View Full Version : winsor & newton artisan paints

06-23-2001, 05:22 AM
I am very new to wet canvas and I have noticed a few comments about water mixable oil paints. It appears that there is a very strong dislike for them. I am currently setting up a new studio and I unfortunately cannot use the same solvents that I have been accustomed to in the past. I am considering the use of the Winsor & Newton Artisan water mixable oil paints due to the restrictions I have with traditional solvents. Has anyone used this line of paints to provide first hand knowledge of their quality or lack there of? I would like to have some feed back if anyone has used this line of paints. Mark.

06-23-2001, 06:22 AM
Mark, I use Winsor & Newton Artisan and Grumbacher MAX (also water-soluble). Here's what I've noticed:

-Artisan is inexpensive. But they seem to have somewhat of a gluey consistency. And they seem to not be very heavily pigmented. But generally, most tubes I've tired seem to have similar consistency...generally a little thicker than MAX
oils. But I find Artisan oils often have a slight fishy smell (literally) to them.

-MAX is more expensive. They definitely have a less glue-like, more buttery, consistency. And they definitely look more heavily pigmented (somewhat deeper, stronger colors). But the thing I don't like about MAX is that they are usually oilier and thinner than Artisan. Also, I've found quite a difference in consistency of MAX oils...For example,my MAX raw umber is very thick, my old titanium white was medium, my new one is thinner and oilier. My dioxazine purple is thin and oily. Most other MAX colors of mine are somewhat oily.

One more big difference: I took one brush loaded with Artisan paints, and held it under running water. Did the same with a brush loaded with MAX
paints. With Artisan, only a small amount of paint
flowed off by itself. With MAX, much more flowed off by itself. MAX seems more water-soluble. Try this for yourself, I think you'll agree. But you still need soap to get all the paint out of the brushes...with both brands.

Overall, MAX seems to be the higher quality of the two. Try both, see which you like better. I use both about equally. Generally, I use Artisan for the underpainting, where I need thicker colors. For the overpainting and highlights, I usually use MAX. But the selection of colors in either is small compared to most other regular oils.

I'm now starting to experiment with regular oils.
I find that, with regular soap (I use Ivory), the brushes clean almost as easily as Artisan or MAX.

Anyways, try them both, see which you like better.


06-23-2001, 07:03 AM

The use of Water Soluble Oils ,

is to get the smell or evaporated solvent out of your studio .

It is not about washing up at the end of a working day.

While you work in your studio , the solvent evaporates
and replaces the air you breathe . Without air , you
begin to get headaches and this can get worse.

I use Artisan , they are very good.
Remember to use water to thin your paints only in the
early coats.

Afterwards use them straight from the tube and brush
pressure to keep the paint thin.

In the final coats , you can use a little medium - I use
1/3 Normal Walnut and 2/3 Artisan Stand Oil.
This is a fluid medium , and low yellowing .
Use sparingly.

The stand oil is to strengthen the coat , the walnut
oil gives the fluid quality.

Washing up while painting is easy with water. If the
brush does not appear clean enough , just use another
brush. I have never had this problem with Artisan.

New book out on Water Soluble Oils by Sean Dye.
See Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Good Luck ,

06-23-2001, 12:36 PM
I am not using the kind of paints that you are talking about, but mine are water soluble. I ahve notice they are a little gluy and that is the one reason i don't like them. Is Grumbacher MAX the best brand for water soluble oil paints. I would like to buy some but I would like to get the best brand. thankz

06-24-2001, 10:29 PM
Hey miss crazi4art:
I'm using Max and now mostly Holbein Duo and have been satisfied with both. But...after reading other posts I think I'll start using regualr oils to see the difference...talk to you soon.

Triple B
08-17-2003, 03:40 PM
As someone who's exclusively used water colors in the past and am new to oils (and these boards, I might add), I find Artisan to be a good product. Could it be brand loyalty because I use W & N Artists watercolors exclusively? Maybe.

I haven't tried any of the others and may do so in the future, but Artisan is what I'm using now. People have different preferences in what they prefer - go buy three primarys and an earth color and try them for yourself. You can always experiment and switch later if you wish.

Also, I also recommend that book that 'Titanium' recommended: "Painting with Water-Soluble Oils" by Sean Dye. Great book. :)

Matt Sammekull
08-17-2003, 04:23 PM
This one goes to W&N's site, and the index for Artisan:



1) Creative Encylopedia
2) Product Information
3) Oil colour
4) Range Information
5) Artisan


08-17-2003, 06:26 PM
I've got Artisan paints, and I don't mind them too much. Some colors get sticky and stringy when you add water. It really seems to bring out the natural stickiness of ultramarine blue, for example. So be sparing with the water...

The only other thing I can really comment on is colored pigment load. As a baseline, I made my own Cadmium Yellow Light paint using pigment and W&N water emulsifiable linseed oil. I then proceeded to dilute it with water. I did the same with a tube of W&N of the same color.

The differences were noticable. First, I could dilute my hand made paint way down and it will looked the exact same color - it never faded. The W&N paint really lost tinting strength. The W&N paint was also way more transparent (due to fillers, most likely).

Second, the W&N paint, for some really odd reason, went clumpy and didn't want to dilute evenly. Mine, on the other hand, went down to thinner than cooking oil and still diluted perfectly (picture of a side by side comparison available if you're interested). I was pretty surprised that mine worked better. I would like to do more tests to make sure of this.

I also mixed the paints to get secondaries. The secondaries I created with my home made paints were bright and rich. The secondaries from the Artisan paints were duller in comparison.

Frankly, I'd like them more if they contained a lot less filler. I would consider them a decent student paint, which is in line with their cost.

Hope this helps.

08-17-2003, 08:45 PM
I would like to point out that Holbein DUO paint it the best water-soluable paint out there. They have a great selection of colors and the colors are professional as expected. They are more expensive as well but that is up to you to pay a bit more and have a great quality product or not.

I hope this can help you.

08-18-2003, 05:46 AM
Lukas berlin series and edvard munch by Norart are the two water mixables that I use. The munch series is excellent but difficult to get a hold of. I have painted whole paintings with these materials but now prefer them as underpainting material as i find traditional oils handle better for fine manipulations.

08-18-2003, 07:38 AM
I have never tried the water mixable oils; however, I have a friend who has tried all of the brands mentioned, as well as other brands. He by far prefers the Van Gogh brand. Since nobody has commented on those, I thought I'd give them a mention.


08-18-2003, 01:28 PM
welcome to WC and the oil forum montellanero & Triple B...

It's really a personal choice...I prefer the Max brand using no water w/the paint...only the quick dry medium by Grumbacher also...have fun & try them for yourself!

Triple B
08-21-2003, 07:46 AM
Originally posted by artbabe21
welcome to WC and the oil forum montellanero & Triple B...

It's really a personal choice...I prefer the Max brand using no water w/the paint...only the quick dry medium by Grumbacher also...have fun & try them for yourself!

Thanks for the welcome! :)

I agree - I don't use any water either. I paint straight from the tube or a little medium - I use Grumbacher QuickDry Alkyd medium. I'll have to give their paint a shot as well.