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Tony Perrotta
07-08-2002, 06:26 PM
HI all, As a beginning painter just over a year now, but not that much done! I want to ask all you guys in the know. I have been painting acrylic,and am thinking about going to oils. I don't know but the oils seem to me anyway, to have more pigment? and brighter colors? especially when dry. am I right or wrong on this. Also the quick drying time is killing me, I plan to use retarding medium, which I haven't tried yet, and finish the tubes of acrylic I have. If I ever get accomplished I want to do Plein Air, thats why I started in the first place. I like impasto and impressionistic styles. I know some say that oils are more of a pain in the neck and some say not. I don't mind the turps, and oils. What does everyone in WC land say.

Thanks Tony

barnett333
07-08-2002, 07:02 PM
Personally, I love oils! Acrylics are more of a pain in the neck, for me. I am sure others will disagree. It is not that I don't like acrylics, I have seen others do some wonderful acrylic paintings. I just personally prefere to work with oils. I think the colors are brighter. I really don't like how fast acrylics dry. That just my opinion.:D

paintfool
07-08-2002, 07:47 PM
Originally posted by Tony Perrotta
What does everyone in WC land say.
Lol! now that would depend on which forum you ask this question in. I personally prefer oils. That may be because i haven't much experience with acrylics and the limited time i have had with them was spent trying to get over the fact that they perform differently than oil in many ways. This is like trying to compare apples to oranges. Beautiful works are created every day with both mediums. I think that the colors of acrylics are just as dynamic as those of oil. The key is to purchase quality materials and spend a LOT of time working with them. Some artists are proficient in more than one medium but i believe my heart will always be in oils. Personal choices such as this are sometimes difficult to explain.

Einion
07-08-2002, 10:33 PM
Tony, you'll get almost as many answers to the "which is better" question as there are people here and they're all right ;)

As regards pigments, some oil brands are more heavily pigmented than any acrylics of the tube variety but it's difficult to make a direct comparison with more fluid types, but many people aren't aware that acrylics are actually more opaque than oils.

Chroma/saturation and hue should be (to be accurate, are) virtually identical, for the same pigments. The appearance of the dried paintings can vary a great deal though - with acrylics having a natural tendency to dry matt or semi-matt they lose a lot of apparent chroma, plus they usually dry darker than their wet value (as much as a value step in some cases) which can be hard to get used to. A good gloss varnish removes much of the difference in the finished work but it's impossible to match the depth of oils when glazing extensively because of their higher refractive index.

So colour-wise there's certainly no reason to switch paint types (especially considering the low chroma of the real world!) and retarder might well extend the working time enough for you. If you do want to try oils, do what I did and buy a very limited selection of colours - maybe just three primaries* and white - and give them a shot, you might find their very slow drying time as difficult to deal with as the fast drying of acrylics! Personally I think the ability to walk away with a dry painting (or a couple!) under your arm after a painting session is worth the headache of dealing with acrylics' limited open time.

Einion

*Phthalo Blue Green Shade, Quincacridone Magenta and a bright mid-yellow (one of the azos/hansas, diarylides or benzimidazolones) will give the widest colour range for three colours although pretty transparent unfortunately.

paintfool
07-09-2002, 12:16 AM
Originally posted by Einion
If you do want to try oils, do what I did and buy a very limited selection of colours - maybe just three primaries* and white - and give them a shot,
Excellent advice!

kiwicockatoo
07-09-2002, 12:34 AM
I love both of them, for different reasons.

Acrylics dry fast. I find the colors look brighter, they have a different quality than oils. The fact that they dry darker makes mixing colors a challenging exercise, one that I enjoy. Acrylics dry flat. I like the way they smell.

Oils dry slow. They can be manipulated. Paint drys with more texture. You have to pay attention to painting "fat over lean". The dried surface has a different look than acrylics.

You can't compare oils to acrylics. They each have their own good points and downsides. Buy a few tubes of oils and try them out. You may be pleasantly surprised.:)

jeramya
07-09-2002, 12:46 PM
Hello Tony:
I'm very new to oil myself. My previous experience, also not much, was with acylics. Once I switched to oil things really opened up, for me anyway. I really like the way I can manipulate the paint and blend with oil. I still like acylics for the underpainting though. I can kind of sketch things out in acylic and then when I get the general shape and position of what I want, I go to oil. Since oil stays wet quite a while, it is sooooo nice to work with! Before oil, just as I would really start getting into the feel for the painting, the paint would get sticky and stop flowing. Oil is great, long live oil !

Tony Perrotta
07-09-2002, 05:35 PM
Thanks Everybody, I think I am going to give them a try with a limited pallete. I already have a few tubes. I build and paint 1/35 scale Military figures, and use oils sometimes, just never used it to paint a picture with. I like the way they flow(slippery) a trait that acrylics can't have since there are no oils present. Also the way the acrylics dry fast and dull is a disappointment for me. I'll use up what I have left and try the oils for sure.

Regards Tony

sarkana
07-09-2002, 08:22 PM
i think it can be nice to start with acrylics, if only because they can be painted over with oils. oil paintings cannot be painted over with acrylics, though.

i know several artists who do an underpainting in acrylics and then finish in oils. this is partly due to the quick drying times of acrylics, they can be glazed over in a single painting session.

i started in acrylics but now paint exclusively in oils. i have great fun every once in a while diggin up some old canvas done in acrylics and painting over it in my new brilliant oil painting style.

MrSpringGreen
07-09-2002, 11:02 PM
As Einion noted, there are benefits to both. I prefer oils.
acrylics tend to dry too fast... I like to take my time with paintings.
quality between the mediums is another reason: good quality acrylics aren't as colorful as good quality oils. It's part of tyhe differences between the mediums.
To make a good quality oil all you really need is oil and a pigment.
For an acrylic, you need your medium, your pigment, your additives to keep the pigment suspended in the medium, and, depending on how long you want to store it: formaldehyde. They need formaldehyde to keep mold from forming inside the tube/jar/whatever.
I once worked in an art supply store and was able to sample all our different brands of paint, among our findings;
acrylics look more colorful at first glance becasue they tend to use more modern pigments which have a higher intensity. I think oils tend to have more richness of color... particulary in the prestige brands.
There are 4 types of oil paints: student grade, amateur grade, professional grade, artists grade. The student and amatuer grades are sometimes blurred.
There are only 2 grades of acrylic paints: student grade and professional.
When we compared oils(professional) to acrylics(pro) the oils tended to have a more saturated appearance... even when we were able to check same pigments of both mediums.... although this wasn't helped by acrylics drying semi-matte or matte.
Soooo, if you want richness of color, saturation, and the ability to work on something in the morning, leave it for errands, and then come back that evening and it's still ready for more "improvements" then oils are your choice. but be forewarned... when people say they dry slow...they dry SLOW compared to acrylics.
However acrylics have so many uses, they clean easily(except out of clothes), dry quickly so if you don't like what you did you can wait a minute and then paint over it. They're mostly non toxic, vibrant colors, a treat to work with...
until you've worked in oils.
Sorry just gotta scream OILS.

:D

timelady
07-10-2002, 03:40 PM
I think it depends how you want to work - I find acrylics work well for me because I'm very impatient and work quickly (seems like hours to me, might only be 30 minutes). I started out in oils and found acrylics really frustrating and annoying and difficult. Now I use them about 90% of the time!

As for colour I think trying different brands can really make a difference. I've been using Golden a lot more and think the colours are much more consistent from wet to dry than my W&Ns were. Just a thought.

There is still a luminous quality to oils though that I love and need to visit occassionally. :) Acrylics do look flat in comparison.

Tina.

Tony Perrotta
07-10-2002, 05:09 PM
Ok Guys, thanks, I think based on everything I have seen I have to try the oils. Worse case is I don't like them. Since I am a bit of a Renaissance Man, and Oils are the Classic medium, I have to give them a chance. Sometimes I think I was born 100years too late, for my taste anyway. Now I just have to learn to paint!!

Thanks Tony:) :)

Einion
07-15-2002, 12:38 AM
Originally posted by MrSpringGreen
...good quality acrylics aren't as colorful as good quality oils...
Are you talking about hue or chroma? I've compared the same pigment (the same colour from the same manufacturer in different mediums, the only halfway reliable like-for-like comparison) and they are just about identical in both.

Originally posted by MrSpringGreen
To make a good quality oil all you really need is oil and a pigment.
This is misleading; you could do the same thing in acrylics or watercolour too if you wanted to, and is fine if you're making paint for immediate use, but if you want it to store well over time most pigments require a stabiliser of some sort.

Originally posted by MrSpringGreen
For an acrylic, you need your medium, your pigment, your additives to keep the pigment suspended in the medium,
As you must know almost all oil brands also contain stabilisers, otherwise they would separate when stored for long periods. Even those brands whose marketing claims that they don't, might in fact do, as we have been made privy to on this site in at least two cases.

Originally posted by MrSpringGreen
...acrylics look more colorful at first glance becasue they tend to use more modern pigments which have a higher intensity.
This was true to some extent in the past but is hardly accurate any longer - almost all oil ranges contain the same pigments used in acrylics except for certain traditional colours.

Originally posted by MrSpringGreen
I think oils tend to have more richness of color... particulary in the prestige brands... When we compared oils(professional) to acrylics(pro) the oils tended to have a more saturated appearance... even when we were able to check same pigments of both mediums.... although this wasn't helped by acrylics drying semi-matte or matte.
As I stated above, chroma/saturation and hue are virtually identical between the two types, if the surface gloss is the same. What might be described as luminosity in oils, making them appear "brighter" or "richer" is often related to their transparency, which, as I also mentioned, is higher than in the acrylics (in actual fact oils are more transparent than all other media). As a result, transmitted light from the ground can shine through the paint layer (try mixing maybe 10% gloss medium into acrylics for a very similar effect). Applied over a dark or black ground will reverse the advantage and acrylics will usually look brighter here. Used thickly, with the same surface gloss, they look nearly identical.

Einion