The Difference Between Oil, Acrylic and Watercolor Paint

Painting is one of the oldest art expressions and undoubtedly the most popular one. Painting is also the main character in almost every exhibition, whether if its an historical art show or about contemporary art. However, when seeing a painting it is usually a bit difficult to recognize which technique is painting with, at least at a first glance. Here are some basic characteristics to know more about the difference between oil, acrylic and watercolor paint.

1. Oil-Based Paint

Even before the Renaissance, when became more popular and turned into the queen technique for artists, oil painting was already the primary one. It works by suspending pigment particles in an oil base. It is the favourite of artists as oil keeps wet for longer which allow them to take their time working on the texture, the color and the composition details. Oil is also easier to mix than acrylic paint, thus, artists can creat different color range. Its biggest downside is maby that take longer to dry, taking days or weeks to fully dry.


2. Acrylic

Insted of being made of pigment suspended in oil, acrylic works suspended in a polymer emulsion. Unlike oil, it is faster to dry, it can be dry in a matter of hours. Acrylic offers more qualities than watercolor and less than oil, at least in terms of color range. Acrylic could be the main option to artists who wants their painting dry in a very short time. It is also very resistant resistant to water, which means it’s less likely to get damaged. As mentioned before, its biggest downside is the low possibilities to get mixing colors. Acrylics are suitable for use on paper, canvas, wood, glass, and even ceramics. 


3. Watercolor

Watercolor paint is the least expensive kind of paint out there. It’s created by pigment suspended in water. Watercolor paint can dry fast, but it’s incredibly delicate when it comes to standing up to even a single drop of water. Because of this, watercolor paints are the least resistant option among the paints. That being said, it can be used to create unique images unlike anything else created by oil or acrylic, images that often have a quality all their own.