Oil vs Acrylic Painting

Kelly Maloney Fine Art

Oil vs Acrylic Painting

Oil vs Acrylic Painting: Why I choose to paint with oils

As some who is heavily biased towards working with oil paints. I find a common question that I’m asked is around the difference between oil and acrylic paintings. I’ll try to shed light on their differences, not just in technical terms but through the lens of my personal experience and artistic style, which is a blend of impressionism, expressionism, and abstract art.

Price Point

For many artists, including myself, the choice of medium is often influenced by price. Oil paints, which I primarily use, tend to be on the higher end of the spectrum, costing anywhere between $20 to $100 per tube. This investment reflects not only in the quality of the pigments but also in the longevity and richness of the artwork. Acrylics, on the other hand, are generally more budget-friendly, offering a practical option for artists who are conscious of their spending. This is also one reason why oil paintings are usually a bit more expensive to buy than acrylic paintings.

Drying Time

One of the most defining differences between oil and acrylic paints is their drying time. Oil paints, with their prolonged drying period, allow me to revisit a painting over several days or even weeks. This also lends itself to a higher price point when purchasing an oil painting. However, this aspect is particularly important to me, as it aligns with my creative process of stepping away from a work and returning with fresh eyes and ideas. Acrylics, known for their quick drying, offer a different rhythm of working, suitable for artists who prefer faster completion.

Color Mixing

The way colors mix and interact on the canvas is a crucial part of my artistic expression. Oils provide a level of transparency and depth in colors that I find unmatched by acrylics. The richness and subtlety of oil paints enable me to achieve the nuanced shades crucial for my style, which allows my art to translate between different styles.

Mediums and Techniques

My love for oil painting intensifies when I consider the possibilities of texture and depth. The ability to build layers upon layers in multiple sessions is a characteristic of oil painting that I cherish. This layering adds not just physical texture but also a narrative depth to my artwork. While acrylics also offer textural versatility, the tactile quality of oils, especially when applied with a palette knife, creates a unique artistic experience.

Artistic Style and Expression

My artistic style, which encompasses impressionism, expressionism, and abstract, finds a comfortable home in oil painting. The thick, expressive layers of paint achievable with oils lend themselves beautifully to abstract features. The fluidity and adaptability of oil paints allow me to explore various techniques, enhancing my expression on the canvas.

While acrylics offer certain advantages like cost-effectiveness and quick drying, it is the depth, texture, and flexibility of oils that resonate with my artistic soul. Every artist's journey is unique, and for me, oil paints have been a faithful companion in translating my inner visions onto the canvas.

Check out my latest oil painting collections!