Thursday, 11 November 2010

I Don’t Like the Smell of Oil Painting Mediums

The prospective artist may purchase an oil painting kit that contains smelly solvents that could cause irritation to the nostrils or skin. This may put off artists who suffer allergic conditions. However, there is a way of practicing oil paint that is friendly to the environment as well as the skin.

Odourless Oil Painting Mediums
Oil Painting with Water Soluble Oils
Rachel Shirley
Several options are available to the artist who is loath to powerful odours. Although oil painters are known to use Turpentine or white spirits to produce oil washes or to clean the brushes, such industrial cleaners should be dispensed with, as they strip the natural oils from the art brushes and make the room an unpleasant place. Low odour art mediums that are kinder to the environment as well as the skin are more suitable, such as:
  • Low odour artist’s white spirits.
  • Turpenoid.
  • Sansador.
Lathering oil painting brushes in neat washing up liquid or soap after cleaning in artist’s spirits will prolong the life of the brushes.

Water Soluble Oil Paints

Another option is to use watermixable oil paints. Winsor and Newton’s Artisan or Royal Talens’ Van Gough H2Oil are two examples of oil paint that is soluble in water (watersoluble oil mediums are explained in depth in another article). The properties of watersoluble oils are the same as traditional oil paint, the difference being that the oil medium has been modified so that it breaks down in water. This may make some oil painting purist shudder at the thought of oil and water mixing, but watermixable oils are widely used and are effective.

Water Mixable Oil Thinners

Artisan has a range of forty colors and its own versions of oil mediums to suit. Of course water can be used with Artisan to produce washes, but should be added gradually or the paint might bubble. But because water evaporates quite quickly, the watermixable oil paint is prone to thickening rather too quickly on application, making manipulation a little tricky. To overcome this problem, Artisan’s water mixable oil thinner provides a more oily consistency to the oil paint, making oil painting more like its traditional counterpart.

Water Mixable Oil Mediums

Winsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Oil Colour-10-21 ml tubes
Water Soluble Oils
click to buy from Amazon
It is wise not to use traditional oil and watermixable oils in the same painting, as the differing drying rates could cause stresses in the painting. For this reason, Artisan has developed watermixable equivalents to the traditional oil mediums. For modifying the oil paint, water mixable linseed oil, water mixable safflower oil, water mixable stand oil and water mixable impasto medium have been developed. Some of these mediums will retard the drying time of the oil and add a glossy finish, others will accelerate the drying time.

Varnishes for Water Mixable Oils

Specialised varnishes have been developed for water soluble oils. Again, Artisan varnishes contain no irritants and are odour free, as the varnish is watersoluble. Gloss, matt and satin finishes are available. The varnishing brushes can be cleaned in warm soapy water afterwards.

Odour Free Oil Colors

The artist who suffers allergies or who dislike the high odours of oil mediums may try traditional oils with low odour artists’ spirits, but water mixable oils are a popular choice for artists who wishes to avoid traditional oils altogether.

Advice on Alternative Oil Mediums

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