Cobra Solvent-Free Oil Colors

Cobra (named for the artist group CoBrA, an abbreviation of Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam, the cities from which the artists originated), is a true oil color, with pigment and drying oils (linseed, or for a few whites – safflower oil). Using a plant-based emulsifier, the paint accepts water instead of solvent as a means to thin and clean up. There is no water in the paint, it is an oil paint, not an acrylic and not a watercolor.

Similar to the technology that egg temperas or casein paints employ, the emulsifier is allowing the water to bond to the paint, also called emulsifying.

All rules and best practices of oil painting are still relevant. The fat over lean principle should still be followed, and drying times are similar as all other oils paints. The paintings should still be varnished after 6-12 months of oxidation has happened, in order to provide protection to the final paint layer.

Cobra can be used in conjunction with regular oil paints, and when the ration is at least 2:1 Cobra to another paint, the emulsifier is strong enough to carry the additional paint load and continue to break down with water.

We also offer painting medium, both in the standard form, as a gel impasto (painting paste) as well as a “quick-dry” medium which will accelerate the dry time. For final glazing layers, our glazing medium can also be used.

Cobra is a great solution for:

  • Artists who travel and/or paint outside (en Plein Air)

  • Schools, ateliers and Universities who prefer a safer, more environmental painting experience, but do not want to give up the benefits of oil painting

  • Artists who have a sensitivity to solvents and want to employ safer studio practices

We offer Cobra in both the professional range, called “Cobra Artist” as well as a student range called Cobra Study, which has a lower price point and a more limited palette which doesn’t include the heavy metal pigments.

Don’t take our word for it, ask some of the many professional artists and schools which have made the switch to Cobra and are painting more easily and healthy thanks to Cobra!