What can’t you paint using acrylics?

While cruising through the art forums I couldn’t help but notice a difference between oil and acrylics. Those artists whose style is similar to mine often use oils. I started with oils 50 years ago but switched to acrylics. The painting you see in this post is the last that I did with oils. It was the odour that finally got to me. More specifically Turpentine. About 30 years ago the refining process for turpentine changed. It used to smell like Tea Tree oil which I loved (nothing to do with tea). There are several refining processes for turpentine, some of which are billed as odourless. I suspect the one I’m referring to had to do with cost. After the change turpentine had a harsh chemical odour that bothered me. I stopped painting. I tried acrylics some years later but found them too transparent. I tried again recently and the latest acrylics are much better. In fact I think that in many ways they are superior to oils. I had to get used to the quick drying time but now I consider it an advantage. I don’t have several canvases drying waiting for the next step.

So why is it that acrylics are deemed to require a different style or be worth less money? What can’t you paint using acrylics? There are some changes required to techniques but other than that I’ve found no trouble with painting anything using acrylics and most of the techniques transfer easily. I’ve occasionally used a retarder to lengthen the drying time of acrylics. I used to use a mixture of linseed oil and turpentine. If I wanted a longer drying time I’d use more oil; shorter, more turpentine. I love acrylics. Very little odour. Washes up with soap and water. Fabulous colours. Should be archival (have to wait a couple of hundred years to be sure).

I think anything can be painted using acrylics. There are properties about acrylics that you need to get used to. There are some very annoying properties about oils that you need to get used to. There is nothing that I can see about either that would make it more valuable. So choose the medium you like and paint.