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Pryce Studios Newsletter Archive

Pryce Studios Newsletter
July 09, 2011 - No. 14  

Water Soluble Oils

I was recently asked to write an article on Water soluble oils for an art magazine.  My experience with the medium is limited to some studio time and my trip to the Arctic in 2006. Water soluble oils were my medium of choice on that trip as the carrying of solvents on board a plane was not allowed. I also took another water based medium, liquid acrylics which doubled quite well as watercolors for my sketchbook. I found the water soluble oils quite acceptable especially in the rather moist air that we experienced at sea.  Earlier this week I had the opportunity to paint an early morning sunrise in Mildmay Ontario, and decided to try the water based oils as well as a limited palette for a further challenge.  My choice of colors for a limited palette are:  lemon yellow, ultramarine blue, permanent rose, titanium white and black. I will elaborate on my color choices for a limited palette in a later newsletter.

I used a 12" x 16" masonite panel that was sealed with a shellac based primer and two coats of gesso. I did not bring my French Easel and regular equipment as I was limited to what I could take on this trip.  

Here is a photo of my very utilitarian set-up. I found sitting rather strange and restrictive, as I prefer to stand to get the best view from a higher vantage point.

My rustic setup

My simple setup. 

The scene from my chair

The scene from my chair.  

Developing the work

In the past I tried the 'fast drying medium' but found it rather sticky and not suitable for subsequent application of pigment. Instead I decided to simply apply the underpainting as dry as possible with very  little water.  

The finished piece  The rest of the painting proceeded in the same manner as with regular oils but I found that the water soluble oils generally don't not move as freely with the brush.  

Close Up

This is a close-up of the finished painting to illustrate the texture of the paint. I find them rather "waxy" for want of a better  description, but I know that there are a lot of artists that find them suitable for their needs. In all fairness, I am going to experiment with different mediums that may help make them more 'buttery'.  

Thanks for being with me on this trip and keep those brushes clean and ready to go.

 Best Regards,


 Quote of the week:

 "Have no fear of perfection, you will never reach it."

Salvador Dali

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