19 Things You Need To Know About Water Soluble Oil Paint

By Nicole Tinkham


If you’re an oil painter and have been for awhile, you may think water soluble oil paints are just for amateurs. However, we’ve recently been asked what the difference between traditional and water soluble oil paints are so we looked into it a bit further. Our answer is no, water soluble oils aren’t just for beginners. In fact, there are many benefits of using the water soluble version in addition to the elimination of toxic fumes. For instance, they’re super easy to mix and paint will dry a little faster than traditional oils (woohoo!). Sure, water soluble oil paint is perfect for the beginner but it’s not only for the beginner. Give it a chance; it may be the perfect solution for you! Read on for the 19 things you need to know about water soluble oil paint before getting started.

1.    Perfect introduction for the beginner oil painter.

2.    BONUS! No toxic fumes so it’s safe to use around family and pets.

3.    Van Gogh, Holbein Duo, and Winsor & Newton are some water soluble oil paints we recommend.

4.    These are not water-based paints. They are actual oil paints with the same pigments as your typical oil paint. No, you cannot use them like watercolors because they are in fact oil paints!

5.    Water soluble oils cannot be reactivated with water once dry (just like regular oils).

6.    Water soluble oils are perfect for traveling (especially on a plane) since they don’t require solvents.

7.    The oil in these paints is modified so there’s no need for solvents. Bonus! They also clean up way easier. All you need is soap and water to clean brushes.

8.    Water soluble oil paint can be used just like traditional oil paint on canvas. They have the exact same texture and consistency.

9.    Traditional oil paints can be added to water soluble oil paints in small quantities.

10.    Water soluble oils don’t go as far on your canvas as traditional oil paints.

11.    You still cannot paint over a dry oil painting with acrylics.

12.    Water soluble oil paints are workable for up to 48 hours and are just as permanent when dry as any other oil paint.

13.    Thin water soluble oil paint by mixing in some linseed or walnut oil, not water (it can turn muddy).

14.    Water soluble colors are very easy to mix.

15.    Use either a glass or wood palette when painting with water soluble oils.

16.    Water soluble oils come in bright vibrant colors which make it more difficult to muddy up the color.

17.    Extra paint can be stored in an airtight container.

18.    A few colors may be slightly more transparent than the traditional oil paint version.

19.    Paint will dry a little faster than regular oil paint. Also note that certain colors have different dry times (same with the traditional version).

Oil painting can seem overwhelming at first but it doesn’t have to be! If the toxic fumes are holding you back, water soluble oil paint is your best solution. These are not just for beginners although, it is a great way to start out if oils interest you. As with anything, we urge you to just give them a try. You never know, you could like these much better than traditional oil paint. Or maybe you’ll decide to work with both! The choice is up to you. Just have fun and experiment.

Tell us, what’s one thing you love about water soluble oil paints?

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