Water Mixable Oils

watermixableoilsI had been considering taking the plunge and trying out artist oil paints for weathering and painting structures as described by David Wright in his book. I like the texturing capability and the long drying times. More time to fiddle with things is a plus in my book. However, I have been hesitating for a couple of reasons.

Traditional oil paints use mineral spirits, turpentine and similar nasty stuff for thinners. I really was not keen on having to deal with the smell, disposal or what a flux spiller such as myself might accomplish with turpentine around models.

Oil paints seem expensive. Itty bitty tube of paint is how much?!? On the other hand, in the quantities required for dry brushing and washes a 37ml tube will likely last for years. It would last even longer if the whole idea is a bust.

I am no artist. Maybe I won’t be able to achieve decent results. There is that perfectionist paralysis threatening again. I clubbed that over the head and stuffed it into the trunk. I may not manage it but I certainly won’t if I don’t have a go.

The solution to the thinner issue is something I discovered as I was researching (aka Google) the subject, water mixable oils. These are oil paints in which the oil has been chemically altered to make it mixable, not soluble with water. You can thin and clean with water, use regular oil mediums (no idea what those are for yet) and get the long drying time, colour stability and imperviousness to water when dry of traditional oils. Or so I am led to understand.

On the cost front, water mixable oils are even more expensive than regular ones by, at lest locally, about 30%. On the other hand, they are readily available at art supply stores as well as my local arts and crafts chain behemoth so I can acquire them incrementally.

I picked a few tubes up today along with a couple of brushes and a remarkably inexpensive plastic pallet (27 cents!) and dove right in with a test. I had previously prepared a short length of ties on Homasote and sprayed them with Rustoleum camouflage brown. The basic strategy is to paint the track structure and weather from there. The initial brown is definitely too dark and even for my little industrial spur.

Initial results are not too discouraging. I mucked about with a couple of dabs of raw umber, titanium white and yellow ochre. I definitely need more practice with mixing proportions, diluting, and so on but I can believe in the possibility. Note to self, less white next time.firsttryoils

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