Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesVisual ArtsPainting · 1 decade ago

Water-soluble Oil paint vs. Alkyd Oil Paint ?

Can someone clear up for me the differences between Alkyd oil and water-soluble oils?. Odor is a highly important factor as well as drying time, and how long it will take until I may varnish the piece properly. I do not wish to wait 7 months to varnish a piece (as I've been told with the WS kind), and at the same time would prefer not to kill my parrot (or anyone else) with toxic fumes.

Both oil types I'm interested in are ..

Winsor & Newton Griffin Alkyd Oils

Winsor & Newton Water-mixable Oils

I also wanted to note that my studio is also my typical sleeping area, bizarre or not. Would drying oil paintings in the area release too much toxic fumes to be safe (in terms of my personal health) overnight until I can ventilate the area again in the morning?. Do alkyds or water-soluble oil paints do this?. Which is safer?. I'm in the transition period of making painting my full time job, and in turn, have devoted quite a bit to art nowadays.

3 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    its not the oil paints that cause the toxics fumes as is the acetone and thinners used for the oil paints. of course the oil paints are longer lasting for color, etc. but you'll be dead long before you need to worry about the colors fading. lol lol

  • 1 decade ago


    I would go for alkyd oils because those can be mixed with regular oils but the water mixable probably can't. Instead of using full on turpentine, have you tried the lower odor Turpenoid, W&N Sansodor, or the orange based turpentine substitutes.

    You can also get some possible ventillation helps if you are trying to combine a living and studio area. Try NoxOut Molecular Absorbers that are especially made for oil and acrylic artists and photographers to absorb any harmful or odorous fumes. You might also try to see if you could possibly get a cabinet to dry the paintings in, or if it might be possible to somehow put them outdoors to minimize your exposure.

    You might try checking with others artists who may use water soluble oils. A good site to check might be the wetcanvas one - it is an online artists community with more than 95,000 worldwide members. Basic membership is completely free, and this website rocks!

    For sources of the solvents and NoxOut, check out Jerry's Artarama, Art Supply Warehouse Express, Cheap Joes, Dick Blick, MisterArt.

    Hope this helps, and I truly hope you are able to find a solution that will work out well for you.

  • 1 decade ago

    As the previous poster stated, it's really not the pigments in solution that produce the odors, it's the mediums (white spirit, turpentine etc.) that thin or treat them.

    I have used studio quality water soluble oils and found them to have a very vibrant saturation of color and a buttery texture comparable to high quality traditional oils.

    What I'm uncertain of is the archival quality. It seems there are different schools of thought about the stability of the modified oils (linseed and safflower) that are used to suspend the pigments after some considerable drying time.

    Truthfully, I don't believe the fumes of any of the chemicals traditionally used with flat artistry would be harmful with a moderate precaution to ventilation. Perhaps you can visit the Winsor and Newton website or get specific imformation through one of the art suppliers on line?

    In fact, as funny as it sounds, I don't think I would come to rely heavily on water soluble oils because I would miss the familiar smell of turpentine.

    Then there are those that insist that artists are all a bit um.... different because of the fumes.

    I say choose your poison..... turpentine and the joy of art or smelling exhaust fumes in a traffic jam on your way to work.

    Congratulations on choosing to devote more time to art, I wish you the best of luck :)

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