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View Full Version : what will I gain from trying oils?


jbitzel
09-15-2004, 08:05 AM
So far I have been bent on Acrylics, but when I bought an easel it came with some generic oils. I am a little turned off by the cleanup and the fact I have to buy spirits and terp. So is it worthwhile to try?

mame
09-15-2004, 08:42 AM
What have you got to lose?

Frostie7
09-15-2004, 09:21 AM
I work with both. I enjoy oils especially for portraits because of the blending qualities plus the colors are generally more vibrant.

dspinks
09-15-2004, 11:21 AM
I started using water soluble oils in January. No smell, easy cleanup. I was surprised how similar they were in handling to acrylics. I found I did not have to change my style significantly to work with oils, as I work both in relatively thin layers and glazes. I like how easy oils are to manipulate and blend on canvas. I was a little afraid that I would not want to use acrylics again, but, as with watercolor, I find I have particular moods in which I prefer one or the other for any given project.

Debra

MsLilypond
09-15-2004, 12:20 PM
if you are worried about turps and other mineral spirits use walnut oil for cleanup. If you do a search here on wetcanvas in the oil forum you'll find many threads about alternatives to mineral spirits and turpentine.

BRIDGES
09-15-2004, 01:18 PM
i guess everyone should try different things, but you will gain the fact that you probably like acrylics better. Not so expensive and so quick, can do one in a sitting....frame and ready to go.(except for glazing/sealer which i like to do. Have you ever seen people looking and sayng wonder if this is oil or acrylic..??.I do think protraits in oils are nice but hey, there have been some beautiful ones in acrylics also. I did oils for years. i like the "no smell" of oils, turps, etc...And I know there are non ordor ones...But I think acrylics,you can pack and go with a few and paint anywhere..Bridges

timelady
09-15-2004, 01:39 PM
It's fun to try a new medium. Oils stay 'open' longer so there's more room for changes and moving the paint around. Easier to glaze and blend. Cost is not an issue, in my opinion, because the quanities of each paint are different when you use them - in general a painting in oil and the same in acrylic will cost more to do in acrylic for me. (If we're talking artist quality in both mediums.)

Personally I like using oils for studies sometimes because of the fact that you can't overwork or they go muddy. It means I have to keep it simple. There's no pressure to continue working if it needs to dry before the next layer anyway. :)

Tina.

sassybird
09-15-2004, 02:06 PM
Experience is what you get, and we can never get enough of that. I tried them once and did not like them because of the smell and the fact that it takes so long to dry. I do work in oil pastels.

Richard Saylor
09-15-2004, 03:30 PM
Try it and find out.

I painted with oils until acrylics became generally available, then I switched and very seldom used oils thereafter. I love the smell of oils, and it is a wonderful medium, especially for alla prima. However, I like to use multiple layers, and the fast drying time of acrylics makes this a much more efficient and therefore enjoyable process.

piper2
09-15-2004, 03:59 PM
I agree with those who say try and find out. I liked acrylics for their simplicity, but I tried oils after my husband bought me a set for Christmas. What's interesting about them is that they make you paint in a whole different style as you try to work around their oil-ness. For me, at least, I found that trying to use my same style in oil took much longer, and I ended up doing something simpler in oils. Comparison in styles: on the left, my acrylic style, and on the right, my oil style. For me, at least, oils encouraged simplicity. Who knows what they'll do for you?

just dave
09-15-2004, 04:01 PM
Reasons for ALSO painting in oils:
1. Oils are considered "finer" by many patrons of the visual arts and you might find yourself winning more awards in juried competitions as well as being mathmaticaly more likely to have your artworks featured in galleries and hung in museums if they are done in oil instead of in acrylics.
2. Some subjects and some techniques are more effectively done in oil than in acrylic, but the reverse is also true. Oils drying more slowly and being able to be reworked for a long time are just two of their features that apply here.
3. It is a principle of learning that can be applied to your artworks that if you have been doing artworks in one medium and you change to a second, even if similar, medium your abilities and successes will increase with the first medium when you go back to it.
4. There are water-mixable oils with which you do not use turps for thinning for underpainting and for cleanup. You can even get away without turps or even OMS with traditional oils by using painting medium for thinning and certain oils or soap for cleaning brushes.

IMHO, acrylics are best for beginning painters because oils require more sophisticated techniques. (Some beginners try watercolors, which look to the uninitiated to be less involved than acrylics, but this is often a mistake.) Now because of the dizzying range of mediums and additives for acrylics there is such an incredible numbers of effects an artist can achieve with them, acrylics are also worthy of the experienced, knowledgable artist.

dspinks
09-15-2004, 04:07 PM
3. It is a principle of learning that can be applied to your artworks that if you have been doing artworks in one medium and you change to a second, even if similar, medium your abilities and successes will increase with the first medium when you go back to it.

This is particularly true - Working in multiple media has definitely expanded my artistic knowledge and skill all around. I find that many of the new things I learn in oils can be translated to acrylics and watercolors, and vice versa.

Debra

it'sALLart
09-17-2004, 10:35 AM
Reasons for ALSO painting in oils:
1. Oils are considered "finer" by many patrons of the visual arts and you might find yourself winning more awards in juried competitions as well as being mathmaticaly more likely to have your artworks featured in galleries and hung in museums if they are done in oil instead of in acrylics.


This will only continue being true as long as artists continue to conform to this type of thinking. It should be the other way around: artists deciding to create work in WHATEVER medium, rather than complying with strictures based on false caché.

I've been championing acrylics for a long time and have found more and more galleries open to them, as well, I've tried to educate anyone looking at my work about acrylics. They've only been around since the 50's, so naturally oils have history on their side. However, in 200 years we'll probably find out that acrylic is the more stable of the two mediums.

If the work is quality, galleries and competitions will be progressively be more open to it regardless of medium. You don't see museums rejecting famous artist's works simply because they are in acrylic. The old attitudes will eventually die off (old patrons and curators will eventually die off as well) if we keep working in our medium of choice, rather than letting oils continue to rule and get favour simply because of outmoded snob-appeal.

Ok, stepping off of my soap-box... :D

jbitzel
09-17-2004, 10:45 AM
AMEN.. Brother, My biggest concern is that oil is not as flexible and the yellowing.

Marty C
09-17-2004, 07:59 PM
This will only continue being true as long as artists continue to conform to this type of thinking. It should be the other way around: artists deciding to create work in WHATEVER medium, rather than complying with strictures based on false caché.

I've been championing acrylics for a long time and have found more and more galleries open to them, as well, I've tried to educate anyone looking at my work about acrylics. They've only been around since the 50's, so naturally oils have history on their side. However, in 200 years we'll probably find out that acrylic is the more stable of the two mediums.

If the work is quality, galleries and competitions will be progressively be more open to it regardless of medium. You don't see museums rejecting famous artist's works simply because they are in acrylic. The old attitudes will eventually die off (old patrons and curators will eventually die off as well) if we keep working in our medium of choice, rather than letting oils continue to rule and get favour simply because of outmoded snob-appeal.

Ok, stepping off of my soap-box... :D
Very well said Keith. Much of the bias against acrylic is it's lack of history, that most of the big names in art in recent history and even today still work in oils. Archivally I suspect acrylics will outlast oils, most conservators will tell you that oils can be a nightmare, especially if the painting technique was poor.
It really shouldn't be an argument for one or the other, both have their pros and cons and it should be the end result and the satisfaction of the artist that counts.
At the more amateur level the main concern is how much fun you have in either medium, whether you get the results you desire, how much you can learn by using the medium.
At the more serious selling end, oils have an advantage, especially in the more traditional landscape, portrait subjects. Interestingly, acrylics seem to have an advantage in the more contemporary, abstract styles in the galleries I deal with, and acrylics are the medium of choice for the high end wildlife artists.