So, you are ready to start painting but are not sure whether to start with oils or acrylics. You may be thinking that acrylic is easier to use as it is the paint most us of experimented with in grade school art classes. However, for many of us, oil is the way to go and we want to tell you why…Before anything let’s get the biggest obstacle to oil painting out of the way… the fumes.Many people cannot take the toxic paint thinners, spirits and mediums that come with painting in oil but what most new artists don’t realize is that you do not need these to paint in oil at all. Brushes can be cleaned with a simple method of soap and water and the medium for your pigments can be a non-toxic linseed or walnut oil. So, if you are worried about the fumes… you can breathe easy!Now let’s dive into two of the major advantages of Oil…First and most important is drying time.Acrylic paint dries almost immediately after application unless you are using gels, extenders and other products - and this can be frustrating for new painters for several reasons, most importantly if you are learning to paint and taking your time with your composition you may have to re-work it several times if you are stopping and starting in between sessions with acrylics. With oils, you can walk away from your painting for half a day and when you come back your paint will still be wet.Next is blending.Although oil has been around for thousands of years it became especially popular during the renaissance era when painters discovered its ability to create incredibly realistic paintings because of its smooth blending properties. This is especially useful when doing subtle shading in your paintings. Can you imaging the Mona Lisa in acrylic?When taken together these two abilities of oil paint give you great flexibility and ease of use as well as a wide range of effects that you can create in your painting. You can combine transparent and opaque techniques, glaze and body color in a full range within a single painting.
One final benefit of using oil is that when your paint dries it will retain its color which is not always the case with acrylic. Of course, there are challenges to using oils as well but when everything is taken into consideration oil is definitely a great choice to learn how to paint your own masterpiece.