Yesterday, while painting En Plein Air at Bastion Square, a young man stopped by to watch me paint. He mentioned that he paints in acrylics because oils take too long to dry. Or so he heard. He himself had never painted in oils.
There has been a misconception about the drying time of oils and therefore people turn to acrylics. The oils I placed on my canvas was almost dry by the end of the day. If one uses oils with high oil content, yes it takes longer to dry. Use the leanest paint on your first layer. If you add a slow drying medium to your oils it will take longer to dry. If you paste it on thickly, it will take longer to dry. Another misconception is the strong odor of oils. In my opinion, acrylics has a stronger odor than oils. It’s the turpentine that has a strong toxic smell. Don’t use it. I’m asthmatic and I use oils. If you want to use traditional oils but still don’t want to clean your brushes with mineral spirits, then use walnut oil to clean your brushes and wash with paintbrush soap. Murphy’s soap works best.
Don’t miss out on using oils because of other’s misconceptions. Oils are a beautiful medium to work with. Easier in my opinion to plein air paint in oils than acrylics that dries almost instantly on a hot summers day leaving no time to manipulate your paint.
Happy Painting and I wish for you all a wonderful day!
Thanks for the information about oils versus acylics. What is your opinion about the “new?” water-based oils? Have you used them? If so, are they as easy to work with and do they produced results comparable to regular oils?
I understand they may be safer, health-wise.
Hi there, Thanks for visiting my blog :- ) As far as water based oils are concerned, I personally haven’t used them, but I know reputable artists who use them and swear by them. I’m happy with the brand of oils I use, the quality is outstanding, and yes turpentine can be a bit of a pain, I must admit. Nine times out of ten I spill it on myself. Wear gloves, I say; and then I forget them at home on a plein air outing. And of course, too much trouble to go back home to get them, especially when I have already set up and mixed my colors! Make a checklist for plein air painting and include latex gloves :- )
Thank you for your comments! Good idea about the gloves.
This is intriguing to me because I’ve always felt that the way I work dictates that I need to paint in acrylics. How quickly can a single, thin layer of oil paint dry?
Hi Katherine, a thin layer of burnt/Raw umber can dry in a day, It really depends on the color used. there are also mediums that can speed up the drying times of oils.