Why are OILS a preferred medium?

Oil Painting vs Acrylic Painting



A Glass Jug with two apples and a loaf of bread on a circular table which has a white table cloth
Still Life - Oils

Hello! I am glad to have you drop by because this month I would like to focus my attention on oil painting. For most of my adult life I have stuck to Acrylics and I have been very happy with the medium but recently I decided to give Oils a try. I can tell you off the top of my head, from my very own experience that I was overwhelmed when I used Oil paints. However as I continued to use them I was able to get a handle on things and soon I began envisioning that my sketches would come to life with oils. Acrylics will always be my first love but oils have swept me off my feet :-) I know that it sounds crazy but let me tell you why I am fascinated with oils


Time is the first advantage of oils over acrylics

I decided that the best way to do an oil painting would be to first have a sketch and I did so. I had begun to map out the colors for my sketch when I stopped to tell myself that while the process I was following was great I had a major advantage with Oils when compared with acrylics and that was TIME. Yes, that is correct, time plays a major role in painting with Oils. You see the oil paint does not dry as quickly as acrylic paint does and for that very reason I knew that I could allow my painting to evolve since it was my first attempt with this medium. If one has the basic knowledge of color then there is plenty of room for experimentation.


Blending is easier but the wrist movements vary

I also discovered that blending of colors was a joy :-) Was it the fact that my paintings, though surreal, were better suited to oils than acrylics? I let you be the judge so take a look at a painting of mine with acrylic on canvas


Pencil Sketch of a girl's face by Leeza A. Harris
"Awake" - Pencil Sketch. Pic Courtesy - Leeza A. Harris

Oil Painting process of "Awake" by Leeza A. Harris.
Awake - Oil on Canvas. Transitioning.


Oil 80% complete Painting process of "Awake" by Leeza A. Harris.
Adding Red hues to the Painting "Awake". Pic Courtesy - Leeza A. Harris

The completed painting called Awake by Leeza A. Harris
Oil on Canvas titled "AWAKE" by Leeza A. Harris

It took me two days to finish this painting and it is titled "Awake"



Let us now take a look at an acrylic painting of mine.

This painting is part of the Series "Hope" and it is titled Hope II and I completed this in 4 hours.


Initial Sketch of "Hope II" by Leeza A. Harris.
Pencil Sketch - Series Hope. Pic Courtesy - Leeza A. Harris



Acrylic Painting process, step 1 of "Hope II" by Leeza A. Harris.
First layer of Acrylic Paint - "Hope II". Pic Courtesy Leeza A. Harris


Acrylic Painting process of "Hope II" by Leeza A. Harris.
The greens are added to Hope II - Acrylic on Canvas. Pic Courtesy - Leeza A. Harris

Acrylic Painting - Shading process of "Hope II" by Leeza A. Harris.
Shading and Blending of Color on Hope II. Pic Courtesy - Leeza A. Harris


Acrylic Painting  "Hope II" by Leeza A. Harris.
HOPE II - Acrylic on Canvas. Pic Courtesy - Leeza A. Harris


I had to work very quickly with this painting since the paint was drying so quickly. It was a challenging and intense experience to finally put down my brushes after the painting was ready :-)


Can you see the difference in the mediums? I bet you can!


Here is the third reason for preferring oils, the paint when squeezed onto a palette does not dry up within a short period like acrylics do so you can keep oils on your palette at least for a couple of days.


Oil Paint takes longer to dry

There are new solutions being offered to allow your acrylic paints to have a longer life once they are out of a jar/tube and this solution will work provided you are very decisive about the colors you will be using and also the quantity you would be requiring.


Now comes my personal favorite reason which is that oil paint literally glides on the canvas. While I had a lot of wrist work involved in my acrylic paintings the wrist techniques that I employed while painting my oils were slower and gentler. Such is the beauty of this medium.


Do NOT be afraid to experiment with mediums

I leave you with this: Do not be afraid to experiment with mediums. Whatever the medium you decide to use base it purely on the painting you wish to do.


Happy painting! :-)

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