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Water Soluble Oils...Are They Worth the Hype?

This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you choose to click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

If you are anything like me, then you could stay in the art store for hours scouring new products, exploring materials, and brainstorming new surfaces to test out for your next series. When COVID hit, I found myself inside a lot more and wanted to test out water soluble oils because they seemed easier to clean-up and didn’t require solvent. After playing around, I am excited to share with you how easy they are to use and my favorite brand!


The main reason I made the switch from traditional oil paints to water soluble oils was for my health. I often would get headaches when using oils and the solvents that accompanied them. With these oil paints, you can thin them with water and don’t have to deal with the chemicals associated with the traditional variety.


Because no solvents are needed you can clean up using soap and water!


Because solvents aren’t required, you can take these anywhere. All you need is a tube of paint, a brush, something to paint on and water. I have found these are great for plein air paintings or to bring with me when traveling.


Contrary to popular belief, these are real oils. They dry quicker than oils but much slower than acrylics. Mediums can be added to make them dry quicker or slower similar to traditional oils. The best part, they smell like I the only one who loves that smell? Overall, I love water soluble oils. I think they are a great way to get into oil painting and is great if you have pets or little ones around.

My favorite brand is the Holbein Duo Water-Soluble Oils. I can't always find them at my local art store, so I usually buy them from Blick Art Materials. If you are just trying them out, I recommend buying a small set or just a couple of tubes to see how you like them.

I would love to hear from you! Comment below with your experience using these paints.


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