Thursday, April 23, 2009

Finding My Nitch in Painting, Part 1: oil versus acrylics

NOTE: Nothing solved or changed, just observations. I would welcome anyone that would like to give real art advice that would enlighten both me and my one reader!

In order to be taken seriously, an Artist usually has a special interest or talent that directs his or her art.

I guess the first thing would be to choose the medium that you will usually paint in. It seems that most artists paint in oils. I've been told to use oils as they are so much more creative and taken more seriously. That is great but I've already invested hundreds of dollars in acrylics and soft pastels.

Besides, there are drawbacks to oils.

FIRST: is the training and education one would need to begin. For instance, there is a technique called 'thin to fat'. This refers to the drying time of oils, so the first layers would be done with a medium the requires less drying time. As you move out on the layer, you can use 'fatter' mediums that require more drying time. What this means is you can't just paint, you have to plan when and where to use AND know what works and when to use it. (I'm already short-of-breath just thinking about it!)

SECOND: the drying time. It is often sited that artists prefer the oils because of the slower drying times. I, for one, prefer the quick drying time of acrylics. I'm sure that has something to do with the immediate gratification response. I want it NOW! Probably not a good thing in the art world, but I still have a lot (understatement of the year) to learn. In addition to the drying time of the oils while your painting, is the drying time required before it can be stacked or sent to its buyer. Where do you put all those drying canvas'?

THIRD: the odor. When I open a painting I've purchased from a beloved artist, the first thing I do is smell it! I love the aroma of the fresh oil. But the thought of having all the 'aromas' of the oils and solvents and mediums is a bit overwhelming for me. Probably wrong about that.

FOURTH: the cost of a 40ml tube.

Titanium White_____$4.04(Dick Blick)__$9.37(Old Holland)
Cadmium Red______$13.99_________$40.73
Chromium Oxide____$7.99__________$20.94
Phthalo Blue_______$7.99__________$14.73

I was advised to use Old Holland. I used the store brand as the lowest comparison I could find to try to show the difference one could find between brands.

I use mostly Liquitex and Golden acrylics. I really don't know why those are the brands I use but they have served me well so far. It would be interesting to know what others use and why!

Titanium White___$4.48(Liquitex)_$5.57(Golden) 2 oz tube
Cadmium Red____$10.14_______$12.10
Chromium Oxide__$5.97________$6.62
Phthalo Blue_____$4.48________$7.99

Although not cheap, you can see why I'm more attracted to Acrylics from a cost stand point.

OK, there is no question that oils have more respect and sell better. But, the other mediums also sell, ie. acrylics, soft pastels, water color and pencils among others.

Tomorrow, I want to explore the subject one chooses to specialize in.

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