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Understanding Paints- Canvas Painting 101, Part 2

Updated: Dec 7, 2023


multiple paint brushes with paint on them

Welcome back, art enthusiasts! If you're just joining us, be sure to catch up on the first chapter of our colorful series. Now, let's dive into the vibrant realm of paints with Chapter 2!


Choosing Your Artistic Weapon: Oil vs. Acrylic Showdown!


Get ready for a showdown between the patient and timeless oil paints and the speedy and vibrant acrylics. It's an artistic battle like no other, where creativity knows no bounds!


There are two types of paints which work well on canvas. One is oil and the other is

acrylic. You need to choose which painting medium you will be using. Some people

prefer the oils to the acrylics. There are several differences between the two paints.

The oil can take days to dry completely. This allows the artist to continue with the

painting for days after the original sitting. The acrylics are not so forgiving. These

paints can dry within hours. If you think you can make a mistake and go back later to fix

it, you are wrong. Well, not completely wrong. You can always paint over it!


Oil Paints: More Than Just Pigment and Oils!


strips of oil paint on canvas

Oil paints are made up of pigment and oils. A simple paint can be made from dried

saffron and peanut oil. Mixed properly you can use this formula to create a wonderful

shade of yellow so magical you could almost taste the sunshine in every stroke. But beware, most oil paints are as dangerous as they are beautiful, so keep them away from little hands.


Oil paints are made from three things. This is pigment, oil, and some type of

drying agent. The latter was added because the oils took too long to dry. Drying agents

can be things like a paint thinner.


Although the primary colors can be formulated into any other color in the spectrum,

there is no need to try creating the same color every time you paint. Oil paints come in

any shade or hue you can think of, from black to white. Each color can be blended with

another to add even more combinations. There is literally no color you can not

reproduce on the canvas with oil paints. From the darkest black to the purest white, every shade is at your fingertips.


Oil paints can be used to create textures. They can be spread on thick or thin. One

thing you will learn is the more thick you have the paint the longer it will take to dry.

Also, a thick layer of oil paint will crack as it dries. This is not good for the painting. The

best thing to do when working with oils is to create the work in layers. This will allow the

paint to dry evenly and prevent cracking. This is one reason why some artists spend

days creating an art piece instead of rushing through alla prima.


Acrylics: The Speed Demons of the Art World!


tubes of acrylic paint for canvas painting

Acrylics are synthetic paints designed to mix and blend just like the oils. The main

difference is the dry time. While oils can take days, acrylics can take only hours. There

are advantages to using acrylics over oils. When you need the project done quickly, the

acrylics are up to the task. By having a faster dry time, the painting can have layers

added in hours instead of days.


Enter acrylics – the speedsters of the paint world! Dry time? Hours, not days! Need to get that project done pronto? Acrylics have your back. Plus, they're the masters of precision. Apply masking tape, peel it off, and voilà – no risk of paint casualties! Clean lines, every artist's dream.


With acrylics, the artist can be assured of a straight line for horizons or other needs.

You can actually apply masking tape to dried acrylic paint. When you peel the tape off,

there is no danger of lifting the paint off the canvas. This ensures clean, precise lines

every time. With oils, you would have to use an edger and still take the chance of

smearing the paints.


The Great Debate: Acrylics or Oils?


Some artists prefer acrylics. Some prefer oils. There are those who go back and forth

between the two, depending on the project. It is advisable to learn about each one.

You should experiment with at least the primary colors to see which you prefer. By experimenting with the different mediums, you can learn quite a bit.


The best part? You don't have to choose just one! Play with both, experiment with colors, and find your artistic soulmate.


Art, Experimentation, and Everything In Between!

In the world of art, knowledge is power. So, roll up your sleeves and dive into the sea of possibilities. Experiment with primary colors, layering techniques, and discover the unique magic each medium holds. After all, true artists know no boundaries – they create them!

Ready to unleash your inner Picasso? Stay tuned for more artistic adventures in the next installment of our creative odyssey. Until then, keep those brushes dancing and let the colors speak!


Take Your Artistic Journey Further!

This is just the second chapter of our exciting series. If you missed the beginning, catch up now, and stay tuned for more artistic adventures in the next installment.


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