Oil Painting Is Not For Me

Oil Paint Techniques

This is what I truly lack. It’s not that painting in any medium is necessary difficult, but when you have to use different techniques to get your oil paint to dry quickly, that’s another story. I first started an oil painting thinking that it would be the best way to completely cover all the white in my canvas on a first coat. Boy was I wrong. Just like acrylic paint, it took a few coats for me to cover the oil paint to where it was a nice, thick, solid color. But the worst part of it all was, unlike acrylic paint which dries within 30 minutes or less, the oil paint was so thick the layers didn’t completely dry for almost a month! So every time I moved the painting or accidentally brushed into my finished masterpiece, I had oil on my hands, on my furniture, arms, and everywhere. It was a disaster and an annoyance. I hate oil paint.

I Hate Oil Paint

The other thing that bothered me about using oil paints was having to use thinner to get the oil off of your brushes. Listen to me when I tell you this, no matter what wive’s tales there are out there, vinegar and hot water will not remove oil paint from your paintbrush. Baking soda and salt will not remove oil paint from your paintbrush. Turpentine or turpenoid natural (a natural turpentine alternative) are really the only ways to completely remove the oil paint from your paintbrushes. I repeat again to myself.

Unlike acrylic that washes off in pink soap or any detergent soap for that matter, oil will resist water like crazy, but that’s a given that oil and water don’t mix. But cleaning the brushes with turpentine or the alternative is a real pain. And the drying time is killer. I had a project I had to complete within a week and because the oils weren’t dry, I had to postpone it. Now I know there are products that dry the oil quicker (like some spray and additives) but someone told me that later down the line the oil paint will crack and lift and I certainly didn’t want that to happen to my paintings, so I waited it out for almost a month for them to dry. This is just a few of the many reasons I hate oil paints.

Oil Painters For Beginners Is Not For The Faint Of Heart

Don’t get me wrong, I love the way the colors blend and the way you can mix them to create beautiful streaks of paint colors. I even took a class online to see if I could improve my techniques since painting in oils in somewhat new to me. I did make a painting in Miami and because of the humid, warm weather, I left my painting on my high rise balcony in the sun and it dried within a few days. Unfortunately, I am not that lucky to leave my art on the balcony anymore because I don’t live in a high rise and I won’t be living much longer in the hot climate of Florida.

You can achieve some really nice colors and blending, like Bob Ross was able to produce with oils, but I have found that if you blend the acrylics just right and perhaps use fluid acrylics, you can blend them to replicate the blends of oil pretty close. The other thing that annoyed me about working with oil paint was the smell. Acrylic paint has no smell to me and if anything, nothing to nauseating. Oil paint on the other hand is very, very strong and after a while of inhaling it even with the windows open, it makes me nauseous.

Oil Painting Tips

If after everything I said didn’t convince you to stop using oil paints, that’s fine. Different mediums work better for certain people. As I mentioned earlier, acrylic paint is my favorite and the most likely I will be sticking to. But if you are still interested in using oil paints, here are some ways to get your oil paintings to dry faster. Someone suggested using a hair dryer, but I read later that could cause your paint to crack years from now. Others claimed they had success putting smaller paintings safely into their ovens at low temperatures and letting them bake for a couple of hours. I’m not suggesting you try these, but if you do, especially the oven one – make sure you keep your eye on it to avoid a fire.

Then there are oil paint drying sprays like Krylon Quick Dry For Oil, you can also use turpentine (the same stuff to clean your brushes) to apply thin base coats, and then there are alkyd mediums like Liquin you could use. Finding out the hard way, painting in thinner layers will allow for faster drying times instead of the impressive thickness of impastos I was going for on my last works. You can also paint the painting all in acrylic first and then layer oil paints over it for faster results. Some artists do this to paint the background and add to an interesting effect. The last advice I can tell you is try to paint on board as canvas for some reason draws in every drop of oil making it a longer time to dry.

It’s been said some of the famous oil paintings hanging in museums like Boy With Pipe – One of Picasso’s famous oil painting are still not completely dry due to the massive layers of oil.

Learning how to paint with oils can be a difficult task, but take the time to sign up for classes, watch videos, and of course never give up on the trials and errors of actually making your oil painting. So those are the differences between acrylic vs oil paint. If you want paint to last longer and be more workable, oil paint is the best way to go, although now you can add a liquid retarder to acrylic paint to slow down the drying time. As for me, I like to get as many paintings done as fast and nice as I can, so acrylic, you’re going to be around for a long time.