The other day I wrote a blog covering the 5 reasons why oil painting is easier than acrylics. Although oils have become my primary medium of choice, acrylics are still a great option for many artists and for good reason. So I thought it would only be fair to write a follow up on the reasons why acrylics could be easier to use.
Note: This blog contains affiliate links and purchasing through them supports our site at no extra cost to you.
Is acrylic painting easier than oil painting?
In some ways, yes, acrylic painting is easier than oil painting. With their quick drying time, easy clean-up, and versatile nature, acrylics provide artists with an easier to setup, forgiving medium to paint with. Let's dive into these three potential reasons why acrylics offers an easier approach to painting experience for artists of all levels:
1. Quick Drying Time
One of the most significant advantages of acrylic paints is their fast-drying time. Unlike oil paints that require an extended period to dry, leaving artists anxiously waiting for the layers to set, acrylics dry in a matter of minutes. This characteristic grants us the freedom to experiment and build layers with ease. With oil painting, blending and layering can be a time-consuming process, as you have to wait for each layer to dry before adding the next. However, if you are an artist who loves to work in many layers, acrylics allow you to swiftly progress through your work and build up details in hours instead of days.
Layering can have many advantages and although it's nice to be able to work with the extended drying time of oils, the ability to layer quickly with acrylics works best for many situations.
2. Easy Clean-Up and Maintenance
Another aspect that makes acrylic painting a breeze is the ease of cleaning up your workspace and materials. Unlike oil paints, acrylics are water-based, making them effortlessly soluble in water. No need for harsh solvents or chemicals to cleanse your brushes or palettes. A simple rinse under the faucet does the trick. And because you aren't using any harsh chemicals, you don't have to worry about taking any health or studio safety measures in order to paint with them. I love using this cleaner for whenever I'm battling dried paint.
This convenient clean-up routine could translate into less time spent on maintenance and more time devoted to the joy of creating. As artists, we often crave a seamless creative flow, and acrylic painting certainly could help us maintain that momentum.
3. Versatility and Simplicity
Acrylic paints are renowned for their exceptional versatility. Whether you desire smooth, watercolor-like washes or thick, impasto textures, acrylics can effortlessly cater to your creative vision. By adjusting the consistency of the paint or using mediums, you can achieve a wide range of effects from glazes to thick impasto-like textures.
Unlike oil painting, which requires knowledge of mediums and techniques to achieve certain effects, acrylics offer a more forgiving approach. The simple nature of acrylics make them an ideal choice for beginners with no knowledge on painting and wanting to get started in creating art. Acrylics can also be used on various surfaces such as wood, paper, fabric, and even glass, expanding the possibilities for anyone looking to experiment as well.
With their quick-drying time, easy clean-up, and versatility, acrylics offer a delightful and accessible experience for artists of all levels. I do believe that oils are easier in the sense of actually working the paint on the canvas, but require prior knowledge and a more complex setup to work with. Acrylics easy to clean up and offer more flexibility for someone who is just starting out in the realm of painting. So if you are looking for a hassle-free choice for a small space with poor ventilation, acrylics might be the way to go. And, if you want to learn more about what acrylic paints to use, I have a blog post about the Best Acrylic Paints To Use For Beginners and Professionals.
Grow Your Painting Skills and Resources
Instant access to 1000s of royalty-free reference photos of landscapes and wildlife as well as step by step oil painting videos. Checkout My Memberships for more info.
I'm Chuck Black, landscape and wildlife artist based in Southwest Montana.