Should I Paint with Oils or Acrylics?

"Indian Summer", 11" x 14", Oil on wood panel

“Indian Summer”, 11″ x 14″, Oil on wood panel, Karen Gillis Taylor

This is a little like comparing apples and oranges, as I find them so different.

Oils: superior ease of blending, and slightly easier to mix. Slow drying time might be problematic for certain artists, not for others. You must remember to paint “fat over lean.” They are messier, and good ventilation of your room is important. (I don’t trust that odorless thinners are less toxic to breathe.) Given all that, the blending and textures you can achieve with less effort are marvelous. Effects are rich and luscious.

Rosy Reverie, 30" x 40", acrylic on canvas, Karen Gillis Taylor

Rosy Reverie, 30″ x 40″, acrylic on canvas, Karen Gillis Taylor

Acrylics: Extremely versatile. You can paint thin like watercolors and think like opaque oils. Quick drying time is a big plus, and you can paint over the top of each layer easily. I think acrylics are an excellent choice for beginning painters. Clean up is much easier, no bad fumes as the solvent is water. You have to work a little more to get a nice blended transition, as in a smooth background of softly changing values. But you can achieve this. Great for experimenting with dripping paint and other effects. Great for collage elements too. A good modern paint. I think Gauguin would have used acrylics if he had them in his day, because of his style.

So it might boil down to the technique you use when you paint, as to the perfect choice for you.



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2 Responses to “Should I Paint with Oils or Acrylics?”

  1. Leslie Ann Clark Says:

    I love both of your techniques for different reasons. lovely lovely! you are so talented!


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