Oil painting, that lovely medium that we all love and hate! I’ve been painting for quite some time now and when I started my education, they started us in charcoal which I highly recommend for anyone, as we progressed we finally hit oils and I fell in love immediately.
Oil painting has been my favorite medium I have discovered so far when it comes to painting but there was an aspect of it I’ve always hated — the solvents.
Why I switched to water mixable oils
I always enjoy the rich buttery feel of oils, I love adding the linseed oil and I love the smell of it too. However, they always gave me a headache, then to make matters worse, we then break open the mineral spirits for cleanup and things go from bad to worse. There are some other mediums to prolong or speed up dry times that give me a headache within about ten seconds of opening them and that is even in a well ventilated area. Problem is, I work in a small room of my house and not only is it too closed for such harsh chemicals but they seep out into my house as well.
After my first child was born I put the oils away. I moved into some acrylics which were okay but they never grabbed me quite like the oils did. Every medium has it’s own feel and these didn’t quite do it for me and even the acrylics had some strong chemicals I didn’t care for as well. I found myself going out into my garage to clean my brushes and the back and forth always took me out of the painting “zone.”
Shortly after that I decided to keep all the chemicals out of my house and I moved into digital where I stayed for a very long time. It never had the pull of an actual oil painting and I never gained that sense of completion you can after framing an oil painting or even putting on that nice touch of varnish. I continued in digital and we had a more kids and they have all grown quite a bit over the years but my passion for oils was never satisfied with the digital counterpart. There has always been a calling and I wanted to get back to my roots and the drive kept calling to me, I had to do something about it.
Soon I started researching other mediums and then I discovered the water miscible oils, also known as water mixable oils. After I found some I picked up Winsor & Newton tubes and decided to grab the colors for a Zorn palette to start. When I started painting and something lacked, the paint was too thick and needed to be thinned out and it also dried a bit faster than standard oils so I picked up some water miscible linseed oil so I could still cleanup with water and keep the solvents out of my house. It worked like a charm!
The thick buttery feeling was back and feeling of the brush hitting the canvas once again was what I needed. It took a bit of getting used to because my brush doesn’t feel quite as loaded with the non-water soluble counterparts but everything I needed to satisfy my urge to paint was back. The smells are minimal, there are no solvents, and the paint feels great. I’m looking to try other brands still but for anyone who needs to get the solvents out of their house, I highly suggest water miscible oils.
I would like to add that the linseed oil is a necessity. You do not want to use water to thin the paint as that may be what many tend to go to first but it will leave the colors cloudy and undesirable after they dry. I did some testing and the varnish does bring them back to life, but during the painting stages you will find it difficult to match your hues and values if you go this route. Grab some oil as the paint won’t dry as fast and it’s easier to work with as well.
If you like the piece and would like to pick up a print, I have them available at INPRNT https://www.inprnt.com/gallery/adammiconi/game-of-death-checkmate/. The original is not yet for sale.
If you use or have used the water miscible oils, what are your thoughts on them? Share in the comments!