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View Full Version : Why acrylic? (or: have you tried oil?)


timelady
09-20-2006, 01:46 PM
Found an old thread in the 'Professional Art and Acrylics' thread talking about acrylic vs oil and just thought it would be interesting to run a poll here like the one that was posted in the oil forum a few years ago (2002!?! It doesn't seem that long ago, I'm getting old...) http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=28965

So this is just for fun! I think it would be good to keep the 'debate' over in the other thread but of course it's up to you guys. :)

Tina.

dreamz
09-20-2006, 07:45 PM
The main thing is cost, I started out using craft paints , usually on sale 4 or 5 for a $1.us and slowly moved into professional paints but with all the mediums/glazes etc maybe oil WOULD be cheaper:lol:

tubbekans
09-20-2006, 07:50 PM
I started out with oil paints. I like them, but I don't have a good place to work with them. If I had an outdoor studio or separate space to paint in oils I 'd probably do some oil painting again. Maybe someday I will have that and then we will see. I've thought about trying the water mixable oils sometime too.

Acrylics have some very fun things that you can do with them that I don't know how you would duplicate in oils. I think acrylics are more flexible as far as experimenting with techniques and additives than oils. You can make bubbles in acrylics after all. :)

Heidi7Sue
09-20-2006, 07:54 PM
Does paint-by-number count? I checked yes because I did a couple PBNs as a kid, and they were oil. I've never used oil paint that comes in tubes and has to be mixed with turpentine or linseed oil or what have you. I read a little about different media before I started, and oil just sounds so complicated. You have to be careful to get your layers fat over lean, you have to know which pigments are fat and which are lean, it takes forever to dry, there are fumes (and I lived in an apartment when I started) and you have to worry about your rags starting on fire just sitting there! No thanks.

Wayne Gaudon
09-20-2006, 08:19 PM
If the old boys had acrylic they would have used it; it's that good.

dlake
09-20-2006, 08:35 PM
I ran into some oils for really cheap as the store was going out of biz. I thought I'd try it. It's really different from acrylics. I have to practice with this cause it's so different.
I use a quick dry medium and hair dryer so I don't have to wait so long if I'm working on like a sky.
I like it for landscapes.
I think both have pros and cons.
I like the body of oils. easy workability., but, I don't like the long dry time and the stuff you have to use like to clean off brushes and all.
With acrylics I feel I can do more precision, dries fast and easy clean up. I don'[t like it hard workability, shallowness.
Both are fun. One thing with the oil mediums is that they now come with orderless and are low to non toxic.
After I get the handle of the medium I'll know more but, for now, I like acrylics cause I can do more.

Darabos
09-20-2006, 11:33 PM
I have oil paints but have yet to use them.
I only have about... 7 tubes I think.
And they are Winsor & Newton brand... so in all it cost about $130 or so.
So I'm afraid to use them til I learn more about it.

les lull
09-21-2006, 12:02 AM
This is an interesting thread. I have had an itch that I have needed to scratch with oils recently. It has been over three years since I have painted anything with oils. I just completed three paintings in oils. I enjoy both mediums. I really like the lushness of the oils and it is fun to be able to modify a puddle for an extended period of time. I like the immediate dry time of acrylics. I think personally it is just a matter of preferenc. My main reason for picking up the oils again is they work a lot better for plein air painting. A slight breeze and a little warmth and your pallet turns to glue. I live in the desert so you do the math.

dreamz
09-21-2006, 02:28 AM
Over the years Ive played with many different mediums, including model and auto paints, lacquers, enamels etc so I voted yes but I really enjoy dabbling with acrylics

LisaArt
09-21-2006, 02:45 AM
If the old boys had acrylic they would have used it; it's that good.

LOL...Wayne....I totally agree....what you said :lol:

I started off in oil and was always frustrated by the drying time and the clean up....I am not an alla prima painter and I so much more enjoy acrylics. When I first tried them I was working them like oils and then soon got use to their own characterisitcs...I also find the colours way more vibrant!
I just love them now! :heart: I dont use any medium with them...Just my water and the paint right of the tube! And the clean up...gosh what delight! :clap:

3chaway9
09-21-2006, 05:30 AM
I dont use any medium with them...Just my water and the paint right of the tube! And the clean up...gosh what delight!
...i still have all the oils i bought 30 odd years ago...i don't know if i could get the lids off now even if i wanted to...oils blend so much easier but i prefer acrylics...:wave:

Wayne Gaudon
09-21-2006, 09:21 AM
Lisa .. I use them straight up as well .. no medium .. I spray my palette lightly at the beginning with water and that is it .. I am alla prima so time is usually not an issue.

TIP:
A boat survivial box (seals air tight) with a soaked wet sponge in it will hold paint for weeks if you squeeze out lots and want to keep it after a session. I just sit the paint on a piece of masonite and sit the masonite on top of the sponge.

objectivistartist
09-21-2006, 11:44 AM
And the clean up...gosh what delight! __________________


That was the selling point, many many years ago - along with no fumes... been no regrets since.....


Robert

www.visioneerwindows.blogspot.com
www.thespiritualvisualizer.blogspot.com

kmb_art
09-21-2006, 11:54 AM
I started out with oils and always loved them, but by the time I had five kids and several dogs running around I just gave up. I didn't have my own space to work in and the kids could't resist finishing my paintings for me.
I switched to watercolors and then acrylics. But I always missed the oil. Now, with my kids grown I have decided to go back to oil. I bought some a few days ago and I am loving every minute of it. I don't know if I will ever want to use acrylics again.
Kathleen

Lady Carol
09-21-2006, 02:56 PM
They (oils) smelled. My hubby complained about the smell, thus acrylics. But I have grown to like them a lot for their convenience.

amaze_1101
09-21-2006, 03:28 PM
I've used oils but prefer Acrylics, the later being the more versitile. I painted the work below in acrylic and it looks almost like an oil so I can have the best of both worlds with acrylics. (The painting is based on an original oil painting by James Peale.) I don't care for the smell of the oils or the slow drying time.

The original: (http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0egAAAFcnxUFMhmjkT5WU0mzX!Vf*leDxwizkzcSVSbP0UgAsAUU!PrlpzpgpTmHFORKTQCYt1dfhw74VSzkpQzFiemaSPNUdx6PwnKsum1ys64rYh6UguyHwkZU3VP00aZ0lC27MaFCCwI4zLY8BHu8NzVlLgIDLhx3I3!bfjYoIrLpASaYFxw/Fruit-Still-Life-with-Chinese-Export-Basket,-James-Peale,-1824.jpg)


Acrylic
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Sep-2006/41055-JamesPeale_-_Framed.jpg


Acryilic details...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Sep-2006/41055-James_Peale_Detail.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Sep-2006/41055-James_Peale.jpg

dlake
09-21-2006, 09:15 PM
One thing I wonder , well actually two, when playing with the oils and wondering if I'll do anything other than spread paint around.
I put some turpoid, natural low odor, and the jar gets so icky I find myself changing it alot.
the other is, to do some stuff I need it to dry so, I use a hair dryer and wonder if I'm really screwing up.

tubbekans
09-21-2006, 11:55 PM
Hi Diane,
I used to keep a couple of containers of turpentine or OMS around. If you let it sit for a day or so the stuff will settle to the bottom of the container and clear up for you. You can also put a layer of marbles in the container to swish your brush on instead of dragging it through the sediment on the bottom of the container. It helps to have a container with a lid so you can seal up the vapors when not painting too. Gets sorta tough breathing that stuff all the time.

greyart
09-22-2006, 09:23 AM
I started with oils years ago.I never liked the long drying time and the clean up. I would have to wait until I had a whole day to work because of the time invovled in getting everything out and the clean up time after. One day my turpentine container started leaking and I said that's it. I started working in pastels. I recently tried acrylics, missing the feel of a brush in my hand. I love them. I can do a little in the afternoon without alot of set up or clean up. water in a plastic cup, paint on a foam plate and I'm painting. Great for spur of the moment ideas. Or a whole day of real painting with the stay wet pallet, easle, and brush tub. I'm doing alot more art now. I have had to unlearn all my blending styles and start learning new techniques to get the look I want. It was kind of frustrating at first until I read, may have been here or in a book, not to try to do an oil painting in acrylics, embrace the characteristics of acrylics. I just cleaned out all my old oil tubes and stuff and threw them away. Not going back any time soon. Having too much fun!

Jon
09-22-2006, 11:36 AM
I started with oils but I did not like the odor, the long drying time and the clean up. I do not dislike them - they simply are not for me.

Bresciani
09-22-2006, 12:16 PM
I started out with oil paints. I like them, but I don't have a good place to work with them. If I had an outdoor studio or separate space to paint in oils I 'd probably do some oil painting again.
Hi Paul
I have the same…. I have one daughter and a chemical isn’t good in this case. Because this, I decided stop of to paint .
Then I was introduced to acrylics… :clap:


[]´s!!!

Bresciani
09-22-2006, 12:21 PM
Hi Elaine!!

This is a good case to show what we can do with acrylics…
Great Piece, as always! :)

ArtMarkie
09-22-2006, 12:39 PM
I paint in oils in summer and acrylics, etc. in winter.

timelady
09-22-2006, 01:21 PM
The marbles in the jar trick is great advice! I'll have to try that.

Les, I know what you mean about missing them. Strangely enough I've just done a handful of little studies in oil. It was quite fun. :) Was worried I'd forget how to use them (which admittedly I have done, I can work with them the way I used to). Going to do some more this week.

Tina.

kmb_art
09-22-2006, 03:09 PM
I don't think one medium is any better than the another. They all have their good and bad points. It's a matter of personal preference. I personally prefer oils because that is what I started out with. I used them for about 20 years before switching to watercolors and acrylics. I have never used chemicals. I use linseed oil for thinning the paint, and canolla oil works great for cleaning brushes. I don't even need to use any soap and water.

Kathleen

Halo
09-22-2006, 10:38 PM
For me, I love oils for smooth coated animals like horses but I am really concerned about anything toxic and the fumes started to make me sick so I reluctantly had to switch to acryics. Now I love acrylics but wish I could go back to oils for the smooth coated animal paintings. I just got some interactive acrylics to try and am hoping that might be the perfect answer.

RachelL
09-23-2006, 05:27 AM
I decided to try acrylics because of the slow drying time for oils, combined with lack of storage space for wet paintings. The first time i tried acrylics i thought i was going to hate them as everything was drying too fast and i felt i had no control, but now i have got used to them i love them. I now do an underpainting for an oil then do an acrylics painting whilst i'm waiting for it to dry. I love the bright colours and detail i can get with acrylics.

snoball
09-23-2006, 02:42 PM
I use both oils and acrylics, as well as graphite and colored pencils but shy away from charcoal and pastels because of the dust and I am messy! ;)
I used to hate painting in acrylic because they dried so fast I couldn't play in them like oils but then voila! I learned how to make that fast drying work for me instead of against me and I love acrylics.

Elaine, I love the painting. Fabulous!

jocelynsart
09-23-2006, 07:41 PM
I have worked in both. I seem to always go back to acrylic. My painting method for acrylic is so second nature now that I tend to prefer them.
When I use oil, I prefer it on Masonite or illustration brd.
My family does not enjoy me having my oils out. I also tend to work fast so I prefer acrylic.
Often, I have been told my acrylics look like oil. Of course, in person, it is a little easier to see the surface difference. But, on a screen or if they were to be reproduced as a print, one would be hard pressed to tell which of mine are which.
On my site, I have 2 cat paintings I did years ago in oil, and many of the ones I did more recently in acrylic, don't look much difference. Style tends to run though most artists' work regardless of medium.
I find that if I start with an underpainting, my acrylics will look more similar to an oil than an acrylic. I also feel that palette choice aslo can cause a piece to fall into a "hard to tell" area. Earthy, tertiary palettes are harder to tell. More pure colour used right from the tube and acrylics will appear a little more vibrant, flat, harsh texture wise, and synthetic in some cases. However, I have seen many oils that appear to me to be more "acrylic" in appearance, usually due to flat laying in of pure colour. I then think to myself, that could have been done easily in acrylic and the expense, smell and time involved would have been erased for the artist.
I have also seen some very transparent and texturey style oils that look like watercolour on a screen or in a print. Same with some acrylics I have viewed.
There is an artist on WC, Shelly Ferguson, whose earthy portrait palette looks like oil to me, before it looks like the acrylic she works in.

First is an oil on primed Masonite, second is an oil on coldpress illus. brd., and third is an acrylic on primed Masonite.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Sep-2006/8354-catinsnow.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Sep-2006/8354-whitecatdone.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Sep-2006/8354-cinnyh.jpg




It's more the artist and how they use their mediums that matters and not so much the medium, imho.
Jocelyn

krystakaye
09-24-2006, 11:27 AM
I love the quick drying aspect, no fumes is a plus when there are children in the studio. Will gradually shift back and forth from oils but must learn everything I can about acrylics first.

blondheim12
09-24-2006, 03:18 PM
I use oils for all of my serious large work. I use acrylics for small studies because they are inexpensive compared to oils and easy to clean up.

Acrylics are great for quick little paintings but frankly, I don't believe they could ever replace the richness of oils for me. There is nothing like a beautiful oil painting.

It would be very hard to leave oils after using them for 30 years but I do enjoy the acrylics too.

I realize that this is a minority opinion and I'm not saying it to stir up a battle. I am not trying to offend anyone, just answering the poll.
Love,
Linda

blondheim12
09-24-2006, 03:27 PM
I use oils for all of my serious large work. I use acrylics for small studies because they are inexpensive compared to oils and easy to clean up.

Acrylics are great for quick little paintings but frankly, I don't believe they could ever replace the richness of oils for me. There is nothing like a beautiful oil painting.

It would be very hard to leave oils after using them for 30 years but I do enjoy the acrylics too.

I realize that this is a minority opinion and I'm not saying it to stir up a battle. I am not trying to offend anyone, just answering the poll.
Love,
Linda

blondheim12
09-24-2006, 03:35 PM
Sorry it double posted. I don't know why that happened. :>(

Rob DeWolfe
09-24-2006, 06:49 PM
Greyart
You said; "Or a whole day of real painting with the stay wet pallet".
What is a 'stay wet pallet'? I like oil but the sloooow drying time drives me insane, I am the worlds most impatient man, so I have been doing more and more acrylics. The downside to acrylics is that the paint dries on the pallet very fast too, a 'stay wet pallet' sounds like just the thing I've been draming of! So what is it and who makes it and where can I get it?

Thanks
Rob

snoball
09-24-2006, 06:59 PM
Greyart, a "Stay wet Palette" is virtually a plastic box with a snap on lid that keeps the interior air tight. When working with acrylics it is good if you can have a piece of glass cut to fit the bottom of the palette and before putting out your painte fold paper towels into long narrow folds and put them against two sides (in an L shape) and wet them well. Then put out your paints onto the towels and you can mix your color on the glass in the center. Mist with a misting bottle from time to time while painting and when finished for the session you can rake up the mixed paint from the glass with a razor blade and mist the paints on the towels and close the palette and it will be ready to paint again for up to 2 weeks.

http://www.artdiscount.co.uk/acatalog/Stay_Wet_Palette.html
http://www.flaxart.com/Art-Materials/Painting/Rowney-Stay-Wet-Palette-for-Acrylics

MsLilypond
09-26-2006, 04:08 PM
I started out in acrylics, tried oils, had an allergic reaction to linseed oil, went back to acrylics, tried the m.graham oils, realized I didn't have enough patience for oils, and my three furkids turned the paintings fuzzy, back to acrylics. I do use watercolors and colored pencils and I love them almost as much as I love my acrylics

dspinks
09-26-2006, 04:22 PM
I paint in acrylics, oil, watercolor, and pastels. I love them all! It's great having something different to turn to when I get frustrated or bored with the current medium.

Another thing that surprised me when I first went from one medium to another was how much basic skill and technique I was able to transfer from one to another, and how much something new learned in one medium helps me in all mediums.

Debra

timelady
09-26-2006, 05:13 PM
Well, these are great results to see. :) What still amazes me though is how often the 'toxic' reason is given. This must mean turps (or a substitute) since of course the pigments in oil paints and acrylic paints are the same. And you don't need turps to use oils! Cleanup with oil works fine. :)

Tina.

objectivistartist
09-26-2006, 06:20 PM
Just can't beat the price of water [and a wee bit of soap] for cleaning... [and, to me, acrylic works fine for the detailing, without all the long wait of drying]

Robert

www.visioneerwindows.blogspot.com
www.thespiritualvisualizer.blogspot.com

a.r.goldyn
09-26-2006, 07:03 PM
When I started painting again, I began with acrylics. When I painted when I was a kid and student I used oils, but after a several-year hiatus, I was a little intimidated by oils and wanted something friendlier, like acrylics. I love acrylics, and I'll always use them in some form. I like the quick dry time, the flexibility, and the easy clean-up. I use acrylics when I have an image just bursting to be put onto canvas NOW!

Alas, I think oils are still my first love -- the way they flow, the richness of the paint, the smell (I've always loved the smell of oil paints). And they are better for paintings that flow from the creative center rather than burst.

I've also done some mixed media work using both oils and acrylics. I like the effect, and I have the best of both worlds. :clap:

skywatcher
09-27-2006, 05:03 AM
I started with oils, in art classes, when I was 18 and never used anything else till I was in my 30's....and that was pastel. I bought some Finity acrylics about three years ago. I have found that some of the colours don't mix together very well, especially if you use more than two in a mix. It seems better to apply one and then the other on top. I also find that acrylics are not very opaque, even the dark ones including black don't seem to have great covering-power.
They are, however, quite effective for certain types of flowers, especially reddish-orange ones; the colours can be overlayed to make quite a "glowing" effect.
Diluted acrylic is fun to push around on canvas as well, making stains and watercolour-ish type effects; and if a painting that I have started in acrylic goes wrong, I can always overpaint it in oils.
I have no hang-ups about the smell of oil paint. I will also agree with others that it is helpful to have several hours spare to allow for setting up and cleaning up, especially when you dont have a dedicated studio. At the moment there seems to be quite a demand for acrylic paintings, and I am trying to stick with the medium and make it work for me.
Preference...still for oils. But my time spent with acrylics has been short and there is no doubt still plenty to find out about them.

MsLilypond
09-27-2006, 03:02 PM
[QUOTE=skywatcher]I started with oils, in art classes, when I was 18 and never used anything else till I was in my 30's....and that was pastel. I bought some Finity acrylics about three years ago. I have found that some of the colours don't mix together very well, especially if you use more than two in a mix. It seems better to apply one and then the other on top. I also find that acrylics are not very opaque, even the dark ones including black don't seem to have great covering-power.
QUOTE]

Are W&N Finity,the only brand you've tried, because I haven't had the problems you are discussing at least mixing wise. I use liquitex alot but I prefer M. Grahams and Golden & never had a problem mixing the colors. With the acrylics you really have to look at the tube, some of the colors are labeled transparent, translucent, opaque. I think your opacity issue maybe related to that particular brand. I know my black in my liquitex brand has good covering power.

Jeff Rage
09-27-2006, 04:24 PM
I did a lot of reading before I sarted to try to figure out what was better for me, and I picked acrylics.

Now that I know even more about paints, I feel I made the right choice. The main reasons are the drying times and the effects that you can do with them.

Maybe one day I'll try oils.

Roger Evans
09-27-2006, 04:39 PM
Slow drying times drives me crazy. Acrylics for me.

artjunkie101
09-27-2006, 10:50 PM
I use acrylic paints partially because I learned to paint with them and partially because they suit my style and way of working well. I don't require a lot of blendability (I don't even use glazes) and I like their quick dry time. They're also a little cheaper, which is nice for my student's budget. I like that I don't have to worry about mediums at all if I don't want to--all I need is water.

That said, I'd like to try oils one day, because I'm not really sure that I can say I've "chosen" to work in acrylics if I haven't explored any other options.

chinalou
09-28-2006, 02:27 AM
I started out with oils as a kid living with my folks. I've always been a messy painter- I don't know what happens but I get into "the zone" and by the time I come out there is paint everywhere and all over me. Since I've been renting most of the last ten years I've suddered to think of losing my deposit on any apartment because of oils ground into the carpet- it always seems easier to clean up my acrylic spills.

So I've been using acrylics most of the past decade and I love them, though for a while I was doing underpainting in acrylics and then using oil sticks over the top- love oil sticks, but they don't fit into my budget right now, and I can't find good quality ones here in Shanghai. So acrylics it is.

(PS I LOVE the smell of oils- I'm one of those types ;) )

skywatcher
09-28-2006, 03:34 PM
Just dabbing back to post #42, ref. covering power of the acrylics I'm using....the answer is no, I havent so far tried any other type. I picked W&N's Finity because they seemed to have a sound reputation. Havent tried Liquitex, and Golden seems to be only available from a few UK suppliers (e.g Jacksonsart).
Thing is, I could spend a fortune on different brands, just to try them out. But might do so when the Finity ones start running out/low. I'm not too sure whether you can combine different brands, although some people say you can.
Maybe this ought to be a separate post.

LorelieKitty
09-28-2006, 06:04 PM
I haven't tried oils yet, but I'd like to. I've seen some paintings done with oils, and they look fantastic. I know mine wouldn't come out like that at first, but I'd like to give it a try. But like most young mothers, I have 2 kids I have to worry about them getting into the paint, and painting my white walls, instead of the canvas. But I need something that can wash out fairly easy, and the acryllic set I have washed out without a prolem.

Mark Newton
09-30-2006, 04:03 AM
I started with acrylic about 20 years ago and very soon afterwards tried oils and managed some nice pieces. Oil is very vivid, lovely full colour saturation, but for me, its just too slow drying, give me acrylic anyday.

Genezzz
10-01-2006, 01:35 AM
Oils crack very badly, the slowness matters because of the adhesion and flexablity you have to watch everything if you want your work to last more then 30 years. A friend of mine has an oil painting from 75 which has cracked and split already, the other has shown no sign of major problems someone mentioned flaking if you use water to thin with. Glazing in acrylic is better then oils and with retardent handles the same.I also think the contrasts in oil tend toward gray and in acrylic towards tone.

Genezzz
10-01-2006, 01:35 AM
Oils crack very badly, the slowness matters because of the adhesion and flexablity you have to watch everything if you want your work to last more then 30 years. A friend of mine has an oil painting from 75 which has cracked and split already, the other has shown no sign of major problems someone mentioned flaking if you use water to thin with. Glazing in acrylic is better then oils and with retardent handles the same.I also think the contrasts in oil tend toward gray and in acrylic towards tone.

airtoolAllan
10-02-2006, 05:51 AM
Personally i like oils. i love dipping my brush into a blob of oil paint and rubbing the brush on a canvas. The sensation just feels good.

On the other hand, soap and water clean-up gives acrylic paint lots of appeal. My first "real" paint set was a set of beginner's acrylic colors. i believed the popular myth that acrylic paint is easier to learn than oil paints. Personally i don't find either medium easier than the other. Both require discipline and practice to master.

i do think acrylic paint works better than oils for decorating T-shirts. Modeling pastes enable an artist to turn a canvas into a 3-d sculpture. And of course acrylics are better suited for people who think their paint needs to be dry yesterday.

DorothyC
10-02-2006, 06:28 AM
I personally prefer acrylics having painted in oils for many years and then "discovered" the many "talents" of acrylic paint. I still dabble with oils and also do a lot of porcelain painting (painting with oil and layering much like a water colour)

I tuned into this topic late and having read through everyones comments - this is the one that really rings a loud bell with me.


It's more the artist and how they use their mediums that matters and not so much the medium, imho.
Jocelyn

Well said Jocelyn

katz
10-02-2006, 11:44 AM
I paint with both ws oils and acrylics.
Sometimes, I don't want to have to wait for the paint to dry so I can varnish.
I like how acrylics dry faster, but I use the mediums when I want more time for blending.

Gay

RTT
10-02-2006, 07:23 PM
I share your love of the smell of oils. I started painting in oils a number of years ago so the smell is very nostalgic for me.
After a few years with oils and frustrations primarily with the slow drying time I moved to acrylics. They suited my style quite fine. Since re-starting by painting after a ten year lay-off. I have gone back to acrylics but have stocked up with oils (traditional and the water-mixable varieties) with the intention of giving them another try. For now I am just having a lot of fun exploring all ot the different techniques that are possible with acrylics - I'm not sure when I will have that wonderfull smell of oils permeating my studio.

Randy

*Violet*
10-09-2006, 05:33 AM
Lisa .. I use them straight up as well .. no medium .. I spray my palette lightly at the beginning with water and that is it .. I am alla prima so time is usually not an issue.

TIP:
A boat survivial box (seals air tight) with a soaked wet sponge in it will hold paint for weeks if you squeeze out lots and want to keep it after a session. I just sit the paint on a piece of masonite and sit the masonite on top of the sponge.

hi wayne ... i haven't seen you post in the open critique forum in ages !! ... glad to see you posting ... miss seeing your colourful loose painting style ... but tell me, how does the paint stay moist with your method? ... what is your *palette*? ... or is the paint on the sponge as it is similarly in another post but on damp paper towels in that one? ... and then covered to keep the paint moist between sessions?

Autumnwillow
10-10-2006, 02:02 AM
I started out with acrylics mainly due to the intimidation factor I saw with oils. I paint murals too, so acrylic is much better suited for them, imho.

I just tried oils for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I love them. The drying time was really a non issue, as the teacher of the workshop I was attending (and the reason I was using oils, incidentally), had us use a cobalt dryer. My paintings were dry by the following morning. But still, that's a bit slow for my tastes. Overall, I loved the blendability of the oils and the luminosity. I was ok with the smell of the paints themselves and I used turpenoid, which is essentially odorless. Clean up was not the issue I expected it to be, either, as I swished out my brushes in the turpenoid and then took them home and used the Masters soap that I have always used for my acrylics anyway.

But I tend to be a "last minute" kind of painter, and when you have a commission, time is of the essence. Acrylics will remain a medium I use often, I'm sure, especially for murals. I need to find a good retarder though... blending with oils was such a joy! I think the biggest downside to oils though is the 6 MONTH drying time before the painting can be varnished. Make that the 2 biggest downsides, as I normally don't varnish my acrylics. How can I sell a painting if I have to wait 6 MONTHS! And the biggest downside to acrylics is the superfast drying time. I'd love a happy mid ground, like an oil or acrylic that would dry in about 30 minutes. That would ROCK!

Fun topic!

Michele

theonoe
10-10-2006, 03:18 AM
Michelle,

What is a "cobalt dryer"?

Theonoe

Autumnwillow
10-10-2006, 04:42 PM
It's put out by Grumbacher-actually called "cobalt dryer", though my guess is there are other brands but I couldn't find any in my area. I got it from Michael's, but my local art supply store had it as well, and I think I was going to order it online but needed it in a hurry.

It's pretty toxic stuff, I'm not happy about that. You only need a drop or so in a small amount of turpenoid though, just have to be careful about getting it on skin and accidentally ingesting or something. General precautions. Gloves, and pour over a bowl if you're accident (spill) prone like me!

jocelynsart
10-10-2006, 09:00 PM
I have received recently info through a Federation of Canadian Artists publication I get, that oils need to be on properly prepared surface in order to last. Oil will dry out, the canvas absorbing the oil form the paint, then the paint left on the canvas will eventually crack with time. Sorry, I don't want to quote the publication here without permission as it asks not to.
This publication mentioned that acrylics don't lose their flexibility over time, so far, and aren't expected to.
It is said not to use oil on pre-primed store bought canvas. Therefore, I realized through reading this, that before venturing into oil, I think it is a great idea to research the best way to prepare the surface. Acrylic is fine on store bought canvas, thank goodness, since that is what I have been workign with and on. There are probably lots of publications and Internet sources to research all these issues if you needed to.
Most of my past paintings sold are acrylic thank goodness. The oils I sold are on Masonite, and that is fine a primed surface that will not eventually absorb the oil from the oil paint. Also, my oils are not thickly painted.
I am very glad I received the info I did and before ever working in oil on canvas again, have vowed to properly research and get proper step by step info on what to do to make sure my canvas surface is properly surfaced.
The Oil Forum here on WC would also be a great place to research surface preparation before going from acrylic to oil.
I most likely will always stay with acrylic although I do love the effects of some of the blend strokes and luminous effects that only seem to be in oil portraits. I find I worry less about my work with acrylic as it does not need such major considerations on preparation, to avoid absorption of the oil from the paint like is a worry with oil paintings. Most older oils do show signs of cracking and drying and loss of colour saturation as they age. I don't know enough to know, nor have researched, whether even if the surface of the canvas is perfectly prepared, this won't still happen after a significant amount of time has passed.
I also feel my acrylics have a nice look to them, I like the more matte and flat surface as opposed to glossy or shiney surfaces anyway so acrylic finished paintings appeal to me for that reason. I do occassionally seal my acrylics in a satin finish which gives them a nice sheen but not a high gloss which reflects back all kinds of light. People tend to always ask me, in person, if my work is oil or acrylic. I also find that working over a monochromatic underpainting gives my acrylics more depth and earthiness which may cause them to appear more like oils. A limited palette also can contribute to a more classical and "oil" appearance. Liek I said, Shelley Ferguson, an acrylic painter on WC, has a very limited and earthy palette and I find her portraits very "oil like" in appearance.
For me, the method of drybrushing in little circles, very sticky or semi dry acrylic tends to allow me the blending of layer over layer that I need, especially for skin. This method I am told is called 'scummbling" It leaves my surfaces flat to the touch and allows me to have visual "blending" transition to my values and brush strokes if I want. Or, I can allow the strokes to be more opaque and more "painterly" if I like too, which is more leaning towards Impressionism, more visual separation of the shapes the brush leaves, or looser painting style if you will. I have work in both disciplines, looser and brush strokey or tight and blended with not visible separate brush strokes. Both can be done with acrylic.
True, the use of any medium to get what you want is just based on how much one practices. Medium tends to matter less than the artist's hand.
Jocelyn

Autumnwillow
10-10-2006, 09:42 PM
Good, interesting points, Jocelyn. I guess the only thing I wonder about is the longevity issue, since acrylics really haven't been around as long as oils... we, of course, will never know how long the acrylics will last. Though I tend to think they'll last a very long time. I think that the newness of them is what keeps some from trying them, they have a tendency to see oils as having lasted the centuries before us.

I envy the acrylic painters of the distant future, as they won't have to "justify" the medium like we must sometimes. Though I think there is a shift beginning... I think acrylics are starting to command the same respect as oils.

Having just tried oils, and having liked them for the most part, I still tend to think that if acrylics had been available to the Masters and they had used them, I'm not so sure that oils would be used as much as they are today... assuming the longevity, of course. Ahh, to be able to know for sure...;) But then again, different mediums for different personalities, that's what makes art so interesting! As we've seen, some really like the smell, and the long drying time and the varnishing.

tvandeb
10-11-2006, 01:47 AM
I tried oils, years ago. I could not deal with the smell, so I switched to acrylics, and watercolors. Also the drying time with oil was frustrating.....:wink2:

jocelynsart
10-11-2006, 12:16 PM
Well, the acrylics that have been around since the 60s apparently have not lost their colour nor have they cracked, so I am hoping that the experts who say they have great longetivity hopes are correct. True, we need a good 100+ years to know truley their longetivity properties.
I love oil but I tend to go back to acrylics all the time. Now I feel that before I go back to oil, even just for studies, I need to make sure my surface prep is correct. Acrylic does not have those same issues.

objectivistartist
10-12-2006, 02:22 PM
And the oil painters, contrary to myth, did not paint 'for the ages', just for the age they lived in.....

Robert

les lull
10-12-2006, 03:40 PM
I have enjoyed this discussion tremendously. It may have something to do with the fact that my studio currently reeks of turps. I have attempted to plein air paint with acylics and have ended up quite frustrated with the attempts. I know that it can be done, I am more than likely not good enough to pull it off. I attended a William Hook workshop and watched him paint what seemed to be a quite effortless attempt some plein air painting. He did comment though, " A slight breeze and warm temperatures make it a near impossiblity." He shares his time between Carmel and Santa Fe. He commented that it is on rare occasion that he will even attempt to paint outdoors in Santa Fe.

I figured that with his over twenty years of manipulating the medium, that I wasn't going to discover a secret to outdoor painting in the desert that he couldn't find. Hook started painting with acrylics because of an allergy to oil paints. He said that if he wasn't allergic to oils he would still love to paint with them from time to time. He also stated that it was a mixed blessing to be forced to paint with acrylics becaused it forced him to really learn to paint because it makes you a gut painter working more from instinct.

I think the dry time issue for oils is a convienent way for me to excuse my lack of ability. I have watched Scott Christensen paint a 12 x 12 plein air study and the slow dry time didn't seem to trip him up in the least. Watching him paint make me think that I should give up now and quit making a mockery of real painters.

The interesting discovery that I have made with may last little journey with the oils is a piece that I am currently working on in my studio. I have a series of studies that I did in southern Arizona. I decided to do another painting from the same location in oils. I pulled out the other painting I did of the same location earlier this year and I couldn't see a major difference in saturation, blending or brushwork.