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View Full Version : What mediums are you using with your Water Soluble Oils?


brushstrokebliss
08-08-2009, 03:55 PM
In an attempt to break away from a Technical sticky, folks expressed an interest in threading new subjects. This way specific information will be easier to find. So I am starting some threads for discussion. There may be overlap from the Technical sticky (at least until the original sticky is changed) in these new threads but at least the subject can be more easily accessed.

I use Holbein Duo, Grumbacher Max and W/N Artisan (although very sparingly). Although I do cross brands on my palette and I can mix the paints themselves okay, it has been said that crossing brands of mediums is a dicey proposition. Mostly, my paintings have been done straight paint with nothing added. I would like to work wet on wet too so now I'm stuck. On rare occasions, I may experiment with a drop of water for detailed items that require thinning. That has garnered me limited success

Wondering what mediums you all use, for what purpose (thinning, glazing, wet on wet, etc.), the brand, and whether they can be used with other W/S brands.

I know some of you also have experience with walnut oil. That is not a W/S medium so please explain in detail how you use it and whether it allows the paint to remain W/S. Again, this may have been discussed in the sticky but it might help to have it here as well.

Thanks in advance, Bliss

mawdwyn
08-08-2009, 04:12 PM
I mainly paint w/ Artisans, but I've got some Lukas, Van Gogh, Holbeins (and one tube of Max). I've used the Artisan safflower oil, preferred it to linseed oil, but since I like my paint to "dry" quicker I seldom use these. I never had any luck with the Artisan quick-dry. Whether bought online or at a local shop, every bottle I have is either like a glob of tar or completely separated - either way, it's unusable. I do like the Artisan thinner very much. My favorite medium is Graham's Walnut Alkyd. I usually start a painting with the thinner, then mix the thinner and walnut alkyd as the painting progresses, final layers or touching up are with just the walnut alkyd.

Callie

dbclemons
08-08-2009, 04:31 PM
I've always been of the mind that less is more, so I tend to rarely use any additves in my paint. When I do, it's in small doses.

Until recently, W&N Artisan had the most variety of water-miscible mediums to choose from. Their stand oil works well. I've had bad experiences with the Fast Drying Medium which gummed up inside the bottle and had to be tossed. I've seen new bottles of this on shelves at art stores in the same condition.

Holbein has recently introduced more mediums to their DUO line that I have not tried out yet. I'm a bit confused by some of the duplicates also, like why are there 2 versions of "painting medium" and "quick drying medium?" They also now have a stand oil too. I have their linseed oil and it works fine.

Grumbacher Max has a linseed oil and Quick Dry medium available, and I believe all the others only offer a linseed oil medium. I haven't tried any of those.

As an aside, I often mix other water and oil emulsifiers with these paints, such as egg, casein, or methyl-cellulose. I've been thinking about posting a separate thread on that so stay tuned for more later. (tease... :evil: )

dbclemons
08-08-2009, 04:40 PM
Something else I thought to mention, "regular" oils have a range of mediums available that can get rather ...exotic (for lack of a better word.) There are things like maroger and various resin and wax combinations, all of which add different handling characteristics to the paint. I've been very hesitant to try any of these with the water-miscble oils, definitely if there's any water added, since I'm not sure what might happen. If there's no water present that might be fine, but I'm not certain of that.

brushstrokebliss
08-08-2009, 06:23 PM
I am duly teased David, That would be a good thread to add.

Does the W/N thinner work with your Max and Holbein Duo paints?

I took a class with a Traditional oil artist who restores painting for museums. He is big on using Cold Wax instead of oil mediums as he says they crack from an archival point of view. He told me the wax keeps the painting flexible. He insisted the wax had no solvent in them so I wouldn't be allergic to them. As he was not a fan of my W/S oils, he asked me to try the (Gamblin) cold wax to get my paint more spreadable. (It was after this class, I finally invested in replacing my paints with Holbein Duo.) Well I ended up needing prednisone because my hands blew up so bad. But even worse! It ruined all my nice new W/N Artisan brushes! It was a disgusting mess as they would not clean up with soap and water nor would his using turpenoid clean them up satisfactorily. So be forewarned when using wax with water. It is definitely not water soluble friendly.

karenlee
08-08-2009, 09:47 PM
I use walnut oil, MAX linseed oil, or MAX Quick Dry medium (but not all together) with MAX paints. Since I sometimes use regular oils along with the MAX, I guess I am encroaching on the water miscibility. However, I still clean everything up with soap and water. The only difference is the regular oils are more difficult to remove from the palette and brushes with soap and water; but it can be done.

dspinks
08-09-2009, 12:03 AM
I never had any luck with the Artisan quick-dry. Whether bought online or at a local shop, every bottle I have is either like a glob of tar or completely separated - either way, it's unusable.

Callie (and David), if it's been a while since you've bought the WN quick-dry, you might want to try again. I don't use it myself as my very thin layers usually dry pretty quickly, but I'd heard they've improved the formula. I looked at it at Jerry's Artarama the other day and it appears to be lighter and less viscous than the older version, and for once there were no gummed-up bottles on the shelf.

Debra

judyfilarecki
08-09-2009, 11:26 AM
I use walnut oil very satisfactorily. It is produced by M. Graham and the bottle states it is an Artist's Oil Medium. A very small amount makes the paints very creamy, even the ones that had hardened because they hadn't been used in a year or two. Using only a small amount also helps the thinner layers of paint dry reasonable quickly.

The paints also remain water miscible and wash up very easily with soap and water. I always use BJ's Master's Brush Cleaner because I like the way it cleans and preserves the brushes. I clean my brushes at the end of each session or sooner if I have finished with that brush. I think that is a good practice for keeping your brushes in top shape.

They also have walnut alkyd which mawdwin mentioned above and is different than walnut oil. I have not used that because I was cautioned by the person who told me about walnut oil, that the alkyd bothers her breathing. Since I have a breathing problem, I have heeded her advice. I stopped using regular oils because of that, so I don't want to take a chance with spoiling my tolerance to WS oils.

I have had the same results with the WN fast drying medium that you others have had, so I just threw it away and haven't used it again. The WS linseed oil always seems to keep the artisan oils sticky unless I use a lot and then it really slows down the drying, the paints are too oily and I feel like they yellow in time.

cat1lady
08-09-2009, 02:48 PM
I bought a new bottle of the Artisans Fast Dry medium, many months ago, it says "improved" on the label. It's still the same texture as when I purchased it. The old stuff gummed op right away after the first use.

couturej
08-09-2009, 04:07 PM
The medium that I use for thining and glazing with my WS oils is 1/2 water and 1/2 ws linseed oil in a contrainer that I dip my brush both to thin and glaze my paints. Works great for me. During the winter when the furnace was running I needed to go to 1/3 water and 2/3 ws linseed oil. All the mediums I use for my Holbein ws oils are Lukas Berlin and they're compatible.

Thank you Bliss for starting this thread. So many options it's great!

dspinks
08-09-2009, 05:06 PM
I bought a new bottle of the Artisans Fast Dry medium, many months ago, it says "improved" on the label. It's still the same texture as when I purchased it. The old stuff gummed op right away after the first use.

That's good to know. I'll think I'll give it a try now.

Debra

mawdwyn
08-09-2009, 11:34 PM
Maybe I'll give the WN quick-dry another chance sometime. I really like the Graham's walnut alkyd, though. I think it's just a bit slower to dry than the WN quick-dry (but still fast enough).

Callie

karenlee
08-10-2009, 09:33 AM
I have mentioned this on another thread but I will repeat it here in case it was missed: It is not advisable to use a mixture of water and linseed oil as a medium with water miscible oil paints. Water should be incorporated directly into the paint on the palette, and in very small amounts, that is, by drops. Using too much water leads to an uneven mixture composed of blobs of paint and blobs of water, the sticky mess several posters have complained of when they used WMO. M.Graham walnut oil does the job all by itself as a medium with WMO. There really is no need for water during the painting process.

dbclemons
08-10-2009, 10:01 AM
I believe that there may be a problem if we think of all these brands collectively as behaving the same way just because we're calling them all "water-miscible," since some are made differently, and as such behave differently in certain situations.

The warning karenlee mentions, if I'm not mistaken, comes from W&N for their Artisan oils, which is a modified oil. DUOs on the other hand are not a modified oil, but an emulsified one, and I have no problems using them with water as I would turpentine solvent with regular oils.

Max is also a modified oil, but I'm not sure about the other brands. If you're mixing brands or using something other than DUOS, you may want to be more careful with how you use water.

couturej
08-10-2009, 10:21 AM
The Holbein Duo Aquas do seem to be different when it come to mediums. Less touchy. That mixture that I mentioned of 1/2 water and 1/2 ws linseed oil does work with the Holbein Duo Aquas but the MAX is a whole different story. I tried this same mix with the MAX and wasn't getting the same results at all and now I know why.

I'm glad you brought it up karenlee... I should have specified that I was referring the the Holbein Duo Aquas only.:)

andres123
08-10-2009, 05:54 PM
I use WN linseed oil (water-mixable) to thin paints. I also use water to create washes, then I follow it up with coat of oil to bind it.
Learned the hard way if too much water to thin, then paint comes off after awhile, doesn't bind to canvas. Covering with coat of oil after seems to remedy this. Why do this? so I can get some different effects not possible otherwise. Also can cover a lot of ground, if too light can add in more paint.

dbclemons
08-10-2009, 06:32 PM
A couple comments I'd make to you, andres123: once again, adding oil doesn't thin paint, it fattens it. If you put a coat of oil on top of the paint, the binder's on the wrong side. Instead, add the oil to your thinned paint mixture before you apply it. The result would still be the same, but the binder would be in the correct place. Too much diluting would still be a problem eventually.

karenlee
08-10-2009, 07:39 PM
Dave,
The warning re adding water came from MAX.
Thank you for pointing out the difference between the modified oil and the emulsified WMO's. The difference in formulation would suggest that mixtures of the two different types of WMO might be an iffy propostion?
Janet,
Now you've got me wanting to try Holbein Duos, if your method works that well!
-Karen

dbclemons
08-10-2009, 08:24 PM
W&N say the same thing about Artisans and adding water: "Water should be added gradually, a small amount at a time and mixed well on the palette." This likely has to do with it being a modified oil as Max is.

I don't find any problems mixing any of the oils themselves, but how they react to water seems different. I almost never add water when I'm painting except maybe in the undertones, or if it's already in the medium I'm using. If you're thinning with water, it would probably be best to follow the advice above if you're using paints other than DUOS. Those don't seem to care as much how water is used.

It might be interesting to see how W&N Thinner product works with Max or the other brands. I believe it was Debra how said it's not friendly with DUOs.

PierceClark
08-11-2009, 06:54 AM
Hello to all,

I just found this great thread for WMO painters!!!
I am thrilled (can you tell?).

I use Holbein Duo and love them.
I have only thinned them with the Duo linseed oil and was glad to hear that Lukas Berlin is compatible. If I try this, are you referring to "regular" oil mediums made by Lukas? And, if so, what products have you tried?

I also use the new Golden OPEN acrylics and just read that these two products are compatible.
Haven't tried this out yet, but will do this today.

I have just subscribed to this forum.
Thanks so much to whoever started it!!!!!

couturej
08-11-2009, 07:08 AM
Hi Donna! Welcome to the WMO forum!

The oil mediums made by Lukas that I use with the Holbein Duo Aquas are all the water soluble mediums. So far I've tried the Lukas Berlin Linseed oil and the Medium 3 (Quick Drying Medium).

I'd love to know your results of mixing the Golden OPEN with the DUO.

Happy to have you on board! :)

PierceClark
08-11-2009, 08:17 AM
Thanks, anything is worth trying!!

I tried the Artizan WMO and was not happy with them. I love the Holbein even if they are more expensive. They just glide. The Golden OPEN acrylics glide even more, but don't have the thickness/impasto I can get with the Holbeins.

I'll try to post results soon.

Are the Lukas ws mediums less expensive than the Holbein mediums and how about the ws paints made by Lukas, or do they make them? Where do you buy your Lukas products?

Brenda Y
08-11-2009, 11:42 AM
I'm very new to oils (currently taking my first oil class), and decided to use the Van Gogh H2Oils. I'm LOVING them!! The only medium I've tried is the Van Gogh H2Oil medium for glazing. I used a very small dab and had good results. One thing I discovered on my own that has made a huge difference in how my brushes behave is I have two jars for rinsing between colors, one jar has a drop or two of dishwashing liquid mixed in the water, the second jar is clear water. I swish the brush in the soapy mix first, then swish it in the plain water, dab it on a paper towel and proceed with painting. I figured that traditional oil painters use turpenoid to clean -- ws oils will respond to soapy water!

PierceClark
08-11-2009, 12:25 PM
Well, "Newbie" you just helped this "Oldie" out!!

I am painting today with a combo of Holbein Duo and Golden OPEN acrylics. they are a perfect marriage of media!! The colors, the texture are soooo compatible, BUT, I've been TODAY, THIS MOMENT EVEN struggling with worrying about rinsing out these brushes "properly." And, you my dear Brenda, have just taken care of that worry!

Donald_Smith
08-11-2009, 12:50 PM
I've got two bottles of the WN drier and I agree it's like a thick glob. I also bought a bottle of Grumb. drier and it is dark and thin and it works well. Recently I was at a store and noticed that WN has a new bottle of the drier out and it looks just like Grum's and is thin instead of thick and nasty.

I've also used Copal (for regular oils) with good success. I've found that you have to add a medium along with the water to thin WS oils or it turns gummy. Jerry Yarnell uses Japan Drier, copal works as well, so does the Grum drier, but ya gotta use something.

I've mixed Holb, WN, Grum and VanG with out problems.

If you have a problem with mixing them, what would it be?

Don

PierceClark
08-11-2009, 01:44 PM
hmm, interesting question.

I have just mixed (or tried to mix) Holbein Duo with Artizan and it was "ok.

What I think I remember was the two got clumpy.

dspinks
08-11-2009, 01:50 PM
I would expect a problem to be that one going into the other would turn to a gummy mess. if they are mixing smoothly that would indicate to me that they are compatible.

In the case of mediums, some really are specific to the brand. WN Artisan WM oil and WM medium seems to work well with Holbein Duos, but the Artisan WN thinner, which works great with Artisan, never mixes smoothly into Duos and makes them gummy.

I don't know how across the board other brand mediums are with Artisan and/or Duo, which are the only two paints I've tried.

CMHdesign
08-11-2009, 03:22 PM
I have mentioned this on another thread but I will repeat it here in case it was missed: It is not advisable to use a mixture of water and linseed oil as a medium with water miscible oil paints. Water should be incorporated directly into the paint on the palette, and in very small amounts, that is, by drops. Using too much water leads to an uneven mixture composed of blobs of paint and blobs of water, the sticky mess several posters have complained of when they used WMO. M.Graham walnut oil does the job all by itself as a medium with WMO. There really is no need for water during the painting process.
Thank you, Karen, for mentioning this. I too mix the water with my paints on my palette FIRST, then use the linseed oil on the canvas.

Thank you EVERYONE for your input. The info here is priceless!

CMHdesign
08-11-2009, 03:31 PM
I'm very new to oils (currently taking my first oil class), and decided to use the Van Gogh H2Oils. I'm LOVING them!! The only medium I've tried is the Van Gogh H2Oil medium for glazing. I used a very small dab and had good results. One thing I discovered on my own that has made a huge difference in how my brushes behave is I have two jars for rinsing between colors, one jar has a drop or two of dishwashing liquid mixed in the water, the second jar is clear water. I swish the brush in the soapy mix first, then swish it in the plain water, dab it on a paper towel and proceed with painting. I figured that traditional oil painters use turpenoid to clean -- ws oils will respond to soapy water!
Brenda...

Thanks for the tip of using two jars. I usually have just one jar of clean water and do the soap-n-water cleanup in the end. Having a soap mixture right there only makes sense and would obviously aid in the overall cleaning process.

Thanks again!

mawdwyn
08-11-2009, 06:57 PM
Could there be a problem if there's some soap residue left in the brush? Since these paints do clean up so easily with soap and water, I'd be afraid of using "rinse water" to continue painting - as more soapy water gets rinsed out of the brush into the clean water, it seems that some soap would eventually get mixed into the paint. I wonder if this could keep the paint from adhering properly?

dspinks
08-11-2009, 07:33 PM
Before I started using the Artisan thinner, I used to use the same double-jar water/soap system as Brenda. To minimize soap introduction into the paint, I would change out the water in both jars occasionally during the session. So far, no adverse issues with any of the WMO paintings I've done over the past five years.

Debra

couturej
08-12-2009, 09:44 PM
Are the Lukas ws mediums less expensive than the Holbein mediums and how about the ws paints made by Lukas, or do they make them? Where do you buy your Lukas products?

I'm not sure if the price for the mediums are less expensive as I've never been able to find the Holbein mediums in the store where I purchased the Duo Aquas. I'll need to start ordering from DickBlick for the Holbeins as it's virtually impossible to find the full line of colors and mediums. I looked it up online and in the USA Jerry's Artarama carries them. Here's the link to their website:

http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/Oil-Color-Paints-and-Mediums/LUKAS-Oil-Colors-and-Mediums/LUKAS-Berlin-Water-Mixable-Oil-Colors.htm

The only reason I originally bought the Lukas Berlin was to fill some gaps in colors that were not available in the store where I purchased the Duo Aquas. They're compatible but the Lukas Berlin are a much thinner paint and they work well for me for initial thinner areas.

hal_s
08-13-2009, 06:19 PM
I don't get why some people are using "Walnut Oil," because that not water miscible so it would ruin the water miscible property of the paints, and there's nothing special about Walnut Oil as chemically its similar to safflower oil, and the latter is really the best oil to use if you want to avoid the problems of linseed oil.

I use the following W&N Artisan mediums: safflower oil, the quick-dry medium, and the thinner.

The quick dry medium, as you will observe, sucks compared to Liquin. I believe that the quick dry medium is an alkyd, but without mineral spirits added to an alkyd medium, they are thick and sticky. Nevertheless, the quick dry medium really does make the paints dry a lot faster so I still use it when I don't want to wait a week to paint over something.

The thinner is supposed to be better than water. Is it? I can't really say for certain. I do use this in bottom layers that I intend to paint over.

Safflower oil is my main medium. Why not linseed oil? Safflower oil is a little thinner than linseed, thus it's better for thinning down the paints and making them more spreadable. Also safflower oil is non-yellowing, and it doesn't form a skin when it dries so it doesn't present the problem of wrinkling of the paint film which might happen if you used a lot of linseed oil.

Some people think that safflower oil might lead to a weaker paint film, but since I paint on rigid panels, I don't care about that.

dbclemons
08-14-2009, 10:36 AM
...safflower oil, and the latter is really the best oil to use if you want to avoid the problems of linseed oil...

I wouldn't go that far. If anything, linseed has LESS problems than the other oils. It makes a harder oil film when it cures, and it dries more quickly. Walnut oil is closer to linseed in those characteristics than safflower.

Safflower makes a very soft and weak oil film. It is the LEAST yellowing, but all oils will discolor over time. Stand (polymerized) linseed oil is also less yellowing. The yellowing concern of any oil is overblown, and more a result of improper use than anything else.

RedTerra
08-29-2009, 08:02 PM
I use Artisan paints, with their oil painting medium (not the fast-drying one), and occasionally the thinner. I only use water for cleanup. Instead of using water to clean color off a brush while I'm still using it, I take up some linseed oil on the brush and use a paper towel to work the paint out of the bristles.

PierceClark
08-30-2009, 01:10 AM
Thanks for the link to the Lukas WMO.
Prices look great!

dspinks
08-30-2009, 04:00 PM
I use Artisan Thinner to clean my brushes during a session. After wiping off excess paint, I dip the brush in a small dish of thinner and work it out on palette paper, then wipe again on a rag or paper towel.

Debra

Saturday Painter
09-27-2009, 02:07 PM
Hmm, I have used the W&N fast dry and had no gluey problem. My bottle is at least a year old by now.

greywolf-art
09-27-2009, 03:53 PM
I don't get why some people are using "Walnut Oil," because that not water miscible so it would ruin the water miscible property of the paints, and there's nothing special about Walnut Oil as chemically its similar to safflower oil, and the latter is really the best oil to use if you want to avoid the problems of linseed oil.
I've been wondering about that myself, I think its all just part of the new fad for walnut oil that leads people to suggest it as a cure all for painting problems.

The thinner is supposed to be better than water. Is it? I can't really say for certain. I do use this in bottom layers that I intend to paint over.
the thinners really are better than water, they have a slightly oily feel to them which gives slightly better handling (try rubbing some between your fingers to see) but most importantly because they don't create an emulsion with the paint there is no colour shift from wet to dry like there is with water

NEfig
09-29-2009, 01:59 AM
About the new reformulated W&N fast dry medium -- I had a bottle of the new stuff in a plastic bag at the bottom of my satchel, and recently found that the cap was loose and had leaked fast-dry out of the bottle and into the plastic bag. I think the cap must have been loose for at least a couple days.

The good news is that it did not gum up, and the formula in the bottle is still very fluid. The old formula would gum up no matter how tightly it was capped.

mawdwyn
09-29-2009, 11:55 AM
NEfig - good to hear. I recently bought a bottle of the new, improved quick-dry, but haven't tried it yet. It sure looks different from the other bottles I've bought. Here's a comparison:

453419

The above is why I started using the walnut-alkyd (this was before Artisan changed their quick-dry). I don't mix my paints with water, so I don't have any problem with the walnut oil/alkyd not being water miscible, and the brushes clean up just fine with soap and water (usually Dawn dish soap). The other advantage of the walnut-alkyd is that I can use it with my regular oil paints too, so I only need one medium, and can use my reg. oil colors with the wm oils - and still clean up with just soap and water (I don't want all my old oils to go to waste). So that's why I got in on the walnut oil fad :p

Callie