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View Full Version : oils? Which do you use? traditional or water based?


N2ART
09-04-2002, 07:06 PM
I'm interested in other artist's experience with water based oils verses traditional? Have you ever tried water based? Which one do you prefer?

Shai
09-04-2002, 08:44 PM
I haven't been painting with oils for very long. I'm using traditional oils, but because I only have a tiny studio right now, I'm considering switching to water-based oils.

I'll be interested in the comparison between the two as well.

artbabe21
09-05-2002, 12:08 AM
I've only used traditional oils, heard dispariging things about water solubles early on that they are sticky but lately have heard good opinions. They get sticky if you use water to thin them to paint. I have heard they are as creamy & nice as traditional oils. I am going to give them a try for health's sake! Breathing turps is very bad..........:evil:

You might want to look under the search function and see more opinions on them. :D

Patrick1
09-05-2002, 12:44 AM
I have very limited experience with water solubles. About 15-20 paintings max. so far. I use W&N Artisan and Grumbacher MAX. I have virtually no experience with regular oils.

The Artisans are thick (which I like) but seem quite sticky...with or without adding water. The MAX are less thick and definitely seem less sticky, more buttery, but some colors are somewhat oily. Most MAX colors are more expensive too...some a lot more.

As for pigmentation, I can't really tell since I haven't compared the same color side by side. But Grumbacher says they have higher tinting strenth than Artisan, which wouldn't surprise me.

So based on this, MAX seems to be the higher quality of the two. But I still use both.

timelady
09-05-2002, 06:18 AM
The oils aren't actually water based, but water mixable. They have changed a molecule in the oil so that it doesn't repel water - but the paints are still made with oil.

Water mixable means easier cleanup, though from what I've heard you really shouldn't add too much water to the paints themselves when working on the canvas. I accidently bought a Grumbacher MAX water-mixable by mistake and it was very sticky. I couldn't figure out why my paint wasn't working! :) Had I know what it was, and had I been using other MAX paints, the experience could have been different of course.

I only use regular (artist quality) oil paints. My turps is always tightly covered and is only used rarely for when I need it for working on the canvas (I drip paint). For cleanup and brushes I use mineral spirits instead. If you're in a small studio or want a change for health reasons try these tips:

1. Only use turps for cleanup. Keep it covered at all times.
2. Use mineral spirits instead of turps, the fumes are FAR less.
3. Use Spike of Lavender Oil instead. Several WC members have recommended this.

Tina.

Titanium
09-05-2002, 07:49 AM
Martha Gamblin has suggested to me that there
may be more technical information on Water
Soluble paints to had from Ross Merrill.
I have written to him,but have had no reply as of
yet.

Sean Dye in his book says that Holbein uses a
surfactant [ going on memory,I loaned my copy
to someone,yet to be returned - possibly an
oxidising soap ].

The stickiness will fade away with time.

I really doubt that - molecule removal bit ?????

I wash my brush in water and squeeze dry,when
changing a colour.No turps,mineral spirits or other
is needed.Defeats the purpose of the paints,to
cut out solvent odour.

I also use a medium of Artisan Stand oil 2/3 to
1/3 normal walnut oil in my last coats.
The Artisan stand oil to strengthen the coat.The
walnut oil, supplies normal oil and is a low yellowing
drying oil.

I have only used Artisan.Artisan is low in opacity and
works best straight from the tube for all the undecoat
techniques.
You can thin with water for the drawing in.
Works beautifully when the tube paint is mixed with
a little medium and applied in the overcoat.

Equally at home with my hand mulled oil paints and
Artisan.
Titanium

Elinor
09-05-2002, 08:37 AM
I use the Artisan water mixable oils and I like them very much. Although I have not tried the other brands so nothing to compare with really. I have a lot of allergies and just cant take the odors of the regular oils in my small studio. Headaches and breathing problems.

The thing is you should not mix water with them to paint but the mediums they provide to mix with the paint. There are various mediums that are made to mix with these paints ei: Fast drying medium and Water mixable linseed oil etc.

The clean up you do with soap and water. They are genuine oils color with modified linseed oil and safflower oil.The oils are modified to mix with instead of repel water.

They work well for me and I can enjoy painting with oils again which I had to give up for years.
Its each to his own and there is room in this world for both. :)

N2ART
09-05-2002, 10:26 AM
Gosh, thank you all for this feedback. I have used traditional oils for 27 years. Turpenoid for cleaning. I have a fairly large studio, but still I am concerned about the health issues. I wondered what brands y'all had experience with. I appreciate all the knowledge and experience here on WC! It is great! My Best, Diane

G.L. Hoff
09-05-2002, 10:34 AM
On a whim I bought a supply of the Holbein line of water-miscibles ("Duo" is the brand) and found that they behave very much like regular oil paint but cleaned up more easily with water. Unlike the Grumbacher line, these didn't feel sticky. Also, thinning with water isn't generally recommended because it weakens the oil film, the binder that holds the pigment particles together. You can, of course, thin somewhat with water (I used to) but caution is the watchword. Better to use the modified oils and media for this kind of paint.

I don't use 'em any more because I prefer traditional oil paint and the benefits (easier cleanup, mostly) are basically a non-issue for me.

Regards

Sadgylee
09-05-2002, 10:57 AM
I have used both, regular oils and Artisan Water Soluable.

If you have never used reg. oils you might like the water sol. ones. If you have used regular oils, you won't like them nearly as
much.

The w/s ones are thicker and stickier. My suggestion is to try a tube of regular and one of w/s. Compare these to see which you like best! As far as the smell of turps go, Turpenoide has no smell and works like regular turps! Happy Painting!
:D

artbabe21
09-05-2002, 11:35 AM
Originally posted by Sadgylee
My suggestion is to try a tube of regular and one of w/s. Compare these to see which you like best! As far as the smell of turps go, Turpenoide has no smell and works like regular turps!

Good thought to try a tube of each to try out....

It's my understanding that just because turpenoid is odorless doesn't mean it isn't/can't harm you.....perhaps Gary can shed some light on this??
I use turpenoid to swish brushes, I keep it closed & then use soap & water for final clean up. I have used baby oil ONLY to clean brushes while traveling and it works perfectly. I may switch to that completely.

It's interesting that different artists either find Max sticky or not?
I don't like sticky, think I am a tradionalist where oils are concerned but may try a tube or two, just to see.....:D

DraigAthar
09-05-2002, 12:20 PM
Cathleen -

Odorless turpenoid is still toxic - they still recommend AGAINST drinking it or sniffing it. ;)

Turpenoid natural, however, is non-toxic and non-flammable. That's what I use to clean my brushes. It has a sort of citrus odor. I use the odorless turpenoid in very small amounts when I need to thin my paints.

To answer the original question of this thread, I use regular oils, myself. I once bought a tube of grumbacher max (ivory black) on accident and kicked myself for it. But I tried it anyway and it was sticky, so I haven't used it since.

Amy

idahogirl
09-05-2002, 12:31 PM
I have used both and prefer traditional. I avoid the solvent situation by using oil for cleaning the brushes. Here is a link for more information http://www.artpurveyors.com/nosolvents.html
Hope this helps.

Dee

artbabe21
09-05-2002, 12:34 PM
Amy,
I am allergic to the citrus odor of the Turpenoid natural, wouldn't ya just know it? :(

I'll try to limit my drinking of turpenoid!! LOL! As far as sniffing, that was my concern, if you can't smell it and it IS toxic how are you going to know when you're in trouble, when your kidneys fail? That's why I am trying to be safe NOW by limiting my exposure...

N2ART
09-05-2002, 02:30 PM
Dee, have you used Grahams paint much? I tried the white. I loved the consistency. A friend gave it to me and I used it in the final stages of a portrait. You could see every place I had used it, as it was oilier than the other white I had been using.

I have used walnut oil for cleaner but it does not seem to remove the color from the brushes that well. I liked the way it leaves the brushes nice and pliant though. Baby oil sounds interesting. I know that artist/author Mark C Weber uses Holbein's Duo Aqua Oil paints. He has superb results. I just don't know if I can teach this old dog new tricks. (if you know what I mean) LOL Sticky scares me! This has been a very interesting discussion and learning experience. Thanks again for all y'alls input! Can you tell I was raised in the south? :D

DraigAthar
09-05-2002, 02:43 PM
Since the issue of brush cleaning has come up (it pops up all over the place, lol!) I just have to put in a plug for my new favorite - ugly dog brush cleaner. Marvelous stuff, I'm in love with it. :)

Amy

idahogirl
09-05-2002, 03:15 PM
Haven't used Graham paints yet but I understand they are really nice. I've heard that linseed oil cleans a little better than walnut but I prefer walnut as there is no odor. Graham has a walnut based alkyd medium which has no odor (can't stand liquin). Nice people too. They are always happy to answer questions.

Dee

G.L. Hoff
09-05-2002, 11:02 PM
Originally posted by artbabe21
It's my understanding that just because turpenoid is odorless doesn't mean it isn't/can't harm you.....perhaps Gary can shed some light on this??

Actually, Turpenoid is odorless mineral spirits (OMS) or white spirit and while it isn't as volatile as turpentine, OMS does evaporate, albeit slowly. The main component of OMS is medium-chain hydrocarbons (8 to 12 or so carbon atoms). These compounds can cause various kinds of problems, but because they evaporate slowly, they aren't as likely to cause problems as those that evaporate quickly. Nevertheless, they're still potential problems and shouldn't be left open in the studio. And drinking it is certain to be a problem :D.

Dunno much about cleaning brushes with oil--I've always used OMS and then washed with soap. And I agree about Ugly Dog. It's wonderful for natural brushes.

Regards

puzzlinon
09-06-2002, 02:41 AM
The two turpenoids (blue and green, regular and 'natural') are very different animals; the natural is not just a scented version.

I had a studio teacher who was an acid test - she had grown so sensitive after the years of painting big oils that the only things we could use in sessions were paint, oil and wax, and turpenoid (the regular kind). She'd been teaching full-semester courses at berkeley and in her own studio for years and learned that list the hard way.

There were enough aromatics in the turpenoid 'natural' and in the other OMS products (like Gamblin's) that she couldn't abide them even a little. Regular turpenoid she could handle without much problem, even when were doing rag wipedowns and stuff. It has a very low volatility. Any of the fancy 'citrine' products would trigger her reactions. Turpentine was out of the question.

The turpenoid products are funky proprietary mixtures - not just plain OMS. They are blended with other distillates that bring the evaporation rate way way down. One should probably follow their directions and not use them as thinner in paint mediums, especially if you paint thick, because some of the ingredients are non-evaporating and will weaken the paint.

Myself, I like Gamsol and Turpenoid and can't tell them apart, for cleaning - both are pretty unobtrusive, and I just grab a gallon whenever either shows up at a good sale price. Most other generic 'OMS's are noticeable more smelly, I find. You get what you pay for, I guess.

Titanium
09-06-2002, 07:22 AM
General reply

If you really want to be solvent free in your studio
or if it is a health issue.

Wash your brushes in a drying oil while you
work.

or

Wipe your brushes clean with a rag and if you
need to change to a light colour, have a small
pile of sacrificial white paint. Work the brush in it
and then wipe it clean.

or

Simply have a large supply of brushes for use.

At the end of the day,you can decide what you want
to do, clean or if paint is slow drying, leave for next
day.
TEST FIRST,please.
Titanium

walden
09-06-2002, 08:42 AM
I use both regular oils and Artisans, and like both. One note-- I am sensitive to virtually every solvent around. Two days ago I had about a tablespoon of Turpenoid in a palette cup out all day long uncovered, and gave myself a raging sinus inflammation that is only today starting to abate. I can't use any of them-- Turpenoid natural, oil of spike, whatever.

I use regular oils in the studio & when painting outdoors close to civilization-- I have a lot of brushes & do all brush cleaning outdoors. Like I said, I tried once again to use the tiniest bit of solvent indoors-- no go. So, I'm back to straight linseed or stand oil to loosen my paint. I have been experimenting with various mediums, and having the same difficulty-- haven't found one yet that I both like and can tolerate.

I use the Artisans mainly when I'm hiking in to a painting spot-- that way I don't need to haul solvents in & out. They work great. I like Artisan because they include the cadmiums & cobalts that I like and am accustomed to in regular oils-- many of the other water-soluble manufacturers have gone all the way towards completely non-toxic pigments. I also like all of W&N's Artisan mediums, and I don't seem to be sensitive to any of them, although I haven't used them for very long painting sessions indoors-- only for short experimental sessions. (Re stickiness-- I use no water, only the mediums for painting, & water only for cleanup. Works fine, not sticky.)

Finally, I, too, cast my vote in favor of Ugly Dog Brush Soap-- great stuff for regular oils.

G.L. Hoff
09-06-2002, 10:28 AM
Originally posted by puzzlinon
The turpenoid products are funky proprietary mixtures - not just plain OMS. They are blended with other distillates that bring the evaporation rate way way down. One should probably follow their directions and not use them as thinner in paint mediums, especially if you paint thick, because some of the ingredients are non-evaporating and will weaken the paint.

Myself, I like Gamsol and Turpenoid and can't tell them apart, for cleaning - both are pretty unobtrusive...

Yeah, Turpenoid and Turpenoid Natural are way different from each other and as everyone ought to know by now, neither is completely innocent. Me, I'm pretty lucky--I don't even get headaches from turp. But the point is that even low-volatility solvents like OMS can be a problem for some people. Hence, in my opinion, having open containers of any solvent in an unventilated studio is a bad idea.

Regards

artbabe21
09-06-2002, 11:24 AM
so are you then saying if used carefully, like NOT drinking :D {I'll try to quit} and keeping it covered, using only for swishing brushes, it will not be a health concern? I am at the point of such high concern for what paint/turp manufactuors haven't told us for years I want to get as safe as possible. :rolleyes:

timelady
09-06-2002, 04:58 PM
Not the source I original got the info from but here's the quote from Grumbacher's website: "MAX's Formula is based on a patented scientific breakthrough that slightly alters the molecular structure of oil paint."

Of course, no further description than that. Link at:
http://www.sanfordcorp.com/sanford/consumer/grumbacher/max.html

I can't seem to find any technical product sheets on their site, unfortunately. :(

Tina.

G.L. Hoff
09-06-2002, 05:09 PM
Originally posted by artbabe21
so are you then saying if used carefully, like NOT drinking :D {I'll try to quit} and keeping it covered, using only for swishing brushes, it will not be a health concern? I am at the point of such high concern for what paint/turp manufactuors haven't told us for years I want to get as safe as possible. :rolleyes:

To my knowledge, the answer is no, it would not be a health concern if treated in that way. Look at it this way: the effects of drugs, poisons, and toxins are almost always related to the dose. Some toxins are actually medicinal in low doses and deadly in high amounts. Same with solvents. Using them carefully means limiting exposure. So you use capped containers (I have a paint bucket full of OMS that has a tight cover), use only the quantity you need (I use squeeze bottles for solvent that let me put only a few drops into paint or media), and ventilate your work space. Each of these strategies limits exposure.

On the other hand, if you have a sensitivity or allergy, you should avoid whatever substance causes your symptoms. Some people, for example are allergic to nickel--since it's a component in silver alloys and other metals used in, say, jewelry, skin contact causes a rash. So you avoid those. True turpentine allergy is very rare. Also, some people are sensitive to solvents (not allergic...that's a different thing)--and not just turp; mineral spirits, kerosene, gasoline, etc. They're usually people with respiratory problems (asthma for example) whose symptoms are triggered by inhalation of irritants.

Monona Rossol's book (check Amazon) has good info.

Regards

artbabe21
09-06-2002, 09:28 PM
Thanks Dr. Gary.......I feel better, I was thinking along these lines but everyone can get you going to the point you think you maybe shouldn't even paint and pretty soon I've got my knickers in a bunch, so thought I'd ask someone who knows!! I appreciate your taking the time to answer........:D