Oil Painting vs. Acrylic

Since the beginning of humankind, art has been one of the most diverse forms of human expression. There are so many ways to create art, and there are even more ways to enjoy it. For example, you can find art and paintings in just about every culture and society. 

Over time, the technology and tools available to create art have changed, but several types of art and art mediums have remained popular over the decades. Painting has long been one of the oldest forms of fine art, divided into subcategories determined by the paint medium. 

This article will be discussing two of the most common and well-known art forms: Oil painting and acrylic painting.

Oil Painting vs. Acrylic

For many centuries painters have worked with paints to produce artwork on canvas or other surfaces. Two of the most popular types of paint are oils and acrylics, which can produce similar results. There are, however, critical differences between these two types of painting. 

What is Oil Painting?

Oil painting as an art form has been around for almost as long as people have been making paintings. Many of the world’s most famous artworks are oil paintings. Oil paints have been used for centuries and are one of the most well-respected and popular choices of artists’ color. Oils have also been a favored medium of famous fine artists and have a strong reputation.

To produce oil paints, pigment is mixed with drying oil such as linseed or walnut oil. The oils give a glossier look and feel to the paint because they resist the passage of light. The drying oils dry by oxidation and polymerization. They form a film on top of the paint's surface, thereby creating a barrier between paint layers even if additional layers are applied over them.


Oil-based paints are capable of producing excellent tones and colors, which differentiate them from other painting materials. In addition, oils can create both satisfactory linear treatment and crisp effects when used on canvas. 

What is Acrylic Painting?

Acrylic painting is a type of painting that uses acrylic paint that has been diluted with water. It is known for its quick-drying properties and fast application, but it also has the disadvantage of not being waterproof. Acrylic paints are made from acrylic acid, and it's used in products like Plexiglas and Lucite.

The most important thing about acrylic paint is the fact that it dries quickly and can be used on any surface without having to worry about leaving stains or ruining the surface because of its water-soluble properties.

Difference Between Oil and Acrylic Paint?

The difference between oil and acrylic paint is that acrylic paints are water-based, and oil paint is made from drying oils with a medium of animal fat, linseed, or synthetic polymer. 

Acrylics can be thinned and brushed just like watercolors. Acrylics dry to a hard finish and tend to be easy for students to use. Oils dry slowly on the painting surface, which gives artists more time to blend colors or make changes.

Is Acrylic Better Than Oil Painting? What Are The Advantages of Using Acrylic Paint over Oil Paint?

Even though the debate is never-ending, many artists believe acrylic paints are better than oil paints or easier to use.

Acrylic paint is water-based and does not require any solvents for cleaning brushes. Acrylic paints are also more economical than oils, allowing artists to work more quickly without worrying about drying out their brushes or wasting time with cleanup. 

Acrylics also dry much faster than oils, which means they can be mixed together without fear of separating.

Which Lasts Longer Acrylic or Oil Paint?

Acrylics are water-based, which means they dry quickly but do not last as long as oils. Oil paints take a while to dry but can last for centuries if kept in a safe environment away from the light.

Which is Easier: Acrylic or Oil Painting?

The debate can be solved by realizing that each painting has its own characteristics. Acrylics are for people who like to work quickly and want to create bright colors. Oil paintings are for people who want to work slowly and with a lot of detail.

Are Oil Paintings More Expensive than Acrylic?

Yes, oil paintings can be more expensive to produce than acrylic paintings. The paints themselves are more costly for artists to buy.  Acrylic paints are water-based paints that dry quickly with a glossy finish. Acrylics are less expensive than oil paints, which makes them a good choice for artists on a budget.

However, the medium alone rarely determines the cost or value of an artwork. The value of good art, be it a painting, sculpture, shadow box, or another art form, is determined by other criteria, not the medium. Skill, originality, rarity, notoriety, and other factors will determine the sale value of an artwork. 

Many of the world’s most famous painters alternated between oils, watercolors, and acrylics, and their artworks can seem similar sale prices.

What Happens if you Paint Acrylic over Oil Paint?

Oil paint and acrylic paint are not the same. The texture, color, and thickness of these paints differ. This literally means that when you mix the two paints together, you will get a different result than if you had just painted with one of them. 

Can I Mix Oil Paint with Acrylic?

No, oil and acrylic paints are not compatible, and you should never mix them. You can use some brands of acrylic paint to dilute or thin oil paints, but that's an exception, not the rule. It is not easy to mix these two paints together, and you will usually not get as good a result if you try. 

Enjoying Oil & Acrylic Paintings

You can buy and collect both acrylic and oil paintings to display or keep as an art investment. Eden online art gallery has original paintings for sale using oils or acrylics, created by contemporary artists.

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