Oil Vs. Acrylic Paints: What Are The Key Differences?

Buddha painted by Zareena Qureshi

Are you just starting as a painter but don’t know where to begin? Perhaps you’re not sure about which paints to use. Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we’ll look at the two most common types of paint—oil and acrylic—so you’ll know which one to use and when. While they are both fantastic mediums to use, they have different characteristics.

Read on to find out some of the key differences between the two paint types.

What Are Acrylic Paints?

Acrylic paints were created in the middle of the twentieth century as a substitute for oil paint. They’re made from synthetic paints and designed to blend just like oil paints. They can also be mixed to bring about different textures and consistencies.

What Are Oil Paints?

Portrait of a woman painted by Zareena Qureshi

Oil paints have been used by artists ever since the beginning of the 14th century. Before it was invented, many painters used egg tempera—a mixture of egg and ground pigment. However, with the invention of oil paints, most people switched to oil paints because they offered greater versatility and longer working time, making the painting experience better.

The Key Differences

Here are some key differences you should consider before deciding between acrylic paint and oil paint.

Drying Time

Acrylic paint will dry in an hour, if not within 20 minutes, depending on the room temperature and humidity level. That means painters have to work faster, without any distractions, and be super careful because there’s little room for mistakes.

On the other hand, oil paints dry very slowly. This means painters can take their time moving paint around and blending different ones to ensure they’ve reached the perfect consistency and shade. However, painters may have to wait for weeks or months—depending on the layers of the paint—for it to dry.

Mixing Paint

When using acrylic paints, painters will have difficulty blending different paints because acrylic begins to dry as soon as it’s put on the palate. Unless the painter is an expert, they’ll face problems.

With oil colors, painters can mix colors for days and produce different and more subtle shades. That’s because oil paints take a long time to dry, so painters can experiment with them more.

Clean Up

Painters have to be extra careful with acrylics and clean the brushes quickly since the bristles can harden within a half-hour.

While acrylic paints can be cleaned with water, oil paints require turpentine or Mineral Spirits, which are both harmful to the skin. Cleaning oil paints is also a much longer process, although painters don’t have to do so immediately. If you’re looking for paintings, we’re here to help you. You can buy animal paintings, portrait oil paintings, bird paintings, floral paintings, and more innovative paintings online. You can check out our collection and contact us if you have any questions. We’ll get right back to you!

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