dulls the paint.  Soap and water for washing brushes, Water just to clean in between.  Play around and see what works for you.  I know a lot of painters who use this paint and love them.  

Michael's, AC Moore and Blick Paint stores sell the medium, drying medium and the paints.  I don't know if you have these stores where you live.

Have fun!  Happy Painting!

Good news is that if you don't like Water Mixable paint you can add them in small amounts to regular oil paint.  That way you don't have to waste all of that money on buying them.

They do dry quickly.  If you enjoy or need your painting to stay wet for long periods oil is the way to go.  I have children and a small painting space so Water Mixable Paint  is for me.  Even though there are odorless turps and cleaners they are toxic and expensive.  I do like pink soap and I don't believe it's toxic but you need alot of it to wash out oil paint. It's pretty expensive as well.

I've learned that since the Water mixable paint is thicker than oil, I use the Water mixable linseed oil and mediums to mix with and make them more pliable to work with.  Pilling does happen.  When a painting is almost dry, it gets thick and tacky and a piece may roll off and mix with your new paint. If my painting feels dry, I lightly brush over the canvas with the Water mixable linseed oil.  With a palette knife i gently scrape away dust, brush hairs or lumps that may have appeared overnight.  This works for me. I also make sure I have very wet paint to work with.  If I want it to dry faster, I add a drying agent.   

Water mixable oil paint can mix with regular oil paint because the paint pigment is the same.  One is mixed with regular oil that can't be washed easily with water. Water mixable paint uses the same paint pigment but has an oil that has been altered to break down with soap and water (just like cooking oil)  When the oils on both types of paint evaporate, they are still considered oil paint because they are made from the exact paint pigments.

These paints do take practice to work with, but use what you prefer.

Hope this helps.

I didnt see where to post a question so I hope its ok to ask it here. I need to know what type of varnish to use on a waterbased oil painting. All I an find is acrylic varnish.

Denise Mulligan said:

Hi Destry,

Thanks for your comment.  The paint I use is Winsor Newton Water Mixable Paint.  There are other brands but this brand is what I can easily find in my area.  I've heard that Van Gogh and Holbein are good brands.  Drying time is shorter than regular oil paint.  I find it dries overnight or within two days.

This is an old discussion but I will add my two cents. I just started working with these oils. Never used traditional but have lots of watercolor- acrylic background. I use Holbein duo. Just bought one tube of Winston water oils and hate it. It's clumpy. The Holbeins come out nice and creamy. I mix with linseed. Love the results. I use lots of the oil I like the transparent look. So it takes 3-4 days to dry. I will be trying a quicker drying medium though. Cleans real nice with warm water and soap.

I know this is late; sorry.  No you can not paint with Winsor and Newton brand that way.  You have to follow the same rules as with oil paints.  However, Archival Oils from Chroma can be used that way and they are water mixable as well.
Catherine Marie Chiara Duran said:

This seems strange to me...you can mix them with acrylics? Pandalana...can you paint thin layers over thick of these oils without worry they will crack? I use the linseed oil medium for these paints for thining.

Hi Denise !

I am glad that you found the water soluble linseed oil. I have been using water solubles for the last 8 years. I use Winsor Newton also. I also use a varnish on the finished piece to brighten it up. Took me a very long time to adapt because I did not like the rubbery texture when I mixed it with water but with patience I have grown to like it.


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