Had just enough time to get the grandkids out…no shoes even.
This entry will cover:
- a smattering of beginner questions perhaps not answered elsewhere
- variables in drying time
- drying times of Winsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Oil Paints and mediums
- a focus on the alkyd Fast Drying Medium — fat or lean?
- how to make these paints feel and act more like oil paints (differing preferences and variables)
- practical tips to pull it all together into painting practice
Before We Jump Into Drying Times…Some Beginner Points or Questions
Key: It is better to use as much and no more painting medium than necessary to get the job done and in keeping with oil painting rules. Many artists painting with Artisan oil paints use water only for cleanup or plein air (outside) painting studies.
No, you can’t use cooking oils in oil painting! Also, read this link about drying oils. something just as applicable to water-soluble oil paints.
Know that water-soluble oil paints, which is what W&N Artisan paints are, are indeed oil-based and are not water-based. They are real oil paints. They’ve monkeyed with the oil in the paints and mediums so that the oils in them mix with water, mostly for cleanup considerations so that you don’t have to use toxic solvents (oderless thinners are still toxic!). Water soluble oil paints are still basically pigment powder + oil.
But since they clean up with water, use synthetic and not animal hair brushes.
Vocabulary Note: Other terms used are water-miscible and water-mixable. Sometimes people and manufacturers use hyphens, sometimes they don’t. It’s proper to use hyphens. I drop them when doing web searches.
Student or artist Grade? The Windor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Oil Paints are, in practical terms, in a gray area somewhere between student and artist grade “Purely based on the high grade of raw materials Artisan could be considered an artists’ grade, however, the inclusions of hues and the shorter palette [colors available] means that Artisan can in fact be considered somewhere between an artists’ and students’ grade and is therefore priced accordingly.”
Questions On Mixing Brands and Types of Paint: Between water-soluble oil brands, can I mix paints and/or mediums from one brand with mediums and/or paints from another? In the 2001 book, “Painting With Water Soluble Oils,” the author Sean Dye says “the mediums offered by one company are completely compatible with paints from another.” Things change, new products appear. Winsor & Newton say don’t (2017) — “…different brands of water mixable oils are not necessarily compatible. We only recommend the use of Artisan mediums with Artisan colours.” Can you combine the Artisan paints and mediums with acrylic anything? No!
Some variables in drying times:
- the Artisan painting mediums (thinner, fast drying medium, linseed oil, painting medium, stand oil, safflower oil, impasto medium)
- ambient temperature
- thickness of paint layer
Drying Times of Water and of W&N Artisan Water Mixable Mediums
From fastest to slowest.
- Water (Lean) — Dries 2x faster than if you add thinner. E.g. Imprimatura “stain” layer may dry in 15 minutes. Water causes cloudiness which clears up when dry.
- Thinner (Lean) — Dries 1x faster than paint alone. (Paints alone may take 2 to 5 days to dry.) Yellows less than adding just water.
- Fast Drying Medium (Fatter or Leaner? It’s Complicated, Possibly Leaner, More Below) — Dries 50% faster than paint alone. Is an alkyd based medium so you would use this instead of Liquin.
- Should have enough time to blend.
- Thins colors and increases transparency.
- Can use without linseed oil and in combination with water and/or thinner. (Most seem to have a better painting experience if they use water only for cleanup.)
- Smooths brushwork.
- Resists yellowing.
- Note: In the spirit of K.I.S.S., add either thinner or or oil to Artisan fast drying medium in order to follow fat over lean rule. (More on that below.)
- Impasto (Thicker) — Thickens and speeds drying time 50% faster than paint alone. Build up a thicker impasto layer, letting each layer of impasto dry in between, rather than putting it all down at once or it will collapse in on itself .
- Linseed Oil (Fat) — Slows drying time, the more of it you use, the more it slows drying time. Not as slow drying as painting medium, standing oil, or safflower oil. Is a drying oil.
- Painting Medium (Fat) — Slows drying time more than linseed oil, is stand oil based, and stand oil is a drying oil.
- Stand Oil (Fat) — More durable type of linseed oil, slower drying time then linseed oil. Is a drying oil. Good as a painting medium or oiling out.
- Safflower Oil (Fat) — Used with lighter colors in the upper layer(s) to maintain brightness. Even slower drying time then stand or oil or other oils in this brand’s water mixable oil line. Do not use safflower oil is under linseed oil. Is a semidrying oil.
Is Fast Drying Medium Leaner Than Paint Alone?
According to Winsor & Newton, fat over lean is another way of saying ‘more flexible over less flexible’. Answering the fat versus lean question in regards to the fast drying medium is tricky. Different colors may contain different amounts of oil due to the different natures of the pigments, meaning some pigments have more oils added to them during paint manufacturing. That and other contributing information is proprietary (secret, trademarked, nunya). In conclusion, add either oil or thinner to your quick during medium in order to follow the fact over lean rule.
Add Oil To Fast Drying Medium — The safest way to keep the fat over lean rule is to increase the amount of oil in the form of a drawing or oil or medium added to each subsequent paint later.
Add Thinner to Fast Drying Medium — Adding thinner to artisan quick dry medium will make paint leaner than only quick dry medium added to paint will.
On Combining Mediums, Getting the Paint to Feel and Act More Like Traditional Oil Paints, and Layers
You can combine mediums. First, mix or shake individual mediums according to manufacture’s directions. Then mix the mediums together well. After thise two steps, mix your medium mixture and your paint well.
I see that thoughts on the use of Artisan paintings mediums range from not using any to using a variety, some mixtures, and varying amounts throughout layers of indirect painting (underdrawing, imprimatura, blocking in colors, adding more paint, then glaze layers and perhaps even some impasto).
Some forego all use of mediums and paint with straight paint and are happy with Artisan. They’re probably doing direct painting (like alla prima).
Some use mediums among the layers of indirect painting and mix a combination of painting medium, oil, and alkyd (fast drying medium), and then they mix that into their paint in a one to one ratio. That to them feels and act more like oil paints.
Some will say to use no more than 20% to medium to 80% paint.
Others will tell you that they mix one medium and paint 1:1 (one to one, meaning equal amounts).
Others say just a drop or two of oil added to paints makes them feel like oil paints.
Let’s Get Practical
So many differing opinions out there, so let’s simplify.
- Add water (imprimatura) and/or a thinner and/or quick drying medium only to lower layer(s). Many use water only for clean up, others will use water to clean up and only the imprimatura layer (the staining layer that goes over the underdrawing; it’s thinner and more transparent than toning your canvas with a layer of paint). If you use thinner and/or quick drink mediums in more than one layer, use less with each layer. Because fat over lean and thicker over thinner.
- Thicker over thinner — Keep lower layers thinner; apply thicker paint only in the uppermost layer. Judiciously. Thicker impasto layers have to be built up with multiple applications that are dried in between. Use impasto only in the upper layer.
- Slower Over Faster Drying –– Add alkyd resin medium only to the lowest layer(s). Avoid adding thinner or fast drying medium to upper layers.
- Fat over lean — Add progressively more oil in upper layers. Pay attention to how fast your oils dry. See above.
- Nature over nurture — use slower drying pigments only in upper layer(s) rather than under faster during pigments. Refer to manufactures pigment information. http://www.winsornewton.com/na/discover/tips-and-techniques/oil-colour/understanding-the-drying-times-for-oil-colour-us
Indirect painting method uses mulptiple layers, often from four to 30 or more layers. Each layer dries before adding more paint, unless you’re painting wet-into-wet. Of all the indirect painting method layers, many artists will only start adding mediums to their paints after blocking in their colors. Other might add a combination of thinner and/or alkyd quick drying medium to their paint in the lower layers.
That Feel! Adaptability!
Using a combination of Artisan water mixable mediums with your Artisan paint can yield a more viscous mix so you can adapt techniques closer to traditional methods… and your paints may feel more like traditional oils! So, in an earlier layer, you might mix equal parts Artisan thinner and Artisan oil paint.
Since you can’t use Liquin (alkyd medium) with the Artisan paints without having to switch over to traditional oil paint solvents, you might do something like mix equal parts Artisan fast drying medium and Artisan oil paint.
You can also use combinations of Artisan thinner, fast drying medium and oil paint.
E.g. Use a 1:1 Artisan medium mixture to paint; adjust as you go according to painting rules and your painting needs.
When you get to the stage of adding oil, you can use a dropper or paint brush to add just enough oil or medium to make it feel and act more like traditional oil paints.
Loading a bit more paint on the brush might also help.
Another option? Some artists complete the painting up to the point of blocking in colors with acrylics (underdrawing, imprimatura, underpainting with tonal range), and proceed with the Artisan water mixable paints and mediums thereafter.
This Artist Has Been Working With Winsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Oils and Uses Mediums, Explains a Bunch (Not a Painting Demo)
Winsor & Newton ArtisanPainting Demo, No Tips or Explanation
Disclaimer: I do not work for Winsor & Newton nor am I their associate. I do not sell paint products. I am a tenacious digger and beginner, am self-taught, took a liking to Artisan paints, and gather notes because it’s deep in my nature to do so.
What this page is and isn’t about — It’s about fine art air-dry and polymer clays. It’s not about ceramic, cold porcelain, resin clay, epoxy clays, or any kiln-cured products.
This page was written after reading https://www.reviewstream.com/reviews/?p=155083#thoughts-box, which was about Premier clay, which is an artist grade air-dry clay, and the beginner’s needs and understandable confusion.
For jewelry making, Premo!, Fimo Classic, Kato, and Cernit are some of your better choices of oven-cured polymer clays –they’re durable enough and do not have to be sealed unless certain surface treatments (mica powders like Pearl Ex or Perfect Pearls…) require it. See: https://thebluebottletree.com/seal-polymer-clay/
Durability… While people making charms often use various air-dry clays, they usually don’t construct bracelets or rings out of air-dry clays. Jewelry may take much more wear and tear.
Seal it or not? As a rule, air-dry clays generally have to be sealed once dry and finished but oven-cured polymer clays don’t. (Two-part epoxy clays don’t have to be sealed but although they’re often called air-dry, they actually cure by chemical reaction and may even be able to cure under water. They’re not true air-dry clays.)
Cracks in Premier clay.… Cracks don’t mean your air-dry clay is weak. Premier is one of the strongest air-dry clays. Nearly all air-dry clays have some shrinkage and Premier is no exception, although it shrinks less than some air-dry clays. Having a good armature, if armature is necessary, and using minimal amounts of water while sculpting with Premier can decrease the likelihood or severity of cracks. Sometimes cracks happen but they’re easily be repaired with Premier, even if your item dried. See the below video. Cracks may occur if you added too much water while sculpting, used a cardboard armature, used thin clay over a rigid armature (Ostrich legs, for example), let your item dry too quickly, or didn’t support sculpture parts subject to gravity. Don’t dry your Premier clay items under a fan, for example. Do remember to keep unused clay in an air-tight bag and/or container.
For figurative works, Premix, an air-dry clay made by the same company as Premier, is easier to sculpt and blend than Premier. Doll artist Hannie Sarris loved Premix clay. Premier clay may take some different sculpting techniques than what one would be used to with polymer clay and one uses minimal (!) amounts of water are used while sculpting Premier. People working with these air-dry clays might lightly dab their fingers across a wet sponge to keep clay moist enough while sculpting. They may use a mister type of water bottle. Do not use Sculpey Clay Softener or any type of oil to soften, smooth, and blend these air-dry clays — they are hybrid clays and have their own characteristics, sculpting techniques, storage and compatibility considerations. They’re not like the majority of polymer clays that are oven-cured (e.g., Fimo Classic, Fimo Soft, Cernit, Fimo Doll, Premo!). They’re not like most air-dry clays on the market. They are used by a number of very famous art doll artists and others.
So yes, there are indeed air-dry polymer clays — Activa Lumina Translucent Polymer Clay, Staedtler Fimo Air Basic Modeling Clay, and Activa LaDoll Premier clay are examples of air-dry polymer clays. Activa, the company that makes laDoll Premier clay, describes Premier clay as a type of polymer clay on their site. Lumina has long been known to the polymer clay community. Fimo Air Basic is weaker than either of those.
Polymer clays have their own issues — Dirt, lint, hair, compatibility issues, and baking considerations (always monitor your oven with two oven thermometers, not counting the oven’s own temperature reading). If you look at it that way, a few easily repaired cracks in Premier clay items isn’ts a bad deal.
Sculpey Diluent, AKA liquid Sculpey Clay Softener, works with oven-cured polymer clays, specifically, and not with air-dry polymer clays. Here’s the Sculpey Clay Softener Material Safety Data Sheet: https://www.sculpey.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Clay-Softener-SDS-10282015.pdf
In contrast, Makin’s, Hearty, Das, “cold porcelain” clays, Creative Paperclay, Celluclay, and epoxy putties are not polymer clays no matter who describes them as such.
For a whole lot of information on all things polymer and air-dry clay, see:
- http://www.glassattic.com/ — About polymer clay … it’s like an encyclopedia
- http://www.garieinternational.com.sg/clay/shop/tension_test.htm — Which polymer clay is strongest?
https://thebluebottletree.com/ — Lots of definitive polymer clay articles and fantastic tutorials
- http://www.polymerclayweb.com/ — About polymer clay, has some tutorials
- http://www.garieinternational.com.sg/clay/clay.htm — Polymer clay 101 for beginners, the quick run through of brands
http://www.jaedworks.com/clayspot/polyclay-faq/basics.html — Information page about clays, written a while ago I think but still very relevant
Individual Dick Blick clay description pages —
- https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0276/9565/files/air_dry_clay_differences.pdf?1927224553175816568 — Specific to the differences between Activa’s Premier, Premix, and Satin Smooth clays
- https://youtu.be/JrIGZZXiPpo — a video about air dry clays, cardboard armature, drying too quickly, cracking, and how to fix the crack(s)
- https://karenascofield.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/strongest-air-dry-clay-for-sculpting-art-dolls/ — My other page on Premier Clay
- http://airdryclay.blogspot.com/p/adc-brands.html — a nice list of air-dry clays, just to give you an idea about such things
…Or go to clay manufacturers’ sites and hit their FAQs and MSDS pages. I wish there were sculpting, storage, compatibility, MSDS and other information (to seal or not to seal) with each clay package that one takes home, but that’s sadly not the case.
My Results From the Levo app regarding thinking talents.
As you can see, it picks up on my autism-related deficiencies/differences/advantages. My relational quadrant is empty (not in real life), but then the underlying social constructs de rigueur these days overwhelmingly favor charming extroverts, the more gregarious a la neurotypical fashion they are the better. I see it offers are some pointers about things “relational” but ultimately for someone like me, this test may not pick up on social and communication alternatives. Here’s a TED talk that challenges Introverts with a capital “I” being placed at the top of whatever constructs we can devise without more penetrating examination.
- I tend to do my best thinking alone. That is core the body of any Venn diagram about myself).
- I don’t do well with snap decisions, often go through a vigorous fact checking process, may research a topic north south east and west, and need time to think through pros and cons.
- I prefer advanced notice about events or needed decisions.
- I need a good amount of alone time to do my best thinking, stay true to myself, and stay on track.
- As much as possible, I need to let people know I will get back to them on the topic or decision rather than keep them hanging.
What do I need to work on: I need to devise purposely nurture relationships with “big thinkers.” Spending time with them will nourish and inspire my thinking processes.
Since my relational skills are peculiar or lacking, I do best with other like people, meaning they are rather direct communicators who are or do well with those on the autism range.
It seems I should partner with someone who excels in people, feeling skills and bringing things to action. That sounds like a neurotypical rather than someone who is on the autism range too. Neurotypicals usually shun people like me with a vengeance. What to do? I don’t want a relationship of unequals, so rather than some sort of setup that involves being mentored, I probably would do best in a co-mentoring relationship in which each recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of themselves and each other, without the ego trips or superiority complexes and other such baggage. Ideally. If I can’t get that, I can at least use a certified accountant and other specialists to help me get an art career off the ground.
Keeping the above in mind, the below from my about me page may make more sense!
I design and make figurative bead or art dolls, whip together spirit dolls, art journal, do fine art paintings, create mixed media mosaics, and get into some fabric arts!
My blog pages reflect my intense, playful nature that leads me to intermittently research art mediums/techniques N, S, E, W, and outside the box for years on end so that I can readily dip my hands into multiple art mediums and play, sometimes exactingly and sometimes experimentally. To the core, it’s my nature to take things art further and I have no qualms about expanding and correcting my pages as new products or information comes along. Making art stirs up a deep-seated sense of awe, a child’s sense of wonder, a well-seasoned intellectual curiosity, and the sense that creation is a spiritual experience. Ideas for art constantly fly into my head and I keep notes. Days are never long enough.
A little background... Some of my polymer clay beads appear in the book Polymer Artists Showcase, by tejae floyde. My 1st two art dolls were in Kenosha Wisconsin’s Lemon Street Art Gallery, where I was a member from 2005 to 2007. Lovely place. (I had no idea I could sculpt until I was in my mid to late 40s. It turns out that my dominant dominant intelligence is spatial, helpful in more 3D arts.)
Sculpting figurative beads of polymer or earthenware ceramic clay, resin, making my own prototypes and molds, art dolls, spirit dolls, mixed media mosaics, art journaling, water-based painting, and bouts of fabric arts (cotton, Kraft-tex, paper cloth AKA fabric paper).
I’m socially awkward (autistic) and do best with kind but exquisitely forward people who don’t infer or beat around the bush so if you talk with me, just say what you mean/feel yet remain respectful. (Hint: I love pluralism, eclecticism, constructive criticism and civil rights. I’m incredibly tolerant up to the point of intolerance, brainwashing, purposefully burdensome learned helplessness/ignorance, and other stupid toxic people tricks.)
Watermedia Warning: I’m an unabashed Cretacolor, Liquitex, Golden, and Da vinci fluid acrylics fan.
Ceramic — Earthenware, Raku
Polymer Clay — Cernit, Fimo Doll/Professional, Kato, Pardo, Premo, Sculpey UltraLight for under structures/armature
Air Dry Clay — La doll Premier, Creative PaperClay, Professional Cold Porcelain
Favorite Artist Paints:
Winsor & Newton Watercolors
Golden Acrylics — Fluid Acrylics, Heavy Body
Da Vinci Fluid Acrylics
Liquitex — Soft Body, Heavy Body, Spray can), Basics
Favorite Acrylic Craft Paints (Art Journaling):
Favorite Watermedia Pencils and Water-Soluble Oil Pastels, in Order of Preference:
Cretacolor (artist grade) — AquaMonoliths, AquaStics, AquaBricks
Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils
Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Artists’ Crayons (not as lightfast as Cretacolor, across the board)
Inktense Pencils (the more lightfast shades)
Note: In any fine art, I only use water-soluble oil products on top of acrylics or watercolors, for final finishing touches, if I use them at all.
Favorite Opaque Markers and Pens for Art Journaling:
Uni Posca Paint Pens (remain water-soluble — judiciously seal with 3 layers spray sealant)
Sakura Gelly Roll Pens (no sealant
100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
Sakura Pigma Micron Pens (permanent, can watercolor and paint over them!)
Favorite Sketching Pencils and Powders:
Cretacolor — Artist sketching pastel pencils, carre hard pastels, sketching leads and holders, sketching powders.
Pitt Pastel pencils
Prismscolor sketching pencils
Unison Soft Pastel Red Earth 10
Canson, Strathmore 400 or 500 series, Canva-Paper, Stonehenge, Fabriano Soft Watercolor Paper, Yupo
Favorite Art Board:
Ampersand (especially their Aquabord)
Fredix Archival Watercolor panels
Favorite Illustration Boards:
Fredrix — Watercolor Canvas and their canvas for acrylics
Favorite Canvas Pads:
Fredrix — Regular and Watercolor
Favorite Mixed Media Pads:
Canson XL Mix Media (for art journaling)
Stathmore 400 or 500
Liquitex (not Basics!)
Winsor & Newton
Martin F. Weber Prima (art journaling and DIY art boards, has a lovely matte eggshell smooth texture)
Krylon — Matte Finish, Workable Fixatif, or UV Resistant Clear Matte
Lascaux UV Protect 2 or 3
Blair Very Low Odor Spray Fix
Plaid Patricia Nimrocks Clear Acrylic Sealer Matte (for crafts only)
Favorite Colored Pencils:
I can’t afford those! Nevermind. Sigh.
I did unwittingly get Prismacolor pencils from after their factories moved to Mexico and too many leads fall out of the pencils or break. Grrr.
I’m not so much in love with colored pencils, presently.
Strong quality cotton threads
English, Estonian, French, German, Swedish, Dutch, Norwegian, Punjabi, Spanish, and Italian.
Favorite Cuisines in Order of General Preference:
Punjabi, Chinese, Mexican, Greek, Estonian, French, American.
Note that all my work is copyrighted and you may not use it without explicit written permission.
I added crushed, shiny micaceous (meaning it’s loaded with mica) rock, fine gold glitter, and Blank Slate Gold and Silver Flake Mix, in order of volume, to some Premo! polymer clay (a Sculpey product). That’s why it’s sparkly and can appear darker or very light depending on how the light shines on it and it moves, you see sparkles as well as flashes and glints.
Aside: The Backstory on the Micaceous Rock: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sari0009/19354330223/in/dateposted-..
The Paint (and A Closed US Office)
Viva Decor’s US office closed in 2015 and my bottle is labeled “Precious Metal Colour” because that is how the UK spells it. Many sites and blogs still use the US spelling (Precious Metal Color), you may notice.
Inclusions Added to the Paint
Precious Metal Colour gold colored paint, specifically, has larger glitter-like particles while the mica powder has super fine (!) particles.
- Alone, Pearl-Ex mica powder has a very slight orangish undertone by comparison.
- Alone, Previous Metal Color is a bit bright and silvery.
- Combined, the color is amazing and the larger particles of the paint aren’t glaringly evident.
So, I added a decent amount of Pearl Ex mica powder to Viva Decor “Precious Metal Colour.”
Rule: With mica powder, less is more, meaning you start by adding very small amounts and adjust according to your liking. I found my mix pleasing as a 14 karat gold color.
This doctored up Viva Decor “Precious Metal Colour” acrylic/enamel paint was painted in 3 or 4 layers on an already baked Premo polymer clay mix.
The bezels were entirely painted with the paint while the figurative beads only had detail work painted.
All but one were heat-set at 275°F for 30 minutes. There was no visual or tactile difference between the baked and unbaked paint.
I couldn’t scratch the paint off with a fingernail once the paint was heat-set. The paint looks the most like real gold. I finally, after years of looking for a rather durable solution, now have a tremendous amount of confidence regarding gold detail work on my beads and pendants.
Although Varathane Gloss sealant is one of the top choices for sealing polymer clay, it’s water-resistant, not waterproof. I’d prefer not to have to seal my beads at all.
Acrylic Paints — Drying Time vs. Cured
Note: There is A difference between drying time in curing time. Drying time might occur within minutes or a few hours for acrylic paints while curing time might take a few days. This difference might help explain some problems with heat-setting acrylic paints a polymer clay.
I say it might help explain some of the problems because, according to Blue Bottle Tree, there was a correlation between painting the paint on raw polymer clay before heat-setting and the paint bubbling. This was dependent upon brand of acrylic paint and/or polymer clay, whether the clay was raw or cured, and other factors. For more information, see that Blue Bottle Tree blog post.
One Minor Problem to Solve
When removing these painted bezels from the glossy tile they were baked on, some of the gold paint stuck to the tile. There was enough paint remaining on the bezels so this wasn’t a problem but I’d would still prefer this not happen.
Perhaps baking on a silicone mat would improve things.
Two of these darlings are in Red Roses Bead Haven, a local bead shop, to test the waters, as it were.
Pictures and a short video. These pendants represent my first experience with teaching myself how to sculpt and work with ceramics. I previously worked with polymer clay. It’s taken me four months to get to this point because I don’t own my own glazes or kiln. I’m lucky enough that a local art gallery will fire them for me and will let me use donated glazes. However, it’s often three weeks or so between firings, more if the kiln breaks down as it did recently.
One is made of red micaceous (contains mica) clay and didn’t need to be glazed like the rest.