Acrylic vs Oil Paint

Acrylic vs Oil Paint

Why Acrylic Paint is Better Than Oil Paint

It has been said that acrylic paint has been around since the 1950s and has been used by art painters ever since because of its quick drying capabilities unlike oil which takes quite a long time to dry.  For those who are in the art business, there seems to be those that agree with this precept but some that may favor the use of oil as a medium to create works of art.

The battle between these two types of art paint goes on but it all boils down to whether a masterpiece can be preserved longer so that future generations can enjoy and learn from art masters who paved the way before them.  For those who think painting with oils is a better way to produce a nice sheen to your painting, the answer to this is that there are acrylics sold with gloss and matte finishes that offer the same sheen but without the toxicity found in oils.

Acrylic versus Oil Paints

If being an art lover and connoisseur is a fascinating hobby, probably you would know that oil paint costs more than acrylic.  Oil paints are not easy to tame.  It will take an artist’s patience to work with this medium.  Some painters are not so happy with using oils because in its early days, acrylics were said to break down easily which makes the colors flake off from the canvas.  This created a negative effect on the minds of artists who may think about using this paint medium.

If we think about progress, it seems that when oil is used, artists produce fewer paintings because of the longer time that it will take for an oil painting to dry.  This in essence, is one of the things that artists need to think about.  Another factor that gives acrylic paints the edge over oil is that it is versatile because it allows a novice painter to experiment with different styles of painting.  This is because acrylics can be diluted like watercolors.  This is something that you can never do using oil paints.  If you are concerned whether acrylic will dry too fast, then use a “retarder” which will help to slow the drying process because it causes acrylic to thicken.

More Comparisons between Acrylic and Oil Paint

Since oil paints come from organic materials they decay faster.  This is where acrylics have the edge over oil because of its synthetic polymer content.  Going back to the issue about most oil paints causing toxic reaction, it can cause headaches and some sinus problems.  Other illnesses related to cancer can be traced to a prolong time of exposure to oil paints in some cases.

In terms of cleaning time, acrylic paints will wash up with the use of water.  Just be sure to wash your brush bristles right after you use them because acrylics dry fast.  Choosing the right acrylic friendly brushes can go a long way in terms of providing the artist with a tool to make his job of producing a work of art easier.  Even if acrylics tend to pick up dirt more easily than oils, it is easier to clean up acrylic paints than oil painting without destroying the original image.

Another food for thought about acrylics versus oil paints, is that oil paints are prone to chemical changes that cause them to be crack with age.  New generation acrylic paints will resist this cracking effect even when a thick paint is applied.  Oil paints yellow with age.  This has to do with the oxidation process which causes the paint to harden and produce more yellowing effects.  There has been an effort to save the works of the masters but it seems that no solutions that can be found yet to solve this “yellowing” issue.  Do not forget that when acrylic paints are kept indoors they will not harden so easily.

It may take some time before those who stick to the “old ways” would give in and realize that in order for art to move forward to the next century it has to learn to accept that some things need to change.  The debate between these two types of art paint will not stop though, since loyal followers of both mediums will stick to what they believe in.  The main issue here is whether each would listen to what the other has to say and ponder on the reasons why art paint has the advantage over the other for the sake of art.


Our next article looks deeper into Acrylic Painting