The Artistic Debate Over the Use of Acrylic Vs Oil Paints

In the debate over which is better, acrylic paint or oils, it can only truly be answered by preference and in some cases, availability. Most artists would probably not be starving artists if they switched over to acrylic as they tend to be less expensive than oils. However, many artists may feel that acrylics somehow detract from their work and that by using a less expensive material they are somehow decreasing the value.

This of course, is the furthest thing from the truth. Paintings done in acrylics have recently sold for at least four times that of some of the most valuable oil paintings in the world. It always comes down to talent and the fame of the name of the artist when it comes to valuing the work, not the material that was used in creating it.

Many artists that are accustomed to the maneuverability of oils are a bit surprised at how acrylics handle. It is true that because an acrylic dries faster that it can be more difficult to use, but if the correct techniques are used then it can simulate oils quite well. There are many retarders on the market that can lessen the drying time. Not only can they be made to work as oils, but water can be added to the acrylic to create the consistency of water colors. Using too much water, however, can break down the material and it will no longer be able to dry and form correctly. This is a technique that must be practiced and some trial and error will occur.

The obvious advantage to using acrylics is their ability to dry very quickly. Once again, many artists find this as a hindrance, but works can be created in acrylics much faster than in oils. With oils, even after leaving the painting for several days to dry, the oil on canvas can still be corrected with a brush. This is not the case with acrylics. Some see this as making the acrylic artist more attuned to correct brush technique and ability, as they are not as easily able to make corrections. Therefore, it could be said that an artist that works with high quality acrylics has to be very accurate.

Some find that working with either is difficult depending on what they first started with. There is also quite a different in the way that the materials smell, feel and clean up. Oils are much easier to clean and smell of linseed. Acrylics can be harder to clean because they dry so quickly and don’t have a strong odor. In this case, acrylics could win out again because it forces the artist not to drop a single bit of the material because they will have to spend quite some time in removing it.

Some argue that oils have more depth than acrylics, while others mention the fact that acrylics have more possible palette colors. The materials used for oil paints can not hold as many color molecules as acrylics. For instance, there are no neon oil paints, yet there is a wide selection of neon colors available in acrylics.

Depending on the skill, talent and desire of the artist, either material can be used effectively. There are many high quality acrylic paintings on canvas as well as those created with oils. It will be left up to time and the artist’s preference to determine which is truly best.

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Source by Veny Arsenov