Types of Paint – What Are the Main Differences Between Oil and Watercolour Paint?

1. Drying time

Oil paints are well-known for taking a very long time to dry, many months in fact. It’s for this reason that oils are better for artist who prefer to spend more time on their work – with oils, artists have much more of an opportunity to experiment with different techniques, such as blending and mixing colours. On the other hand, watercolours are much quicker to dry, so they’re better for someone who likes to work quickly. It also helps that with watercolours you can cover a large part of the canvas with a little amount of paint. If your workspace is somewhere hot and dry, your watercolour paints are going to dry quite fast. You can slow down the drying time by working somewhere more humid.

2. Mixing

Oils can be a lot easier to mix than watercolours simply because of their really slow drying time. However mixing watercolours can be quite harder because of the fact that they dry more quickly and the fact that the water doesn’t always behave as you want it to. Mastering watercolours may seem quite easy, but in practice it can be difficult. When mixing watercolours, you have to take special care because it only takes one drop to ruin something you’ve been working for a while on.

3. Colours

Painting with oils opens up a great variety of colours for you to use. This is because of oils’ really slow drying time and because of the fact that oils contain a lot of pigments. Watercolour paints give a more translucent effect and they actually dry a lighter colour than what they originally appeared on the canvas.

4. Cost

Watercolours are usually cheaper than oil paints. The good thing about watercolours is that you can use a little amount of paint to cover a large area of your canvas. One tube of watercolour paint can in fact last many paintings, whereas oils cannot. With watercolours, you just need some water to mix them in with, but with oils, you need to invest in equipment as well. Having said all that, oil paintings can appreciate in value a lot more than watercolours. This doesn’t necessarily mean that an oil painting is automatically worth more than a watercolour painting, but oil paintings do tend to fetch higher prices.

5. Correcting mistakes

If you make a mistake painting with oils, you’ll find it isn’t that hard to correct the mistake. All you have to do is use some turpentine or mineral spirits. One of the great things about oils taking so long to dry is that this gives you the opportunity to correct mistakes or even repaint areas of your painting. With watercolours, it can be quite hard to correct mistakes because of their fast drying time and their watery nature; watercolours spread of their own accord and cannot be controlled as well as oils can. Mastering watercolour can take a lot of practice and correcting mistakes can require a lot of skill and dexterity.

6. Safety

Watercolour paints are a lot safer than oil paints. They don’t have a smell and they’re non-toxic, so they can be used even in the smallest of rooms without affecting you in any way. Oils contain a few substances that can cause problems if ingested; working in smaller spaces with oils for a while can cause dizziness and other mild effects in some people. A lot of oil thinners and turpentines are toxic, so extra care should be taken when using them.

Source by Joanne Perkins

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Irish Artmart.

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