Saturday, March 10, 2012

Is It Oil? Is It Acrylic?

I know that in the "fine art" world, there is a kind of, shall we say, "discussion" over the pluses and minuses of oil over acrylics.

Once I started to paint with oils I was amazed at the fluidity of oil paints. If you were careful and didn't make mud, it was amazing how they flowed AND better yet, continued to flow for at least a day or two if not longer.

In doing a series of flower images painted on a stark black background, I indeed used acrylic paint for the black portion. After taking a class with a similar motif, I learned not to paint where the flower would go so. Instead I sketched the flower on the canvas, then painted the black acrylic paint around that area.

After attending the Painting Convention in Las Vegas this month, I realized that I too could teach at least as well as many of the teachers and so finished a painting I had started before I left. There was one difference. This painting of the flower would be in acrylics, not oils.

Using Americana Paints by DecoArt, I found that I was able to achieve the same effects I could with oils but oddly enough, by using the methods I was using in my craft work. Dry brushing, floating the edges was exactly the same. I don't think if this was put alongside the oil flowers that you would even notice, not at least at first. 

The quandary...which is better? The strides made in acrylics, some slow drying, some adding more pigments, the variety of mediums you can add to do a variety of things, does make acrylic paints more and more alluring. However, the best benefit of all is the last. By the time I was finished in my art session, everything packed and put away, it was dry.

Am I giving up my oils? No. I have quite an investment there and do like the fact that it does take longer to dry. Will I use more acrylic paints in fine art painting? Absolutely. I have quite an investment there. There are just some times when you want the painting done, completed and able to ship. I can do them in the house, on my art table and not have anyone complaining about the smell. 

So, the quandary continues!

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