Distinguishing Oil Painting from Acrylic Painting

Oil Painting vs Acrylic Painting

The differences between oil painting and acrylic painting lie in the properties of oil paint and acrylic paint used to create these two types of paintings. Budding artists often gravitate towards two of the most popular paints available: oil paints and acrylic paints. Many experienced painters advise younger artists to start with acrylic paints and gradually progress to oil paints. To make an informed choice, it is essential to understand the features of both types of paint.

What is Oil Painting?

Oil painting involves the use of oil paint, which is a beautiful but toxic medium that requires artists to work in an open environment to avoid hazardous fumes. Turpentine oil is mixed into the paint to thin it. Oil paintings are known for their durability, with centuries-old paintings still looking beautiful and mesmerizing today, albeit with somewhat faded colors. Oil paints appear more vibrant and deep than acrylic paints.

The drying process of oil paintings is much longer, with paintings sometimes remaining wet for days or weeks. This can be advantageous for artists who want to make changes after hours or even days, as it allows for adjustments and color variations. However, this also means that artists must wait a long time before showcasing their work. Cleaning brushes and hands when using oil paints requires turpentine oil, as they are not easily cleaned.

What is Acrylic Painting?

Acrylic paintings are created using acrylic paint, a water-based and less toxic alternative to oil paint. It can be easily thinned with water and is generally easier to work with, although the resulting paintings may not look as natural as those created with oil paints. Some great artists do not consider acrylic paints as a legitimate painting medium, and using oil paints tends to bring an artist prestige and respect more quickly than using acrylics.

In terms of durability, it is unclear if acrylic paintings will last for centuries, as they were only introduced in the 1950s and do not have the same history as oil paints. Acrylic paints dry much more quickly than oil paints, sometimes within hours or minutes. Retarders for acrylic paints can delay the drying process, but only by a few hours. The fast drying time makes cleaning brushes easier, as they can be cleaned with water alone. Acrylic paints are generally more suitable for students due to their lower cost, and the ability to dilute them with water to create lighter shades, which is not possible with oil paints.

Key Takeaways

  • Oil paintings are created with oil-based paints, while acrylic paintings use water-based paints.
  • Oil paints tend to produce more vibrant and deep colors, while acrylic paints can appear flatter.
  • Oil paints take much longer to dry than acrylic paints, allowing for more time to make adjustments and mix colors.

Ultimately, the choice between oil and acrylic paints depends on factors such as experience level, budget, and working style. If you work slowly and prefer a more vibrant and deep appearance in your paintings, oil paints may be better suited for you. However, if you are a beginner or find cost to be a significant factor, acrylic paints may be the better option. It is important to remember that the type of paint used is secondary to the artistic talent of the individual.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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