More with Water Mixable Oil Paints (mini tutorial II)

WORK IN PROGRESS, 4x4" water mixable oil on stretched canvas.
WORK IN PROGRESS, 4×4″ water mixable oil on stretched canvas.

Some more experimenting with water mixable oils (WMOs).

My previous post showed a work in progress oil sketch where I used a combination of several brands of water mixables (mostly Weber wOil, with a touch or two from Talens Cobra, Lukas Berlin, and Holbein Duo Aqua). I used wOil’s Alkyd “Fast Dry” medium. Which doesn’t dry very fast (it’s “technically” dry, a week later, but has that “tacky” feel still, so I am not painting a second layer on it yet). Furthermore, I find that you can’t really mix water in water mixable oils. The results are so-so, kind of making the paints like spackle. Spackle is a word often used when describing WMOs.

This time, I tried Holbein’s Duo Aqua. Almost all Duos, with a dab here of another color but I tried to keep it mostly Holbein. I had heard that they dry faster. They are pricier and the impression I get is that they are the “high end” WMOs.

Well, mixed results, but possibly something good has come from this.

The above painting (WORK IN PROGRESS!!!1!) is the result of maybe an hour of painting, it’s not anything great, but I learned a lot from it.

I used Holbein’s special WMO-based “fast dry medium” which has the consistency of honey (or at least my bottle did). I mixed it in the paint liberally, the same way I would with Liquin (my go-to fast dry medium when I’m using regular oils). Well, I get the feeling that a little bit of Holbein’s WMO fast dry medium goes a long way. Because the paint on the palette started to get very tacky and hard to mix (starting to dry) before an hour was up. I’ve never had oil paint start to tack up so quickly.

Twelve hours later, as I type this, the painting is “technically” dry to the touch but still tacky and not ready to be painted on yet. I’m impressed that I was able to stick the painting in my scanner without any paint sticking to the glass. That’s fast drying!

Just so it’s clear, I love it when oil paint dries fast. I don’t usually keep working for hours and hours on the same painting, so if it starts tacking up in, for instance, 3-4 hours, that’s great. But in only an hour or less?

I hope this is due to me using a lot of the medium. I’ll try to just use little dabs next time.

Anyway, other than drying very fast, I found the consistency of the Holbeins to be very nice and they actually (gasp!) mixed with water a lot better! Imagine! A water mixable paint that MIXES WITH WATER! At least it seems to do an okay job of it.

I have a lot of WMOs to go through (I always overdo when it comes to buying paint) so I still need to experiment with the other brands more, but so far I think Holbein (assuming I can get the drying under control) might be my favorite.

I did another little oil sketch with the Holbeins, with no medium used (just water) and it handled okay (not as good—or I should say, the same—as regular oils with solvent). I will monitor it to see how long it is dry.

More experimenting with WMOs is forthcoming!

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