View Full Version : Do you paint better in acrylics OR.........

07-04-2008, 02:58 PM
another medium??? I have found that, even though I love/prefer acrylics, I do MUCH better with oil paints. My oil paintings have depth and life and my acrylics, in person, look, well flat. I've tried different techniques and still get the same look.

Just wondering if I'm the only one! Vicki

07-04-2008, 03:19 PM
I like oils but don't have the patience to wait for layers to dry. Oils come out much risher and are better for brush marks, plus staying wet all day means you can move paint around and blend nicely.

I recently got into Atelier interactive acrylics which offer some possibilities closer to acrylics, especially with the slow and unlocking formula.

Nicest thing about oils is that if you make a mistake, so long as the layer underneath is dry you can just wipe a section and start over :)

Lady Carol
07-04-2008, 03:34 PM
colour pencils and graphites are my thing at the moment. Whether I paint better with that medium is yet to be determined.

07-04-2008, 04:04 PM
I don't like oils, they are smelly/messy and awkward to use!
Acrylics work just fine foe me.

07-04-2008, 05:14 PM
I tried oils once, got all the stuff I needed but found that they were way too much of a pain. I cant smell anything, so that didnt bother me. The clean up wasnt any fun, especially compared to the ease of acrylics. I basically made a mess of my art room, lol. I use my acrylics like you would oils, thick and unwatered or very little water. The only thing I would like to try with oils is ala prima, I think that's the word i'm looking for. I watch Heiner Hertling shows on public tv and he does some wonderful things with oils using that technique.
I started with acrylics so i'm probly a little biased, lol. I would like to try the Golden Opens but I recently changed over from Grumbacher to Liquitex Heavy Body's and dont wanna just set them aside. Who knows, I do love ordering things off the internet and maybe i'll just send off for some and see if I can do an ala prima with them or maybe even a plein aire.

07-04-2008, 06:15 PM
I started out with oils, used like Bob Ross and Bill Alexander taught and I enjoyed it for years. However, I now much prefer acrylics and mostly use the heavier blends of Liquitex. I still believe oils have it over acrylics when painting moving water, snow covered mountains,and sunsets but solvents and flamable waste disposal as well as tedious clean up gradually caused me to turn to acrylics. I also dislike the solvents on hands and the staining of fingernails and cuticles of some oil pigments. When I got accoustomed to painting with acrylics, I find that people seldom can tell the diffference in a finished painting, cannot tell if it was done in acrylic or oils without close inspection. Maybe because I use acrylic like oils, not watering them down. However, they do work well used as a watercolor. My next step is trying out the water mixable oils with their soap and water clean up and yet having the blending qualities of oils and slower drying. Keeping up with new products is a good thing, don't you think? One added comment - don't a lot of you wish that other companies would use the large caps on their paint tubes like Liquitex and Bob Ross use? I find them so much easier to get on and off without paint gumming up the threads and stripping the threads.

07-04-2008, 07:04 PM
I have only been using Acrylics for about 4-5 months.

So... I am much better at watercolour than acrylics, but, using acrylics has (I think) made me a better watercolourist because I'm trying a lot of new things.

07-04-2008, 07:20 PM
i love acrylics , but i really started learning in watercolors. so i do better with them

07-04-2008, 07:29 PM
I love acrylics, but sometimes I am tempted to stray. Last night I went to my art group and was surprised that so many of the oil painters were showing up with acrylic paintings! :D

07-04-2008, 08:26 PM
I don't know if I paint better, but I do like digital painting more. There is a lot less frustration for me. But something makes me keep at it with acrylics. I'm also trying coloured pencil now.

07-04-2008, 08:31 PM
One added comment - don't a lot of you wish that other companies would use the large caps on their paint tubes like Liquitex and Bob Ross use? I find them so much easier to get on and off without paint gumming up the threads and stripping the threads.

That was a major bonus for me when I switched over to Liquitex, the ease of taking off their caps. All my Grumbacher tubes needed a pair of pliers just to get the cap off. Sometimes the caps would break just trying to get em off. Yeah Aires, I thought that same thing when I got em.

07-04-2008, 09:30 PM
you know you don't have to use solvents when oil painting. I use a citrus based brush cleaner for oil paints and warm water and thats it. No solvents whatsoever.

I use Acrylics when I'm in a hurry and do like them a lot. They are my second choice after which comes watercolour, and then brush/pen and ink.

07-04-2008, 10:09 PM
you know you don't have to use solvents when oil painting. I use a citrus based brush cleaner for oil paints and warm water and thats it. No solvents whatsoever
It is not even the solvents that bother me, I just do not like the greasy smell of oils.
As well, living in a condo, the smell would permeate my home, and I sure do not want that!

07-05-2008, 03:16 AM
It depends what your subject and aim is; If the most important for you is the neuanses of colors and beauty, as the subject, use oils, the results are more delicate, but if you paint immagined scenes, stories that you need to be flexable and change frequently until you are happy, acrylics are easier and nicer to use. My friend covers his acrylics with glazure when completed, and it looks great.

07-05-2008, 05:50 AM
I used to paint better in oils, when I painted primarily in oils. Now I paint better in acrylics because I use them all the time. If I wanted to paint well in watercolours I'd just have to use them more often. It's all about practice, whatever the medium, no matter how long you've been doing it. :)

I still use both as they are completely different and I use them for different reasons. I also use pastel, watercolour, and printmaking. Acrylic is "easier" than all of them too just because I use it more often so have learned much more control and technique.


07-05-2008, 10:25 AM
I paint much better with oils, but the fumes are often too much. I think my fav medium in the paint genre is watercolor. I just love them.

07-05-2008, 10:34 AM
I paint better in acrylics, did oils in my youth and like some others have said was never patient enough to wait for layers to dry, ended up with mud. Then
I tried later the water soluble oils, not much better. From the time that acrylics appeared on the scene this became my preference. At the moment I'm enjoying as well the Atelier Interactives, but I haven't an issue with quick drying times I actually prefer it, but these offer a little more time if you mist your surface, if not they're not too much different then other acrylics I've found anyway.

But overall I have to admit that I'm a graphite/colored pencil lover. Some of my best works and portraits were done with graphites (cross hatching became an obsession), and then through colored pencils I wandered to the Aquarelles.

Never could master the true watercolor art but would take the Aquarelles and acrylics and use them together on watercolore hot press paper, some pretty interesting outcomes. Not for heavy layered painters tho to use together.

Tried most mediums in all my years but when I paint I use acrylics, they're so familiar to me it's become second nature. Tho you get a rich look from oils I've been playing around with some of the techniques of the
old Masters, and applying it to how I paint with acrylics, it's pretty surprising that you can emulate a good deal with the acrylics, in this I've been using the Old Holland Classic Acrylics and I'm liking what's happening to the vibrancy of a still life I'm doing. Same layering process, using glazing and of course the acrylic layers dry faster so you're progressing not as slowly as with oils, but this too takes patience just not as much.

Gotta try it all I guess but you settle where you're most proficient but it's fun to wander at times.


07-06-2008, 10:26 PM
I did just one or two oil paints based on oil, but they seemed to glow compared Acrylic :-). I am using Acrylic and not going to think twice, and I think the crucial nature of Acrylic is its shorter dry time, and use it practice more with layers, pastes and gels.
Try reading this book http://www.amazon.com/Acrylic-Revolution-Techniques-Working-Versatile/dp/1581808046


07-11-2008, 08:16 PM
Glad for your feedback, Raymo from Oregon! I hate having to keep a pair of large needlenose pliers in my supplies for lids that will not budge from the tube, no matter what you try. It is hard for me to understand why all these wonderful paint companies don't switch to larger easy to remove lids, lids that aren't so shallow that they strip the threads or break the caps when having to remove them by force. I would love to try M. Graham paints, especially the acrylic line but am now avoiding any brand that does not have larger caps. Such a small thing but so important to any artist as good quality artist paint is not cheap in any good brand. Over the years I have had many tubes of paint ruined simply because of a cracked cap. So glad to hear some one else has faced the same problem. Liquitex and Bob Ross would sure get some fierce competition if other companies would follow suit with better caps on their paint tubes! I like to try to paints that come out but will look at caps first before buying.

07-11-2008, 09:34 PM
I have never tried Oils so can't say but I love the acrylics I too use Liquitex Heavy body Paints with the Large caps and Just Love them!!

Snuzin Susan
07-12-2008, 12:03 AM
Well it depends...if im doing something quick and lose...watercolor hands down.....people/action/fantasy...I tend to stick with soft pastels....more detailed acrylic. I work in so many different mediums and jump from one to the next so often it just keep progressing evenly. This year alone I've gone from a watercolor to a pastel to an acrylic and now im off to do a colored pencil :eek: . I love all mediums!


07-12-2008, 12:40 AM
I've used oils for many years, occasionally I have taken a stab at switching to acrylics, and have returned to oils. I think for work that's between impressionism to realism it's more of a challenge in acrylics.
I have been working with acrylics again, this time I just might stay with it. Since I have been doing more still life and wanting to glaze, acrylic has been more attractive. I'm waiting for my shipment of Opens to come in, but wait do I want it to dry slower? Maybe sometimes.:)

07-12-2008, 03:11 AM
It's just that I suck really at acrylics. My oils are soooooo much better but I love the properties of acrylic paints.

I did three oils back in 85-86 then did nothing until last Sept and I started back with acrylics, however, I can't get the look I want with them.

I suppose more practice is in order! :-) Vicki

07-16-2008, 10:37 PM
The oil/acrylic debate interests me because I like both for different reasons. It's true that the orange based solvents make using oils a lot less of a problem than with flammable solvents. I do find I have more waste to dispose of even using the citrus based products.

Question: In re-using stretched canvas that has quite a bit of texture even after coats of gesso, have any of you found acrylics covering as well as oils? I just finished a painting that was done on a refurbished & gessoed old canvas. When done in acrylic, even full strength, it did not camouflage the "imperfections." I finally resorted to oil paint and it did an excellent job of making those troublesome places disappear iinto the scene.
Has anyone else experienced this and if so, what was your take on it? I am interested in rather there is a way to make acrylic cover as well as the oils?
I agree with the artist who said she thought the uneven places left by a former painting added interest but let's face it, you don't want the
shape of a snow covered mountain showing up in the wrong place, like a sky or lake.

07-17-2008, 02:28 AM
I started out with watercolors at a young age, moved to oils and am now partial to acrylics. I paint very similar in technique (which is pretty "thin" basically) with oils and acrylics, but prefer acrylics since I'm impatient. I also use chalk pastels when the mood strikes, and sometimes even colored pencils. As far as acrylic paints go, I too am a fan of Liquitex, but I use a soft body, and find both pros and cons with the Atilier interactives.

07-22-2008, 09:59 PM
A tip for both oil and acrylic painters.:wave: I read a tip from the Liquitex forum and someone said the Murphys Oil Soap would soften even dried brushes clear down to the ferrel. I was skeptical but since I had the soap I gave it a try with a very old but useful bristle brush, oil paint dried hard as a rock for a good quarter of an inch below the ferrell. I let it soak in the Murphy's oil soap and completely forgot it for several days. I figured I'd ruined the brush but found the part of the years old paint had softened and washed out of the brush. When I rubbed the bristles in a tub of brush soap, I was surprised when phthalo green began sudsing out of the brush. Since it is an old brush, I am repeating the procedure to see if it will continue softening the paint near the ferrel. So it appears an useful tip for both oils and acrylics and worth sharing with others who have let a brush dry before it was well cleaned.:thumbsup: Thanks Liquitex Forum writers!!!:clap:

07-22-2008, 10:32 PM
I personally love oil paint... but I can't ever seem to get a darn thing right with them. Everything just gets all muddy and just nasty looking.
Meanwhile, everything I do in pastels seems to just work out from the start, with little effort or time.
Acrylics are a mixed bag for me... most of the time they look like vomit but every once and a while they just click...

07-23-2008, 02:35 AM

I like doing my first few layers in fast drying acrylic, and the final layers in glossy oil paint.

07-23-2008, 02:29 PM
This thread is interesting to me because I'm hovering between oils & acrylics, Like many I love the rich look of oils but like the ability to make corrections with acrylics.
I note that many plein aire painters use Oil for the staying wet properties.
I don't know but if the end product looks better in Oil why bother with acrylic?
There is only so much time (and money) one can use experimenting!

I think its back to Grahams walnut oil based paints!

07-23-2008, 04:04 PM
I used to prefer oils. I got a better result, they were faster to work with, and easier for plein air work (paint and mixes didn't dry out on the palette). However, I'm now using the brand new Golden OPEN acrylics, and I don't miss my oils one bit. They give me everything I need and then some, and I think the paintings look better than my oil paintings. They have all the benefits I'm used to with oils, but can also do some acrylic tricks that oils cannot do. I can wait till I get home to wash out my brushes, the paints don't dry on the palette or skin over, and I don't need to bring any solvent or oil along. The color and values I get seem to be better, and side by side in the galleries they are selling better than my oils, though it's hard to tell them apart. I'm hooked.