Water mixable oil paint permanence

I have been experimenting with Water Mixable Oils again recently, mostly just for underpaintings to build up some quick washes. One of the things I’ve heard people saying about water miscible oils is that they are not tried and tested over time for permanence and durability. While reading the Winsor and Newton website about their Artisan Water Mixable Range I came across this article:

Artisan Water Mixable Oil colour is a relatively new medium in terms of art materials, however, colours containing oil and water are not new and have in fact existed since prehistoric times. For example, egg tempera is an oil in water emulsion, which has been used by artists for over 600 years.

During the development process, Artisan colours were tested for many properties that would be indicative of its durability such as adhesion, flexibility, drying, film hardness, and water resistance, as well as application properties such as mixability with water, flow, texture retention and wetting. In addition, the full range of colours were painted out on canvas directly from the tube and with mediums and/or water at different thicknesses and have been observed and tested at regular intervals since.

All results from this development stage have confirmed that Artisan does indeed act in the same way as a conventional oil colour.

I found the bit about egg tempera emulsions being used for centuries really interesting and had never thought of that before. There is quite often lots of paranoia in the art painting world about permanence and always using the old painting methods and mediums instead of new modern technology such as alkyd or water mixable oils. It’s nice to see Winsor and Newton fully testing and explaining how they are doing so. This makes it more reassuring to use their products.

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