View Full Version : oil over heavy acrylic paint

01-09-2019, 12:47 PM
I was given a 16x20" stretched canvas that has what appears to be a painting amount (as opposed to a thin underpainting amount) of (probably) acrylic paint on most of it, as a bag of acrylic paint came with it. Except for a T shape right down the middle. The leg is about 13" long and 3" wide. The bar across the top is also about 13" long, and any acrylic there is none to pretty thin. It's about 4" wide.
It MAY have been gessoed prior to the acrylic paint. No, I can't find out.

What do you suggest?
I planned to use this for an oil painting, not a practice piece.

01-09-2019, 01:11 PM
Is the paint thick & textured?
Are you asking about painting over the top of it, or trying to clean it off for reuse?
Basically you can use oils over acrylics but any thick or thin spots will show thru.
Unless you plan a composition to hide those areas..

I think you could also sand re-gesso with some layers..to smooth it out..

01-09-2019, 03:58 PM
I'm asking about painting on top. My proposed painting is a landscape. Most paint is smooth enough. Where it is slight textrue, it won't be a problem.
I expect to put a bunch of time into it--I'm not a fast painter. If the oil on thick acrylic will probably flake off, I won't use it for this.

01-09-2019, 04:02 PM
What about just taking it off the stretchers and flipping it over? Then you can restretch, prime, and paint without even caring about the painting on the back.

Frame it as a feature of the painting, one on front and one on back; or cover the acrylic painting completely in one color, then do the above operation. Most people never even look at the back of a painting, and you can also put canvas board backing on the back, further hiding the acrylic painting on the other side of the canvas. :)

Alan P. in OC
01-09-2019, 06:24 PM
What is your time worth? Is it worth more than a $10 canvas, that you can start painting on immediately? Do you want to spend days or weeks on an oil painting and find that it's not adhering well, or that you don't like the acrylic impasto messing up your new landscape, or any of a hundred other problems you wouldn't have on a new canvas?

You get where I'm going here… I was bit by the 'reuse canvas' bug a few times early on, and it never worked out well. One painting turned out great and within 2 months exhibited puckering and peeling up of oil paint, on a canvas that I spent a good hour + sanding, etc. That painting is in a box in my closet 'cause I can't sell it nor do I want to look at it with several messed-up areas.

A new canvas of that size would've been about $5 and I would still have the painting displayed proudly, and I would've saved the time from prepping it and the aggravation of seeing it deteriorate.

01-09-2019, 07:30 PM
Even I wouldn't paint over a medium or thick coated acrylic with oils.
Only a wash coat or the consistency of gouache as an undercoat.
As Alan says....not worth the time or "risk".

01-10-2019, 01:15 AM
I wouldn't try to reuse it if for a "professional" or sale of any type........
For your self would be fine then if it has issues later on you can deal with it or toss it....

Richard P
01-10-2019, 03:48 AM
You could sand it a lot, but you don't know for sure if it has any cadmium pigments in there.. I wouldn't use it for anything permanent.

01-10-2019, 05:44 AM
Thanks, All.
I do have some things I want to try--a totally new way of painting for me, so I'll use acrylic paint (first time in about 50 years! :eek: ) and paint that T with blue, the color most of the canvas has on it. Then I will use that canvas for practice. If the acrylic goes on well, I may use acrylic for that practice, instead of oils.
So, on to gessoing another canvas or three!

01-10-2019, 10:31 AM
Keep the frame, get some new canvas and just re-stretch it. I wouldn't re-use this old canvas for anything.

Ken W
01-10-2019, 11:11 AM
Alan P in OC: Where can you find any size canvas for $5? I'm in so cal too and would sure like to know...😃

Alan P. in OC
01-10-2019, 11:47 AM
Alan P in OC: Where can you find any size canvas for $5? I'm in so cal too and would sure like to know...😃

I didn't say any size canvas, just the size I was using (11"x14").

Art Supply Warehouse in Westminster has tons of cheap, but good canvases.

01-10-2019, 01:18 PM
I would buy new canvas. Putting oil over very thick acrylic is not a good idea. Acrylic is pretty weak paint to support another drying paint on top of it. There is a reason hardware stores recommend polyurethane instead of latex or acrylic if you want a durable coating.

Sanding is also dangerous if you don't know what the previous painter actually used, I would never sand something that contained cadmium or lead.

01-10-2019, 03:17 PM
Just FYI, for purchasing inexpensive canvII, in case you're not near Westminster, CA, Art Supply Warehouse also has an online site:

You can also get super inexpensive canvas at Michael's and Hobby Lobby, especially if you use their coupons and buy a mulit-pack.

Ken W
01-11-2019, 11:28 AM
Alan and Annie, thank you so much! 👍