Opinion: Acrylic painting vs. oil painting

Jaidyn Yarber, Columnist

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   Painting is a common hobby for expression and depiction. One of the many characteristics that differentiate this kind of artwork is the type of media that is utilized. Different paints display different moods, emphasis, and overall effectiveness. Two of the most commonly used paints are acrylic and oil. Acrylic paint is a water-based and fast-drying paint widely used by artists. Another common media is oil paint, which is oil-based and slow-drying. Understanding the differences between acrylic and oil is important for painters, and it can lead to artistic growth and a better capability of skill. When compared, the two paints are unique by their different strengths.

Acrylics became commercially available in the 1950s, but oils are a classic that dates back to the 12th century. If you’re familiar with historical pieces such as the Mona Lisa, Starry Night, and The Persistence of Memory, then you can recognize oil paint to be famously adopted by some of the best artists in their generations. Alternatively, acrylic is a modern media; only newer artists have been able to utilize it. Although oil is still very relevant, it dates back to older artists while acrylic has been adopted by newer ones.

For artists who like to create more realistic work, like portraits and scenery, oil would be the best fit. Because of its slow drying qualities, an artist can spend more time perfecting their work. This paint always blends better on canvas, giving soft tones and smooth displays of color. It’s important to have this advantage when incorporating shadows and shadings into a piece. For those who prefer less realistic work, acrylic paint is the better option. It drys rather quick, giving an artist less time to spend on some details. Acrylic is very versatile in the color scheme, but its water-base formula doesn’t spare much time to combine and blend colors onto the canvas.

Acrylic and oil are two of the most popular paints. Skilled artists typically have enough experience with both paints to be able to prefer one over the other. It takes deliberate experimentation and a desire to persevere to master either of the two. No matter the preference, artists recognize the differences and similarities and use it to take advantage of their skill. Acrylic and oil both have the potential to create elaborate masterpieces; there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to an artist’s preference of a specific media.

Jaidyn Yarber is a freshman English major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].edu