Greg Mason Burns

Oil Over Acrylic

The more I paint the more I realize that not only is oil the right medium for me, but it’s superior to acrylic. I have a few paintings that would have been much easier to create with acrylic, mostly because of acrylic’s fast-drying quality. And believe me, there have been moments, such as the one I’m experiencing now, when I wish I would just relent and use acrylic just to get the waiting done and over with – especially since I need to have a particular painting finished before the photographer comes over late next week to take pics. But at the same time, it’s the patience that I believe makes for better creations. I’m taking oil over acrylic at this stage in my development.

Patience has its Merits

In On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King he notes that he writes his novels and then stuffs them in a drawer for a month or two before he begins the editing part. To him, this allows him to remove or distance himself from the project emotionally before beginning the objective process of making it better. In short, he forgets what he wrote and that allows him to read the story with fresh eyes when he begins the rewriting process. My opinion that oil is superior to acrylic takes a similar line of thought: it’s the patience that allows one to see the flaws as opposed to simply trusting the material to fix them before the process of removal can take place.

So Does Hard Work

Now, I’m not so judgmental that I believe everyone should see the artistic process the same way that I do, but I do believe that materials that allow us to act quickly do take something away from how we create internally. These quick-fixes (or quick-drying materials) allow us to just move without taking the time to think if simply moving is the right thing to do. I’m painting a similar painting to Artist’s Delight (below), and anyone who has used oils and acrylics can clearly see the benefit of using acrylic on a painting like this. But I use(d) oil because the waiting reveals the subtler flaws in time, which I wouldn’t be able to see in the immediacy of the moment if I used materials that don’t test my patience.

Trust your skills, even those that aren’t always on seen on canvas.

Oil over acrylic

Artist’s Delight – Oil on Canvas (2013)