Oil Painting vs Acrylic Painting
All the differences between oil painting and acrylic painting have to do with the qualities of oil paint and acrylic paint that are used to create these two types of paintings. If you are a budding artist, you are naturally fascinated by two of the most popular paints that are available for you to make paintings and these are oil paints and acrylic paints. There are many seasoned painters who advice younger generation to begin with acrylic paints and slowly graduate to oil paints, but do you know the differences between oil and acrylic paints first to make a clear choice between the two? It makes sense to know the features of both to decide on the type of paint for your painting that is suitable and makes it stand out from the rest.
What is Oil Painting?
Oil painting is a painting made using oil paint. No doubt oil paints are a beautiful medium to work with but they are toxic and a painter needs to work in an open environment to save himself from the hazardous fumes. To thin an oil paint, turpentine oil is mixed in the paint.
One thing that can be said about oil paintings is that they are durable. Paintings done in oil paints centuries ago look beautiful and mesmerizing even today though the colors fade somewhat. If you have look at an oil painting, you will see that oil paints look much more vibrant and deep than acrylic paints.
When it comes to the duration of the drying process, a painting done in oil paints may remain wet even after days or weeks. This is a point that goes in favor of oil paints as painters desire to make changes after hours and even days if they feel some aspect of their painting is not coming out as anticipated. This means that you can make changes and variations in colors even after a few days if you have used oil paints. However, this is also a disadvantage as once a painter has finished a painting he has to wait for a long time to show his work.
Turpentine oil is required to clean up brushes as well as your hand when using oil paints as they are not very easily cleaned out.
What is Acrylic Painting?
Acrylic paintings are made using acrylic paint. This acrylic paint is water based and is not that toxic when compared with oil paint. It can be easily thinned using water and is easy to work with in general, though paintings do not come out as natural as with oil paints. Great artists refuse to accept acrylic paints as legitimate painting medium. To be frank, oil paints get a painter prestige and respect much earlier than when he uses acrylic paints.
When it comes to the durability, we cannot say acrylic paintings lasts for centuries as they were introduced fairly recently as in 1950s. They are not as old as oil paints in any case.
Another major point of differentiation lies in the fact that acrylic paints being water based dry up quickly in hours if not minutes. These days, retarders for acrylic paints are available though they can delay setting of acrylic paints only by a few hours.
Fast drying means, clean up of brushes is easier in case of acrylic paints as brush becomes clean with just water. For students, acrylic paints tend to be better as they are quite inexpensive and students can also experiment with them by adding water to dilute them to get a lighter shade which is not possible with oil paints.
What is the difference between Oil Painting and Acrylic Painting?
• Paints used:
• Oil painting is painted using oil paints, which is oil based.
• Acrylic painting is done with acrylic paint, which is water based.
• Both acrylic painting and oil painting are beautiful. However, oil paints look much more vibrant and deep than acrylic paints.
• Most artists find acrylic paints to be flat.
• Time Taken to Dry:
• Oil paintings take much longer to dry out in comparison to acrylic paintings.
• Mixing Colors:
• Since oil paints takes a lot of time to dry, mixing colors together is much easier.
• Since acrylic paints dry faster, mixing colors can be a little difficult.
• Making Corrections:
• Since oil paints dry slower, you can edit the painting even after you have finished painting the whole picture.
• Since acrylic paint dries faster, you may have to go to extra measures to change the painting. For example, you may have to paint white the area that is not right and then painting the right appearance on top.
• For Whom:
• Oil paints are for ones who have some experience in painting.
• Acrylic paints are better suited for beginners who have to explore their talent and are still learning.
• Acrylic paints are cheaper than oil paints.
• Oil paintings sell for more than acrylic paintings.
• Oil paints are more toxic than acrylic paints.
If you work slowly taking your own time, not rushing into things, oil paints are perhaps better for you. But try to keep windows open to save yourself from hazards of toxins in oil paints. If you are a beginner, and money means a lot to you, acrylics are obviously better being cheaper. But oil paintings sell for more thus, offsetting their initial higher cost. However, you have to remember that the paint you use will not matter if you do not have an artistic talent to begin with.
- ‘Winter Landscape, Laval’, oil on canvas painting by Cornelius Krieghoff via Wikicommons (Public Domain)
- Bamburg Castle Acrylic Canvas Art Painting by Rumneyexclusive (CC BY-SA 3.0)