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Solving the Solvents

8 thoughts on “Solving the Solvents”

  1. I was hoping to read information in this article that involved the growing interest and use of water mixable oil paints. Are these relatively new paints not recommended?

    • Hello Fred,

      Unfortunately, water miscible oils were not within the scope of our testing for this article. The fact is, we simply have not tested water miscible oil paints in any significant way, so do not have a recommendation as to their performance or longevity. There is a short article in “Modern Paints Uncovered” that discusses the “The Performance and Properties of Artisan Water Mixable Oil Colour Compared with Other Oil-Based Paints by Winsor & Newton”. Although this article only discusses Winsor & Newton’s paints, it may have some insights into the overall performance of water mixable oil paints in general. The article is on page 54. The PDF for “Modern Paints Uncovered” can be found here: https://www.getty.edu/conservation/publications_resources/pdf_publications/pdf/modern_paints_uncovered_vl_opt.pdf

      We hope this information is helpful!

      Best Regards,
      Greg Watson
      Materials Application Specialist

  2. Hi,
    I am a newly returning oil paint user with minimal structured education in the matter. Because I was so excited to jump right in after nearly 30 years of not touching paints, I used what I had on hand: oil paints thinned with an odourless solvent. As I have been working on my first painting and preparing new canvases, I am realizing that first painting should have had oil added as a thinning medium. I am not fully finished the painting and am wondering about oiling out the entire surface of the piece and how that might affect it. Can anyone offer input on this?
    Thank you , from the old newbie.

    • Hi Serena –

      First, welcome back to oils!! It is such a wonderful medium and we are happy to help you get reacquainted, so never hesitate to reach out to us at with questions about anything! In terms of your question, if the painting is thin, but not overly sensitive to the color lifting up, you can simply treat it as an underpainting and paint on top using oil paint by itself or with some medium. It is not unusual for artists to start a painting using just thinner to begin with. We would not recommend oiling out over the entire painting, unless you were truly planning on applying fresh paint over the entire surface. Otherwise you would be adding a non-removable layer that will yellow over time. To learn more about our advice on oiling out, please see the following Just Paint article: Oiling Out and the Cause of Dead Spots in Oil Paintings As that piece will show, it is fine to oil out in any areas where you will be painting – just not over everything. Then, once the piece is finished, if you want to help protect the surface and even out any differences in sheen, you could apply a varnish after any painted areas are fully dry. Because varnishing can involve a lot of options and be complicated, if you do choose to try that, please reach out to us and we can go over the process and best recommendations. Hope that helps!


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