Prove It! Can you really get the same effects with water-mixable oil paints?

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Prove It!

In this segment of Prove It! Mikey G will solve the mystery of water-mixable oil paints and test how they measure up against traditional oils. Can water really mix with oil? How do LUKAS Berlin Water-Mixable Oil Colors compare with traditional oils in terms of consistency, body, and clean up? Watch the video to find out!

Please enjoy this Prove It! video and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Are you a fan of water-mixable oil paints? Looking for a less toxic way to paint in oils? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Comments (13) -

Jonathan Manning

Some things not covered in this video: How does the dried water miscible paint look compared to traditional oils?  So far, all of the things noted are the same as acrylics.  Since acrylics usually dry darker and sometimes duller than when they were painted, I'm curious how well the water miscible oils retain the color upon drying.

Also, what is the drying time compared to traditional oil & acrylics?

What about adhesion and surface prep?  Do you prep the same as you would for oil or for acrylic?

I think you may find you have enough questions for a Prove it Part Deux!

Kyle Richardson

Hi Jonathan, I've been using watermixable oil colors almost exlusively for about 5 years now.  There are still a few pigments that I can't get in WMO that I use from trad oils, and mix them (yes you can do this with some brands if the ratio is followed correctly).  The questions you ask vary slightly by brand, and really depend on the type of emulsifier which is used in the paint.  Some brands actually have adjusted their claims to state that they can be cleaned with water, not mixed.  I've found that Holbein, Cobra and Lukas are the only brands that can truly be thinned with water, which in my opinion is the main point.  The rest get gummy and completely frustrated me.  All dry faster than traditional oil colors, due to the emulsifier, and I've found the fastest (2-3 days on an average paint layer) is Cobra, while Holbein is more like 3-5.  When I do a water wash however, that layer is dry to the touch in an hour or so because of the evaporation of the water and the activation of the emulsifier.  Adhesion and surface prep is the same as traditional oils, so whether it is a rabbit skin glue and 2 coats of lead primer, or if you're working on top of a thinned acrylic basecoat, it's the same as traditional oil colors.  These don't have the same color shift as acrylics because of the way that they oxidize instead of dry, like acrylics do.  I've found that the professional grade WMOs retain their color just as well as traditional oil colors, and what you will notice is that layers that have been thinned will be more dull and wil need to be oiled out or have a retouch varnish applied, but straight paint, or paint with medium layers will have that sheen which oils give you that acrylics don't.  Disclaimer - I am the product manager for Cobra, made by Royal Talens (these are equivalent to Rembrandt, which we also make), that being said, I would only recommend Cobra, Holbein and Lukas as WMO brands that actually perform as they claim.  Jerry's also carries Cobra, by the way Smile  Nice video, Mike!  I hope that more artists see the benefit of these paints...maybe they will when they try the professional grade brands instead of what's available in the craft stores.


I always use water mixable oil I love using them they also sell  water mixable   linseed oil and mediums.

Lisa Bradshaw

I have been a pencil artist for many years, and just started painting using oil paints in the wet on wet style. Can water mixable oils be used in the wet on wet method? What mediums can be used with these paints that don't require using a solvent to clean the brushes with, if using them with the wet on wet method?


Hi Lisa!  Welcome to the wonderful world of water-mixable oils.  I hope Kyle's response above was helpful to you as well.  Yes, you can use water-mixable oils with a wet on wet painting method, since (as Kyle mentioned above) most brands take at least a couple of days to dry.  As for mediums, most brands also make a matching range of standard mediums (linseed oil, etc.) that have been modified (just like the paints have) to be water-soluble.  To keep your process completely solvent-free, you should only use approved water-mixable oil mediums.  While traditional oils and water-mixable oils can be blended to a degree, doing so can introduce the need for solvents into the process, which kind of negates the purpose of using WMO's in the first place.

I hope that helps!

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Melody Madden

I have always painted with acrylics but have recently switched over to Cobra which I'm loving.  My question has to do with the dullness in some of my browns.  I've heard of oiling out which would even out the sheen.  How would I do that and what Cobra product would be best to use?


Rob of Jerrys Blog Squad

Hi Melody,

If you're looking for your browns to pop a little more, you probably just need a little bit of the Cobra painting medium, just a bit. Mix that in with your brown and it should help the sheen.  If its is just a factor of the browns and them not being bright enough, then maybe it's a color mixing issue and you should look that up online. Try searching for color theory on google and it should help you read up on how to mix clean browns.  

Try the Cobra Painting Medium, you can find it here: www.jerrysartarama.com/.../...painting-mediums.htm

Hope this helps!

Filiberto Goldstock

Awfully illuminating thanks, I do think your current visitors may perhaps want a whole lot more subject material such as this continue the excellent effort.

Judy Smithey

After using water-mixable oils, I'm surprised how well they mix. I love this presentation and look forward
to watching more. It will give artists more confidence to try new things.

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