Do you recommend painting with oils or water colors?

United States
June 28, 2008 1:45pm CST
I started painting about 7 months ago. I have only painted with acrylics on canvas so far. What do you recommend? Should I try oils or water colors next. How do they differ from using acrylics?
2 people like this
4 responses
• Canada
21 Jul 08
I also paint with acrylics. As a long time owner of an art gallery,I would suggest staying with thwe acrylics and oils. If you want to sell your art,we have found out that watercolors are not so much in demand as the acrylics or oils. We didn't find customers looked at acrylic works as being somewhat of a lower standing. So keep on painting. You can even try colored hot wax! (encaustic)
@owlwings (43915)
• Cambridge, England
20 Jul 08
If you are used to using acrylics, you will find oils a very similar technique. One of the advantages of oils over acrylics is that they are slower to dry, so you have more time to use blending and scumbling techniques. Oil colours probably require more discipline (and smelly solvents) than acrylics, though acrylic brushes are far more easily spoiled by leaving the paint to dry on them! The texture (and smell) of oil colours is something that one can easily fall in love with. I have never quite felt the same affinity with acrylics - though that may be because I grew up with the smell of turpentine from my father's paintings! Watercolours need a completely different approach and, I find, are much more challenging. With acrylics and oils it is possible (and also often desirable) to paint light over dark - working dark to light, as it were, by painting the highlights later. Watercolours are more or less transparent, so one is really forced to work from light to dark, in other words one paints the shadows last, leaving the highlights to shine through. The exception to this is when one uses gouache either for the whole painting or as part of it.
@naty1941 (2336)
• United States
17 Jul 08
I think you should try both. As they are different and will give you lots of experience. I am allergic to oils so have quit painting with them. Watercolors are much harder but you will learn how to manipulation the colors in time.
@susieq223 (3742)
• United States
30 Jun 08
I use acrylics most of the time, because they are my favorite. Many serious artists, however, scorn acrylics. I'm not sure why. Oils are preferred by many as the traditional medium of the greats, e.g., the classic painters. Good oil paints generally have better pigment and richness of color. They are easily blended. Oils are opaque, so you can cover mistakes easily. Because oils tend to be thicker, you can get various textures from them by adding layers, using palette knives and other things to apply the paint. Also, oils don't dry on the palatte as quickly as acrylics, so you can take lots of time, even leave the palette several days and the paint will still be usable.What I don't like about oils is the difficulty in clean up, the smell, and the length of time it takes to dry. Watercolor is very difficult for me. You can't erase or cover-up mistakes. They have to be incorporated into the picture. Generally, watercolors have less pigment, so the colors are much paler and transparent. There are a lot of interesing effects you can get with watercolor that you can't get with oils using washes and transparent layering. Watercolors really wet the paper and stay wet for some time, so you have to paint the picture in stages to avoid colors from bleeding into each other. Hope this answers some of your questions. By all means experiment and have some fun!