View Full Version : water based oil paints

08-28-2001, 08:11 PM
While I was on holiday in Ireland recently,my friend bought some of the above mentioned paints and seemed quite pleased with them,you don't need any thinners just water I wondered if anybody had any experience with them. Sorry to barge in,I'm usually in the watercolour critique Alan

09-01-2001, 09:52 PM
Hi Alan
I have been using them for over a year now and love them.
Had to give up oil painting because of allergies to turps so I was eager to try them out.
I have a seascape in Rods reflection Art project that was done with them.


I have also ordered a book from North Light book club on Water Missable Oils and will let you know how I like it.
It will be awhile as I only posted the order yesterday, and our post is very slow :)

09-06-2001, 01:10 AM
I first discovered the water miscible oils when watching Jerry Yarnell art shows on TV. He really went into detail about them. His book is not as "pretty" as some art books, but I think he is an exceptional teacher. (He actually is a teacher.) I've used them once, and will again, but I have been hung up on learning watercolor for awhile. I began in oils years ago, and now am allergic to turps or something to do with regular oils. ( I miss oils, too.) The Max oils were the only ones out when I bought mine, but now there are other brands. The thing Jerry Yarnell stressed was not to use a lot of water, and to mix it into the paint very well. He has a web site, and tapes, too.

09-06-2001, 03:47 AM
Thank you Jenrou,sorry to hear about your allergy,I was there when my friend bought them,I cautioned her,but she bought them anyway and I've since heard,she's bought more,so she seems to find them ok,I'm a coward I never tried them Alan

09-06-2001, 11:47 AM
Alan, the water miscible oils probably won't bother many people, re allergies, since you aren't using turps or mediums. I'm allergic to anything (just am sensitive to nearly all chemicals), so although I can use the water miscibles, I still need to put them outside the living area until they dry. (Acrylics too sometimes) Maybe an oil or something in it. They don't bother me badly enough to give them up. :D

09-14-2001, 10:43 PM

Are these > miscible oils more like acrylics then? Do they have the look/feel of real oil paint?


09-15-2001, 04:15 AM
They feel exactly like real oil paints ,you can even thin them down like watercolours,but don't use too much water,they still take a few days to dry though,and I wonder if you can use them with the normal oils,it doesn't say you can't on the tube,I suppose I'll need to try them Alan

09-15-2001, 04:15 AM
They feel exactly like real oil paints ,you can even thin them down like watercolours,but don't use too much water,they still take a few days to dry though,and I wonder if you can use them with the normal oils,it doesn't say you can't on the tube,I suppose I'll need to try them Alan

09-15-2001, 09:19 AM

thanks for getting back - just saw your painting at '911'.

I like what it communicates ... cleansing. There are so many destructive images - this was a quite a refresher :)

Alexandre Carlos
09-25-2001, 08:05 AM
I already have some experience with TALENS water-soluble oils (itís the only brand available in Portugal), you can find in there web site www.talens.com many answers (see the FAQ).
My personal experience (less than an year, and 2 paintings with this medium) tells me, that they are almost equal to traditional oils. The main difference itís they arenít water base, but water-soluble. Some of lessons I learned are:
- Join water in a step-by-step way and in little quantity to the oil, and mix very well, until you have the desired consistency
- Use the Water-soluble oil medium if you wont to do great dilutions. Attention: This medium is FAT, and the Fat over Linen rule still applies
- When watered the color changes a little (less than acrylics), and the drying time is shortened for an overnight or a day (depends the pigment)
- This oil colours are much more brilliant (especially with the Water-soluble oil medium), then the traditional (I usually use Likin with them)
- I have one painting where I started using acrylics; them switched to water-soluble oils and ended with traditional oils. I tried and worked it out to: mix acrylics with water-soluble oils and water-soluble oils with traditional oils.

So fare I canít remember anything more

See you :p

09-25-2001, 10:00 AM
Thank you all for your replies I've been a bit busy recently and haven't done as much as I should have,but I've got one oe two things on the go right now so I'll let you know how I get on Alan

10-05-2001, 10:19 AM

came across this related article in the current online Artists Magazine.

Tips and Updates from The ArtistsMagazine.com


Several months ago we asked for your input about
water-miscible oils (oil paints that clean up with water rather
than solvents). Several of you sent questions you had while
others wrote in on what worked for them. We compiled the
e-mails and came up with a question-and-answer sidebar for
the special section in our November 2001 issue. Here are
some of the questions and answers you'll find in that issue.

Q. How is it possible that oil paint can be mixed with
water? Is there water in it? How does it differ from

A. There are different ways to make oil and water compatible, but all rely on altering or replacing the linseed oil used in traditional oil paints. Water-miscible oils don't contain water, and they're very different from acrylics. Acrylic paints are basically composed of a liquid synthetic plastic and water (as opposed to pigment and oil). Acrylics also dry rapidly as their water content evaporates, while water-miscible oils, like traditional oils, dry much more slowly through the process of polymerization.

Q. Can I mix these paints with traditional oils, or with traditional oil mediums?

A. Yes, you can. But the more traditional oil or solvent you add, the more the paint's water-miscibility diminishes.

Q. Are these paints as stable as regular oils?

A. There's no reason to believe that water-miscible oil paints are any less stable or durable than conventional oils, as long as you follow traditional rules of oil painting (such as fat-over-lean, or painting slower-drying layers on top of quicker-drying ones). Remember, though, that most experience concerning the permanence of water-miscible oils is based on evaluation
tests in which circumstances were accelerated. These paints simply haven't been around long enough (as regular oils have) to offer solid proof that they stand the test of time.

Q. Are water-miscible oils affected by extremes of temperature or
climate differences?

A. Just like conventional oils, you'll want to avoid extremes in climate and temperature conditions. Extreme temperatures press the boundaries of any paint-so far, water-miscible oils have shown no particular sensitivity to extreme temperatures.

For more on water-miscible oils, see Opposites Attract in our November 2001 issue.

Still don't know what FAT is though!? But working on finding out on my next visit to art supply store :rolleyes:

BTW Alexandre I definately getting Talens! Thanks for the link!

10-05-2001, 07:20 PM
Brilliant thanks for that article Alan

12-02-2001, 03:41 PM
Alan, great thread. I use to do oils before watercolours, but like one other person mentioned the turpentine and oil really tore my hands up. So I switched to watercolours.

Alan, Thanks Again,

12-02-2001, 08:11 PM
Originally posted by boiscanot

Still don't know what FAT is though!? But working on finding out on my next visit to art supply store :rolleyes:

fat is referring to the oil in oil paint (still applies even to water-miscible oils). the 'fat over lean' rule is that early or foundation layers of any painting should use less oil (and more solvent or resin) and succeeding layers can be progressively 'fatter' or oilier. this practice ensures that the foundation layers dry more quickly than the outer layers, preventing cracks or instability of the paint film. with a lean layer over a fattier one, the outer layer would dry more quickly than the one under it. the dry outer layer would be brittle and the one underneath it would still be wet and flexible. hence the cracking. i'm probably not explaining this right. maybe someone else can elucidate?

12-02-2001, 08:24 PM
Booked marked your site as well!!! :clap:

12-02-2001, 08:28 PM
Sarkana, You explained that very well.

Alan, Every painting of mine since I started with oils has been painted with Grumbacher Max. I have tried expensive traditional oils and still come back to Max. It handles beautifully and the colors are great.

I use very little water and almost never add linseed oil till the very end. I do a lot of glazing so as long as the underpainting is oil free, I figure I am safe.

The reason that water misable oils seem like real oils is that they are! If anyone doubts this, call up George Stegmeyer, the Grumbacher chemist ( and yes, I understand they pay him for this) and listen to his long explanation of how they molecularly separate the parts that mix only with oil. He sent me sheets of chemical information about them.

I bought a batch of Danacolors, tried them and sold most of them, although others swear by them. To each his own and whatever works, I say. Max works for me.........and it's soap, water, rinse and presto, it's clean brushes! Then a dip in the vegetable oil to keep the bristles soft and I am ready for my next session. No more smelly paint thinner.


12-05-2001, 11:34 PM

I'm using MAX water-miscible oils by Grumbacher. What I find different about them is the drying time seems faster. I have used both traditional oil and now MAX, and I like them both.
I have a painting in progress in the Still Life Forum if you would like to see the color.
Clean-up is easier and faster with water-miscible oils, and you don't have the odor of turps wafeing threw the studio. Another nice thing is that you can paint with your acrylic, pastel and watercolor friends without driving them out of the studio/workshop.


12-12-2001, 11:06 PM
I've used these paints for a half dozen or so paintings and like them. Here's what I do (and what works):

1. I underpaint either with acrylics or thinned water-soluble oils (using only a drop or two of water). Too much water and the oil colors won't bind anymore and you have a mess. With just a touch of water and spread thin the oils will dry in just a couple hours.

2. Then I paint right from the tube paint. I have the 4 mediums specially made by Winsor Newton for these paints and can't quite see the differences/advantages of them. But then I rather like the feel of the straight tube paint in regualr oils too. These dry about the same as regular oils.

My question:

I want to glaze in sunlight from a field into my picture. My attempt at this ended in a too-thick, too-yellow globby mess that I had to scrap off (in panic) the next morning when it ran and/or pooled. Any suggestions? Glazing is new to me (obviously!!)


12-12-2001, 11:44 PM
Sparky, if you're willing, post the picture in its own thread and I'm sure you'll get folks helping if they can.

I prefer the Windsor Newton water solubles to the Max, they seem to be better pigmented. They both have a more honey like or snot like texture to me than traditional oils. Depending on your plans, this may or may not concern you.

They are a great medium particularly if you are trying to keep away from the thinners for whatever reason. I find you have to watch it thinning with either water or medium including the prepared linseed for water solubles (which I use for the fat) because the pigment is already thin so your color saturation at that level suffers.

As far as mixing with traditional oil, I understand you can go up to a 3rd traditional oil in your mix and still keep their miscibility. I personally haven't messed with that much.

Dry times are listed on the site of the manufacturers as far as I have found. Most seem to be within 3 days to 2 weeks (for the initial sealing skin) though I'm sure variables come into play.

12-13-2001, 07:03 AM
If you check out my "Religious Painting-Help" thread it shows a verdaccio which is totally glazed with water based paints. I only use Grumbacher Max as I feel Winsor Newton has resistance and doesn't have the "flow" out of the tube that I prefer in Max.

There's no escaping chemicals if you want to glaze correctly. I mix damar medium with stand oil ( both Grumbacher) with turpenoid ( no smell) and add the pigment. The mix should flow like lite syrup. If not add more turpenioid. I like my glazes to be pigment rich. Always use a test canvas. With the verdaccio, I placed some of the verdaccio paint on the test canvas and let it dry so I could see what the glaze would look like before applying it to the painting. Be SURE that your paint under the glaze is dry!! Move the glaze fairly quickly over the undercoat with the brush and then leave it alone to dry for a couple of days. Reworking a partially dry glaze is a prescription for trouble.

Btw, spot trouble in the glazes can be repaired by glazing over the spot carefully with the paint mixed with water ( it works even over the glaze recipe). You will still need the mediums mentioned above though in order to give the painting that "Glazed" look.


12-13-2001, 06:15 PM
Just want to express an opinion for anyone new to oils...TRY OILS FIRST!!!! there seems to be dozens of picky reasons why one should use watercolors, acrylics, Maxmisables...whatever..I just want to say TRY OILS FIRST. you just may find Nirvana...:evil: :angel: :D :cool: :p ;)

12-15-2001, 08:02 AM
Mario, While I cannot argue with you about the excellence of traditonal oils and would be using them if it were not for health concerns and the cleanup. I worked as a sign painter for 15 years and I will not work with solvents again. The only exception is glazes which I use and clean up outside the studio.

I cannot stand the fumes of solvents and fear their toxicity. Below is Grumbachers promo, which convinced me of their value. I have studied under a few excellent instructors and no-one noticed any difference in appearance or structure of my Max paints. Plus, my paintings that are over ten years old are still holding up and looking great. Grumbacher has always been a respected name in the art industry and I am satisfied with them.


MAX GRUMBACHERģ Artists' Oil Colors
represent six years of research, a new patent and
500 years of art history. That's what it took to
develop the first fine qualify oil paint that cleans
up with soap and water. This means you no
longer need harsh, toxic solvents to clean your
brushes, greatly simplified oil painting. It also
means that MAX is gentle to artists as well as
the environment.
MAX's Formula is based on a patented scientific breakthrough that slightly alters the molecular structure of oil paint. This
makes it easy to clean with soap and water, without changing any of the other characteristics of fine quality oils. MAX has
the same buttery feel, drying time and traditional appearance as conventional oil paints. It comes in 60 vibrant colors made
from authentic artist' pigments...and they're non-toxic. You can even mix Max with your favorite
mediums to glaze speed drying, and improve flow, yet still wash up with simple soap and water.

Who uses MAX GRUMBACHER? Artists who prefer the convenience, economy, and lowered
environmental impact of using water instead of solvents. Artists who are allergic to turpentine or
other aromatic solvents, and those who are alert to the possible long-term health effects of
exposure to solvents. Teachers and students who are barred from using solvents in the classroom.

Representing the first true innovation in oil colors since their inception, MAX offers all the beauty,
adaptability and durability of conventional oil color with the convenience, safety and simplicity of
thinning with water. Simply stated, MAX is the traditional oil color for the 21st century.

60 colors, 1.25 fluid ounce (37 ml) tubes.Titanium White also available in 5.07 fluid ounce (150 ml)
tubes. Made in the U.S.A. U.S. Patent 5,312,482.

12-15-2001, 10:27 AM
Zotma - Thanks, think I will post my wish-it-were-plazed painting for pointers.

Impressionist2 - Thanks. Now I realize you already answered my question - that you feel glazes can only be done properly with "regular" oil mediums even if you do use water soluble paints with them. This doesn't help me, though, as I can't handle the turp fumes at all. So...

Has anyone else used water soluble mediums to achieve glazes with satisfactory results?:confused: