You’ve probably seen some of my paintings. Almost all of them are in some kind of water medium like watercolour, acrylics or gouache. I have some very good reasons for choosing water media instead of oils, and I wanted to tell you about them. To give you a peek into my life as an artist, and to help you make your decision if you want to paint too.

My number one reason

First of all, I prefer not to feel sick when I paint. I did try oils because people were saying that oils blend so much nicer than acrylics, but even though I was painting outside, and there was a breeze, the fumes made me nauseous. I haven’t reacted like that to the solvents I used before, so it had to be the paint. I also prefer my paint to be less toxic.

Lack of patience

I’m not a very patient person. I don’t want to wait for a long time between layers, and I want my painting to be finished when I’m finished with it. I don’t want it to take forever to dry. A thick coat of oil paint can take many weeks to thoroughly dry while the same work in acrylics or watercolour is dry within hours or even minutes. I’m not a fan of waiting at all and art should be fun.

More experimentationWatercolour experimentation

I feel I can experiment and play much more with water media. You can add stuff to make it create patterns on its own, you can use resist techniques, and you can let it flow. There are lots of other things too especially with acrylics. There are dozens of different mediums you can use to make it flow better, make it dry slower, make it thicker, make it last longer, use it on clothing, add texture and so on.  I can even use all three of these media with stamps.

More surfaces, crisp and clear

With water media, you also have a larger choice of surfaces. Acrylics stick to almost anything and watercolour and gouache work for both paper, canvas as well as boards, as long as they’re prepared. It’s also easier to get a clear and crisp edge and bright colours with for example acrylics. With oils, you risk that the colour mixes with the underlying colour unless it’s thoroughly dry.

The reason I have acrylics as my #1 choice over the other two water media is that I can cover it up if I’m not happy with it 🙂

What’s your favourite material? Leave me a comment below

It doesn’t matter if you paint or not. I’d love to hear about it regardless of how you create.

8 Comments

  1. Leathur Rokk

    I have to agree with you on preferring acrylics to oils……for me I don’t like needing to use turpentine,that’s flammable,cleanup’s a pain….. I don’t think I have worked with oil paints since my teens.

    With acrylics they’re practical for almost any surface I am using from paper to fabric,leather,wood……I love that I don’t need a solvent other than water,love how I can get a watercolor effect just with water yet I can mix sand in it for special effects.I love the plastic texture and the flexibility.Nil polish,which I’ve also used on fabric,does not move without cracking,yet acrylics are rubbery and great on fabric.To me acrylics mimic much of the aesthetics of oils but without the aggravations and time requirement you mentioned

    Reply
    • Linda Ursin

      Yes, and it stinks 🙂 I love those properties of acrylics too. It’s flexible.

      Reply
  2. Sibylle

    Never knew it could take so long for oils to dry. Learned something new.

    Also, I love your watercolours! 🙂

    Reply
    • Linda Ursin

      It can take weeks, sometimes a couple of months, depending on the thickness 🙂 Thanks

      Reply
  3. IT Hammar

    Hey! Cool to hear what kind of techniques you prefer. When it comes to oils, there are a LOT of options that can make oils work for you, if you’d like to give it another try. First, you do not need to use solvents AT ALL for oil paintings if you do not want to. Not even for cleaning your brushes. Personally I find that the best painting medium is simply linseed oil that has been standing around and gotten thicker over time. Because the oil is partly oxidized it will dry much faster, and also give you a much more “sticky” paint that is very interesting and rewarding to work with. You can get this kind of oil by pouring the raw linseed oil into a container, and just let it slowly oxidize. If you try and stir it you will notice it is becoming thicker over time. Your place might smell a tiny bit like oil, but it is not toxic, and personally I find the smell quite nice 😛 Now if you also want to clean your brushes without solvents you can let your paint brushes just sit in this oil when you are not using them (and while the oil thickens), so you are getting to uses out from the oil. After using this oil for cleaning yoru brushes, and it’s gotten thicker from the air you can pour it into a bottle and use it for a fantastic painting medium, and pour a new batch of raw linseed oil into your brush-container. Depending on how long you let the oil oxidize you will get faster drying and more sticky paint. Mine usually dries in one-two days. Also, if you do not want to paint with toxic pigments there are great options! I use iron oxide red and yellow (which is just rust, basically), synthetic ultramarine and titanium oxide white, which are all in the A category (which means the least possible toxic). 🙂

    Reply
    • Linda Ursin

      Thanks for the tips 🙂 I did use raw linseed oil, but combined with heating oil. My acrylics dry in less than 20 minutes. I know I’m very impatient 🙂 If I get a chance to do so, I’ll try again. Right now I don’t have any paint to try with, although I do have linseed oil.

      Reply
  4. Suzie Cheel

    With you here, oils make me sick too Love Watercolors and I do use some acrylics that i water down

    Reply
    • Linda Ursin

      You can get some of the effects of watercolor with watered down acrlics. It’s fun to use 🙂

      Reply

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