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Old 04-02-2012, 08:50 AM
DaveGhmn DaveGhmn is online now
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Medium that makes every paint water-mixable, an exploration

In the Lukas Berlin series of water-mixable mediums you'll find Medium 7, product number 2238. Lukas describes it as a medium that
Quote:
makes classical oil colour water mixable. The medium is simply mixed thoroughly with the colour. If you use classical oil colours and medium 7, there is no need of turpentine or turpentine substitute anymore.


By "classical oil colour," Lukas means any non-WMO oil color out there.

For example, with it, they say, you can elevate your WMO world clear to the lofty heights of Blockx. Imagine turning your $115 35-ml tube of Blockx Cobalt Violet into something that could at last compete on a level playing field with a $3 tube of Berlin WMO.

Is it needed?
This is going to be the key question: why do you want to turn conventional oil paints into water-mixable paints?

Three likely answers:
  1. Transform a beloved tube into a water-mixable. Perhaps it's a color not obtainable in any WMO line. Perhaps it's just a favorite brand's take on a color.
  2. Use up the store of conventional oils that you bought before discovering WMOs. At last you can employ that collection of eBay cast-offs, that motley group that's too battered and too old to foist back on eBay, that you set aside a while back.
  3. Explore a published color formula or palette to see whether it works for you.
(In my case, it's 2. and 3. Not only do I have an extensive collection of eBay orphans, I also have an upcoming workshop under a Cape Cod School of Art graduate who specifies a very definite palette of colors.

(Since the Cape School is a colorist school, I feel it's only fair that I try the instructor's palette, one that is a very intelligent, 8-color sub-set of the "basic" 21-color array that is the 'official' CCSA palette.

(Among these 8 colors are 3 that are not among my current WMO supplies: cadmium scarlet, permanent rose, and manganese blue. I found 7 of the workshop colors among my conventional oil, eBay castoffs and purchased the costly W&N Artist Oil Colour cadmium scarlet with a 55% off coupon at A.C. Moore.)

Ingredients
Lukas puts an alkyd resin, emulsifiers (surfactants), citrus turpentine and water into its Medium 7.

Specifically, these are
alkylphenolpolyglycol ether
alkylpolyglycolether-o-phosphor acid ester
2-amino-2-methylpropanol (CAS 124-68-5)
1-methoxy-2-propanol (CAS 107-98-2)
nonylphenolpolyglycol ether
aliphatic hydrocarbons
lemon citrus-terpene (CAS 8028-48-6)
1,2,4 – trimethylbenzol (CAS 95-63-6)
water

In other words, it's quite a chemical brew.

It is probably NOT human-friendly. Maybe Sid Bledsoe can chime in here.

Next: how I got some for testing; description; behavior; how to use... and does it work?
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:07 AM
sidbledsoe sidbledsoe is offline
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Re: Medium that makes every paint water-mixable, an exploration

that looks like the chemical listings on most of my cleaners, toiletries, and foods!
not familiar with those other than the aliphatic hydrocarbons (regular mineral spirits) and limonene (citrus solvent) which are well known and not too bad. I know those names look pretty ominous but if they are mostly surfactants, in general, those are relatively pretty safe.
What i am wondering is what percentage of this medium you must add to get the reg oils water mixable. I have read somewhere that someone added a drop of regular laundry detergent to regular oils and made them water mixable but I have never seen it done.

Last edited by sidbledsoe : 04-02-2012 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:30 AM
DaveGhmn DaveGhmn is online now
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Re: Medium that makes every paint water-mixable, an exploration

Thanks, and of course, the ones that begin with "alkyl.." are alkyds, which if I understand Wikipedia are more or less synthetic polymers, drying oils, usually paired with linseed, and used primarily to bind and toughen paint films and (usually) dry fairly quickly.

W&N Liquin and possibly W&N Artisan Fast-Dry are alkyd-based, as is Gamblin's Galkyd.
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:00 AM
DaveGhmn DaveGhmn is online now
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Re: Medium that makes every paint water-mixable, an exploration

Part II of a continuing story...

How I obtained Medium 7
Medium 7 is not yet available in the US. According to the key contact at Jerry's Artarama, Jerry's will be offering it by summer's end.

Meanwhile, I found a small-ish Canadian art supply wholesaler that had 3 125ml bottles of the stuff and was willing to sell me all 3 just to get them off their shelves.

The reason it is not yet available (and the Canadian wholesaler has dropped it from their line) is the under European Union regulations, Lukas must label the product as flammable and dangerous to the environment. Apparently, if any one ingredient or set of ingredients is flammable, in the EU, it must be labelled as flammable, so the citrus turpentine and aliphatic hydrocarbons in Medium 7 doom it on that basis. A couple of the surfactants are dangerous to certain varieties of fish, dooming it on another score.

With those label concerns, the product must be shipped overseas from Germany in certified sealed containers, an expensive proposition.

Description
It's kind of a yellow-tan liquid that's a little thicker than water. By itself, it dries to a clear film. Clearly a considerable volume evaporates.

It has a very faint odor like that of Tester's model paint, if anyone is familiar with that. Makes sense, since Tester's paint is alkyd-based.

Uh-oh
So far, I have only put down two test samples. They reached a sticky-dry state overnight. Foolishly rushing things, I tested one sample to see if it is water-soluble. It is.

If the medium remains water-soluble after drying fully, that might be a problem.

(I tried the conventional oil + detergent idea a while back, using fragrance-free laundry detergent. The resulting paint seems to dry like a conventional oil, but it never loses its water-solubility, which is a problem.)

How you use it
Lukas provides the following instructions in English on a label added to the bottle:
Quote:
First dip brush into medium 7, then directly into colour or water. Brush can be cleaned with medium 7, water and cloth, finally with water and some soap. Shake well before use. Protect from frost.

A separate PDF sheet on Medium 7 adds the following:
Quote:
Mixing Ratio:
First mix colour and MEDIUM 7 in relation 1:1, then add some water. Some small pre-tests will quickly determine your personal correct mixture.
Do not use MEDIUM 7 undiluted.
Protect MEDIUM 7 against excessive warmth.

....
This is as far as I've taken my explorations. Coming up (when I have to chance to get back to it): how it works. Whether it dries water IN-soluble.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:27 AM
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Re: Medium that makes every paint water-mixable, an exploration

First thought I have is that a 1:1 mixture will make your paint leaner than it would ordinarily be, since this "medium" apparently contains solvent and resin but no oil. I'd also be interested in how it performs through the whole process of painting. Will you have to add equal amounts to all paints in all layers (assuming you're not going alla-prima,) or maybe just the top layers?

By the way, you can mix egg yolk, casein, or staches (water/oil emulsifiers) to regular oils and make them water-mixable; although, it will also alter their viscosity. I've done this with some of the thicker brands of regular oils I have, like Old Holland, so that I change the softness without making them fatter or leaner using oil or solvent.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:45 AM
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Re: Medium that makes every paint water-mixable, an exploration

Thanks, David. My next step(s) involve both instructions from Lukas -- the one that says dip the brush into 7 then into the paint (where the ratio would be more or less non-repeatable), and the one that specifies 1:1.

I'm having trouble finding staches as emulsions -- maybe 'starches'? Wonder if that wondrous natural emulsifier, mustard, would work.

Also, I don't know enough about alkyds, but my second sample is drying to a strong, clear film. Wikipedia tells me that alkyds work in conjunction with fatty acids/oils, so perhaps the linseed or other drying oil in the paints have to be combined with the alkyds in 7 to make the full effect. Or maybe there is oil in 7 (it probably would not be called out on the safety sheet, since there would be no health threat.)

No idea how any of this would fit in the fat/lean thing.

I hope today to get to some of the actual addition to some old conventional oils that I have on hand.
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Old 04-03-2012, 01:50 PM
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Re: Medium that makes every paint water-mixable, an exploration

Yes, "starches" with an "r" - sorry. Wheat, rice or other plant based starches such as methylcelluose (or carboxymethylcellulose) that will mix well with oil. I've made my own paints with these, mixed with oil medium, that I use for undertones or first layers, and they work very well. They can make the paint kind of "gummy" for lack of a better word, so they should be used judiciously, as with all additives.
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Old 04-03-2012, 03:31 PM
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Re: Medium that makes every paint water-mixable, an exploration

I have made water-miscible linseed oil and also water-miscible mineral spirits by adding 2-butoxyethanol until I was able to wash each of them out in water. I have not adde it to any paint yet.

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Old 04-03-2012, 04:20 PM
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Re: Medium that makes every paint water-mixable, an exploration

autolisp, nice. 2-b is what is in W&N Artisan products. How did you come by the stuff? I haven't found a place to purchase it here in the US.
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:37 PM
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Re: Medium that makes every paint water-mixable, an exploration

Dave. I don't know if it is what W&N use. I found reference to it here somewhere in the WC forums, probably to do with 'What's in WM oil paints' type topic. I brought mine through eBay sales from Mistral Laboratory in Co Antrim Northern Ireland.

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Old 04-04-2012, 05:14 PM
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Re: Medium that makes every paint water-mixable, an exploration

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGhmn
autolisp, nice. 2-b is what is in W&N Artisan products.

Looking at the MSDS sheets at Dick Blick, 2-butoxyethanol is only added to their painting mediums. It isn't listed in their linseed, stand and safflower oil or their new thinner, nor in their paints. I believe - but am not certain - that if a small enough percentage is in a product, it doesn't need to be listed, so it might be in more of these products. Speculation has often been that these 3 painting mediums use 2-butoxyethanol as the solvent, since these particular mediums are a mix of solvent and oil, and perhaps other ingredients.

I believe that the actual ingredients or methods that the various paint makers use to make their paints water mixable is still a trade secret. I know that the folks at AMIEN have been trying for years to to get them to reveal their secrets, but to no avail. It is for that reason - not knowing exactly what is in the paints - that the folks at AMIEN recommend that artists do not use Water mixable paints if they are concerned with longevity.

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Old 04-04-2012, 05:37 PM
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Re: Medium that makes every paint water-mixable, an exploration

Yes, I see what you mean. I turned to the UK / EU safety sheets, since they have to disclose much more than the US MSDS sheets, and W&N are silent around what they use.

The Lukas medium (my first post) is laced with ether-alcohols similar to 2-butoxyethanol. They are favored because they are strong surfactants (ok, soaps) AND they decompose and evaporate into ecologically and toxicologically safe components... in other words, they go away. That's a nice touch, since if the surfactants stayed in the paint film, the films would be water-soluble.

I doubt that W&N does more than add surfactants to it's "modified linseed oil" component of Artisan colors.

You can mess around with oil molecules (usually to make them absolutely hydrophobic -- totally unable to emulsify with water -- rather than hydrophillic), but it is an expensive process and pays back only with relatively huge volumes. Dow Chemical has some lubricants that simply won't oxidize or emulsify, designed for industrial gear boxes, and other petroleum compounds with similar properties go into automatic transmission fluid.

I doubt that W&N pays to have linseed oil molecularly cracked...

As for longevity... as somebody said here on WetCanvas lately, if my stuff is good enough, conservators will find a way to save it. But I doubt that I'm going to be that good. Either way, I don't have to worry.
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Old 04-05-2012, 11:30 AM
DaveGhmn DaveGhmn is online now
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Re: Medium that makes every paint water-mixable, an exploration

OK - first round of tests with some W&N Artists Oil Colours.

Executive summary: product is very far from 100% wonderful. When enough Medium 7 is mixed in for true water-miscibility, you have thinned your paint quite a bit -- opaque colors are no longer opaque.

If you cut back on the Medium 7 to retain some opacity, the resulting mix is not fully water-mixable.

I'll post pictures later.

I made three tests using an old tube of opaque Naples Yellow (genuine, lead-based), semi-transparent Raw Sienna, and theoretically transparent Windsor Blue (phthalocyanine blue). All were Winsor & Newton Artist Oil Colours (non-water-mixable).

The Naples yellow mixed about 1:1 with Medium 7 is almost transparent. The raw Sienna at 1:1 would serve, but is definitely more transparent than the original color. My Windsor blue was so strong that it appeared opaque even with Medium 7.

I also followed the alternate method indicated by Lukas: dip the brush in Medium 7, then into the paint and mix. The Naples yellow was more opaque... but it was not really water-friendly.

Autolisp's approach might be a better one.
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Old 04-07-2012, 08:05 AM
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Re: Medium that makes every paint water-mixable, an exploration

As mentioned, the picture:


Painted across a band of ivory black.

You can see how the 1:1 mix results in loss of opacity -- a lot in the case of the old tube of Winsor & Newton Artist Oil Colour Naples yellow, less with raw Sienna.

The technique of dipping the brush in Medium 7, then mixing into paint resulted in greater opacity... but diminished water-mixability.



I wanted this stuff to work. I'll still use it in the workshop to avoid OMS or turpentine -- it's useful during clean-up with water especially -- but the medium is disappointing.

(The lower sample is Lukas Berlin Naples yellow hue -- more yellow, less orange than the genuine. It was a good time to compare it, as I won't be using the genuine Naples yellow in the future.)
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