Acrylic Paint vs Oils vs Water Mixable Oils
The following article is a guest post by Artist and Art educator Rod Moore - visit Rod's website for information about him - and to check out his Free learn to paint beginner course.
Acrylics are a great medium and extremely versatile for all artists. They are also terrific for beginners to get started with painting.
However those of you who have followed me for some time will know that oil paint is my preferred medium.
For a couple of reasons:
- I love the thick buttery texture of oils vs acrylics which do not feel the same
- Oils dry the same colour where as acrylics dry darker making it difficult to colour match.
- Because oils have a slower drying time they provide more opportunity to work back into them. Even when they are tacky they are good to work back into which means blending is so much easier.
- When dry oils look better … acrylics tend to go a little flat or dull when dried.
For me there are so many benefits of oils over acrylic. I love oil paint but I stopped using them and started painting with acrylics for the following reasons:
- Oils and their solvents are more toxic and therefore bad for your health
- Oils tend to smell out the house so not good for your relationship with your family
- cleaning up oils ...ergh enough said on that one!
Continuing to work with traditional oils was no longer an option for me.
So I gave them up to work with acrylics. But I was never fully happy with the acrylics for some of the reasons stated above. Yes there have been some tremendous developments with acrylics in recent times like the Atelier Interactive.
Recently though I started to experiment with water mixable oil paints.
And I am excited by the possibilities.
Water mixable oil paints have the same ingredients in the tube as traditional oil paints … ie pigment and linseed oil.
When you squeeze them out of the tube they look and feel so similar to traditional oil paints that most people would not be able to tell the difference. They break down with water in a similar fashion as traditional oils break down in thinner or solvent.
So what is different?
Apparently (and I’m no scientist so don’t quote me on this) … in the lab they have modified some of the molecules in the linseed oil so that it is compatible with water.
No idea how or what etc but who cares.
The point is water mixable oils offer the best of both worlds. They offer the advantages of both traditional oils and acrylics.
They allow you to paint just like you would with traditional oil paints. The paint is thick and buttery and handles beautifully, and stays wet longer so you can manipulate the paint and blend for a lot longer than you could with acrylics.
And they can be thinned with water and they wash up in water like you would with acrylics.
The best of both worlds!
They take a little bit of getting used to.
While you can use the same 3 steps of the Moore Method of Painting there is a few things to learn about using water mixable oils … mostly to do with painting alla prima.
I definitely recommend giving them a try.
I have been using the Winsor & Newton Artisan brand and are quite happy with them. This is not an endorsement of them as such … try and experiment with different brands.
For my mind water mixable oils give the best of both worlds and offer a really workable solution for those of us who want the advantages of both traditional oils and acrylics, without the disadvantages.
Give them a try.