I am a visual artist living in Southwestern Indiana who publishes art related blog posts regularly. Sign up to receive updates from my blog at the bottom of this page. 🙂
Still Life with Tiger Lily
9×12 oil on panel
I always said I would never try oil painting. I think this was because all the materials needed for oil painting made it intimidating and I didn’t know where to start. Although I’m not hanging up my acrylics for good, I think I am starting to fall in love with oils.
Taking a still life painting class is what prompted me to try oils. It was nice having someone to guide me and show me the ropes, and having help streamlined the learning process and made everything seem simpler.
The one thing I don’t like about oil paints is the drying time. Acrylics dry in about 20 minutes depending on how thick the paint is applied, and my oil paintings take about 5 days to dry to the touch. What this means is that I have to have a place to store them while they are drying, and this also means since I have a small studio that I have to work smaller. I’ve been working on 9×12 panels and I can complete a painting in just a few hours since I’m not a hyper realistic painter. When I work with acrylics I generally work 20×20 or larger.
Still Life with Jars & Shell
9×12 oil on panel
Even though I miss working larger, I love the ability to blend easier with oils and I also love the way the final pieces look. Oils have a sheen to them that acrylics don’t have without using varnish. Another thing I like about oils is that they keep their vibrancy when dry; acrylics seem to lose a little bit of the vibrant color after they are dry. With oils, it’s what you see is what you get.
Above all, my favorite thing about oils is how the underneath layers mix with the new layers. When I paint with acrylics, the underneath layer is usually dry by the time I apply the next layer. This makes for more unique color combinations.
My paintings in oil are also just a tad looser than they are in acrylic. For me, that is good since I’m wanting to loosen up more.
There are many benefits to working with oils but if you are wanting a finished painting fast, acrylics would be your choice due to drying time.