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Acrylic or Oil Paint Better?

Updated on June 20, 2012

Which paint should you use?

This all depends on a personal preference. However, here are my thoughts and opinions of both types of paint. Hopefully this will help you determine the paint type you would like to use. Let's start off talking about oil paints.

Oil paint is obviously oil based. It is slow drying and many artist prefer to use it over other mediums. Oil paint has brilliant and popping colors. Since oil paint is slow drying it offers the artist the opportunity to make changes and blend better. Oil paints have pigments that are mixed with an oil base. Nowadays, Linseed oil is the typical oil that is mixed with the pigments to create oil paint.

This paint can take anywhere from days or weeks to completely dry. This can be a plus or a negative depending on your preference. A plus would be that if you wanted to go back the next day and add to the painting, you certainly could do that. However, if you are painting the piece for a customer, then you may be in a hurry to get it to them. At this time,it would not be good and acrylic would serve better.

Since oil paint is slow drying it can easily be corrected and this is one reason many artist love working with oil. If you make a mistake then you can easily wipe the wet paint off that you don't want. Oil paint brushes must be cleaned immediately after painting and are more expensive than cleaning acrylic brushes. Oil painting requires buying mineral spirits or turpentine. Some people don't use these solvents, but using a paint thinner is the best proven method.

Another reason people love working with oil paints is because of the quality of the paint. Oil paintings last a long time and have proven quality over years.

Now on to acrylic paint.. Acrylic paint has color pigment and is mixed with acrylic polymer. Acrylic paint is another favorite of many artists and personally my favorite too. Acrylic paint dries much faster and it is harder to blend than oil. However with this being said; there are tricks to blend acrylic paint like oil paint. This all comes with experience and technique. When you work with acrylic you can make it look like watercolor, oil, or you can give it texture. Acrylic is more versatile than oil by far.

Acrylic paint dries very fast. Sometimes it dries within 15 minutes or so. However, i would not touch or varnish the painting until after at least 24 hours of drying minimum. I personally wait 3 days to let my acrylic paintings dry before varnishing my paintings. When it comes to costs; acrylic painting is is much cheaper than oil painting all the way around. It cost less to buy the oil paints and it cost less to even clean the brushes. Acrylic brushes can be wash with warm water and soap alone. It doesn't require mineral spirits. Occasionally you may want to do a thorough cleaning and then you can use acetone, but I wouldn't advise this much because it can ruin the brushes with time.

When it all is said and done, whether you choose to paint with oil or acrylic both are great. I hope that this little bit of information will help in your decision on which type of paint to try if you have not had the opportunity to work with these mediums. Peace, love, and blessings!


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