Oil versus Acrylic

At one time I had several canvases on the go at once and I could choose which I wanted to work on. Now I only have one in process and it’s on my easel. With oils it was necessary to have more than one canvas in process because oils dry so slowly but with acrylics it’s the opposite. I find it easy to become blocked regardless of the medium because some small aspect of the painting starts to cause me trouble and I obsess about it, however with acrylics it’s easy to just paint over the area and start again. With acrylics I agonise over every little thing and often re-paint areas but with oils I had to put the canvas aside and wait for the paint to dry. This was somewhat of an advantage because looking at the painting again after it had sat for a couple of weeks, something that needed work would usually jump out at me. I could do the same with acrylics but every time I stand up the paint is dry and calling for work.

The two mediums sound very similar and in some ways they are, however in other ways they are very different; acrylics don’t smell. I love the way turpentine used to smell but the newer process has changed that, so now I don’t like the odour at all. If the turpentine process had not changed I would still be using oils, but having said that I’m very happy with the newer pigments so I’m happy to have changed to acrylics.

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