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How are water-mixable oils different from traditional oils?


Ask Jacksons: How are water-mixable oils different from traditional oils?


Water-mixable oils are oil-based, but they have been modified to allow the oil molecules to bind with water. This means that they can be cleaned up with soap and water, instead of chemical solvents. For this reason, they are popular with artists who want all of the handling qualities of traditional oil paint but prefer to avoid exposure to solvents. Their handling properties are very similar to traditional oil paints. Water-mixable oil mediums (water-soluble versions of the mediums that oil painters will be familiar with) are used to change the viscosity and drying time of the paint. Like traditional oils, they dry by absorbing oxygen from the air and should be allowed to cure for at least six months before varnishing. Some artists report that water-mixable oils dry more matt than traditional oils. If you find this is the case, a gloss varnish can be applied to achieve a glossy finish. For more information about water-mixable oils, read our blog post here.


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What do you need to do to water- mixable oils to make them more impasto?