Oil and water don't mix...

by Jill Booth
(Port Douglas, Australia)

Tropical Ocean

Tropical Ocean

...or so they say.

A while back I decided to ignore this theory and to mix oil paint with acrylic (water based) on my palette.

It was a bit gooey and strange but then, when I started to apply it, I realized that it would work for my subject, which was the ocean, a watery subject anyway.

The oil and water fought of course, with one resisting the other, actual drops of watery acrylic paint being left on the surface or making pockets inside the oil paint.

In parts the oil stuck more to the canvas, in others it was the acrylic that got there first.

Anyhow I was quite pleased with my experiment - but Flemish school or classical it isn't!

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Dec 12, 2009
Abstract Ocean to fall apart?
by: Anonymous

I love the way this looks, as the colors are added towards the bottom. It really looks like an ocean ripple.

I guess my concern would be the mixing and how this painting will appear in say, 25 years, or even 50 years as the two different components of plastic and oil resins begin to collide. Understanding that the acrylic is a plastic and derived from oils in some way? will the entire piece begin to pop off the canvas. Will the acrylics that have dried on top of the oils flake away. Will the oils that have dried on top of the acrylics blister and form odd looking deformations on the canvas? Too many questions that a chemist may be able to answer now, but time will surely tell us in the future.

Keep us posted of its progress, as I would like to know it's outcome. This may not be apparent for years to come, but it may show up sooner than we think!

Thanks for sharing the work. I hope it will not be in vain...

Dec 12, 2009
in fifty years
by: Anonymous

Shall I write to you in fifty years' time?

Seriously, both the acrylic and oil paints are manufactured by Chroma Australia (Archival and Atelier, best quality) and are supposed to be compatible with each other. As you will know it is common practice to under-paint with acrylics and then use oils for subsequent coats so I imagine that all will be well.

However I know little about the chemical bonds etc which are in play so shall pass this query on to the manufacturer, whom I know quite well, and let you know the outcome.

Jun 01, 2010
I love the way it looks!
by: Post Scriptum

I just love these weird combos of paints. So interesting. If you want it to stay hold in the art museum for the next 1000 years, you might want to put some varnish on it.

And: check the powerful artist named Matt Small. This is exactly what he does and what makes his work special.

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