Friday, January 27, 2017

Traveling light with water soluble oils

I started off the New Year with a trip to Sedona, AZ.  It was my first visit to the area and I was amazed by the scenery.  It was a time to relax with family but I still painted five little studies.  I wanted to travel light so I took a limited palette of water soluble oils for easy clean up.

Sedona Red
oil  6 x8

It's true they aren't as buttery and smooth as regular oil paints but I found that using a medium, fast drying linseed oil, intended for them made them very workable.  IMHO it's best to just load your brush and paint pretty thickly from the beginning, working a little medium into your pile of paint to find the consistency you like.

Sedona Yellow
oil  6x8

The colors don't have the transparency of some traditional oil colors and if you're like me and often use transparents first you'll miss that.  And of course glazing is out.  But who glazes in plein air anyway?  So what you might miss is made up by extra suitcase space sans your turp container and solvents and all the extra time you save with the easy non toxic clean up.

Great way to travel light.

Thanks for following along!


  1. It appears you handled them very well. Your paintings still look like yours...wonderful!
    I agree - the transparency with the darker paints is an issue but for plain air studies I think you worked it out perfectly.
    I honeymooned in Sedona/Oak Creek as my husbands family were from that area. It has changed a lot over the many years but still love to visit.

    1. Thank you Julie, I appreciate your comment. Sedona must have been a shocking contrast to the UK! Both beautiful but so different.

  2. What colors did you use in your limited palette? What brand of water solubles are you using? I've tried to switch to water soluble oils since Steve's cancer diagnosis but I really miss my traditional oils.

  3. Hi Jane, I have had the same experience in the past. But painting in the Adirondacks I was given a quinac sienna in Daniel Smith and started using it without knowing it was water soluble. My friend did the same and we didn't realize it was not actual oil till the end of the week. Shock! So I expanded on the Daniel Smith because I think they've improved since my first go- but it probably had more to do with the linseed oil medium also put out b Daniel Smith. It worked great, but seems to work best when you go in thick. Painting thin and glazing seem to be limited. I took, white, cad yellow, cad red and cad red medium, Alizarin, Ceurulean, Colbalt, Ultra Marine, Viridian, and Black. I could have narrowed it down more but that's pretty limited for me. LOL While I might just use a few, you know I like to have my options! Try the medium with what you've got and see if you like it. Really glad to hear that Steve is doing so well!