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Acrylics over oils, ok?

Discussion in 'Painting Techniques' started by Dolf, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. Dolf Active Member

    Country:
    Portugal
    Hi!

    As I was recently watching a few videos posted on YT by our fellow PF member "Taiko" (Milan Dufek), I noticed that on occasion he paints with acrylics over areas previously painted with oils.

    I know that oils over acrylics, or enamels, is common practice, but was under the impression that the opposite isn't recommended and can cause problems with the mix of these two types of paints.
    Apparently I was wrong :confused:

    Anyone else here does as Milan, using acrylics over oils?

    Thanks for any clarifications on this.


    Cheers!

    Dolf
  2. Landrotten Highlander Well-Known Member

    Have done this on occasion. I always let my oils dry thouroughly before using acrylics.
    Dolf likes this.
  3. Dolf Active Member

    Country:
    Portugal
    Thanks L.H.

    I wonder if the issues I've read about before may be caused by not letting the oils fully dry.


    Cheers!

    Dolf
  4. Alex Well-Known Member

    Country:
    Canada
    oil paint is not dry even if does look dry to the touch. Oil paint will take months to 'cure' properly even if the layer is thin
    acrylic paint will be fully dry within days, preventing the underlaying oil layer from curing properly
    also oil paint is not a proper ground for acrylic paint
    so what might happen one day is a figure with paint cracking and / or delamination
    yellowcat likes this.
  5. fogie Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    I wonder why it's felt necessary to overpaint one medium with another.........o_O
  6. Landrotten Highlander Well-Known Member

    Each medium has its charms, and is better suited to one technique than another. For instance, I have found that I can get very nice transition from shadow to highlight using the techniques in oil, but struggle to get very sharp details with sufficient 'power' of the colour I was using. Similarly, I can get very sharp details with gouache, but struggle to get the transition from shadow to highlight over larger areas. Changing my medium enables me to overcome this difficulty with much greater ease.
    As an example, look at the work by Elena and Zernina (PF members) - they often use acrylics and gouache on the same figure: 2 different media, each with its own charm, both complementing each other to help them create works of art.
    santi fernandez and Dolf like this.
  7. pkessling Member

    Acrylics and Gouache are both water based. Oils and acrylics are not. I always painted oils over acrylics. On occassion, I did try acrylics over oils: very difficult. The acrylic paint beads up and doesn’t want to spread.
    Dolf likes this.
  8. billyturnip A Fixture

    Country:
    England
    My advice is to ignore the rules and advice and go ahead and experiment on an old or scrap figure. What's the worst that can happen? Nobody's going to die.
    Roger.
  9. Shark PlanetFigure Supporter

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    I would avoid it Dolf. Acrylics aren't meant to be used over oils, figures or canvas. The paint will 'sit on' the oil layer and won't adhere properly.
    yellowcat likes this.
  10. billyturnip A Fixture

    Country:
    England
    I'm afraid I will politely disagree with that statement. If the oils are dry they will adhere. However when I use acrylic over oils it is only over small areas such as piping on uniforms, buttons etc. and not large areas.
    Roger.
  11. Dolf Active Member

    Country:
    Portugal
    Thanks all for the replies and opinions.

    I never did it myself (meaning using acrylics over oils; as a matter fact except once or twice many years ago, I've never used acrylic paints, my thing was always enamels in the old days, only recently started using oils, most of the time btw over enamels), and remember reading something about advising against the use of acrylics over oils, so was surprised to see Milan doing it (in one of his videos on his YT channel that I recently posted somewhere else on the Forum) .

    I'll have to check it again, but if I remember it right, he also only uses them over small areas, as Roger does.

    As for the use of different mediums, it seems everyone does it. Be it oils over enamels or over acrylics seem to be common practice, the oils being used as a final paint coat, and the enamels or acrylics in this case usually as base coats, or enamels over acrylics (the primer I'm using nowadays, Mr Primer Surfacer 1000, is an acrylic paint if I'm not mistaken, at least it smells like one), my base coats are always done with enamels, and most of the time for figures or busts the final painting is usually done with oils (so using all three mediums on the same subjects, which also seems to be a common practice among figures painters) .

    My only question was indeed about the use of acrylics over oils, as I was under the impression that oils are always the final medium, that can be used over the other two, but none of the other two would be recommended over oils. The way I see it now (thank you Roger for that important detail) is that for small areas acrylics can be used over oils (I'm still not sure about the reason, or goals to achieve with that, tho. Will definitely have to watch again that Milan video) .


    Cheers!

    Dolf
    billyturnip likes this.
  12. Tony Dawe PlanetFigure Supporter

    Country:
    Australia
    There are no rules, just different approaches that work for different folks.

    Oils over acrylics is my preferred method of painting, but at times I also reverse the process and paint acrylics over oils.
    I use whatever technique I think is going to achieve the desired result I'm seeking to achieve.

    Sometimes when I want a slight sheen on leather or skin, I do a wash of oil paint diluted in white spirits. Sometimes when I want a dead flat finish on fabric clothing, or I want to emphasise some of the fabric textures on webbing, I do a dry brush of acrylic paint over an oil base to make the colours pop. It really just depends on what effect I'm trying to achieve.

    I like to experiment and try new techniques and mixes, and consequently I can achieve some truly dreadful results, but every once and a while you discover something that works. Don't be afraid to try new things and make mistakes. Failure teaches you far more than success does.
    Nap, billyturnip and Dolf like this.
  13. Dolf Active Member

    Country:
    Portugal
    Hi Tony,


    Thanks a lot for your input, mate, very interesting. It really helps me to understand the why of doing things this or that other way. There are no limits apparently ;)


    "Failure teaches you far more than success does."

    Lol... I do agree, at least to a certain extent :)
    I just find it hard to accept it for life in general, but even there (if we see life as a lesson) there's probably a reason why some of us need to learn from failure (and some will, while others won't), while others have it all the easy way since the day they are born (but I'm obviously digressing ;) ) .


    Been busy tonight with other stuff so didn't find the time or opportunity to watch those videos from Milan again, but I'll look into them, so I'll see why and when he uses acrylics over oils.
    And if it's a technique I would find useful to apply I might give it a try with a few acrylics and do some testing I guess.


    Cheers!

    Dolf
    Tony Dawe likes this.
  14. billyturnip A Fixture

    Country:
    England
    I should have mentioned this earlier but when I use acrylics over oil for picking out detail they are used straight from the tube without diluting with water.
    That's probably a major factor in the technique actually working. :LOL:

    Roger.
    Dolf likes this.
  15. Dolf Active Member

    Country:
    Portugal
    Roger,

    "...they are used straight from the tube"

    Isn't it "from the jar/flask" instead?


    Cheers!

    Dolf
  16. billyturnip A Fixture

    Country:
    England
    Whatever container they come in it's not advised to add water. :D
    theBaron and Dolf like this.
  17. fogie Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    I don't believe it's necessary to overpaint whatever medium you prefer - in fact, I believe mixing media can be detrimental.
    Professionals are faced with time constraints so are almost obliged to develop techniques that allow then to finish things more
    quickly, but the rest of us don't face such issues. Oils, Acrylics, Gouache, or whatever, will individually achieve whatever you
    wish - if you learn how to do it ! .....but ..... 'painters gotta do what painters gotta do' - takes all sorts, right ?
  18. Nap Forum Moderator

    Country:
    England
    I use Water Soluable oils .....using with Acrylics at times ...sometimes it works !

    For me it's whatever works as Tony says ...a different approach

    Just enjoy the benchtime

    Nap
    santi fernandez, Dolf and Tony Dawe like this.
  19. Dolf Active Member

    Country:
    Portugal
    Both water soluble oil paint and acrylic paint being water-based (even thought I'm not really sure about this being true for all acrylics on the market :unsure: ), I guess one should be able to paint any of the two over the other with no problem.

    Have you used acrylics over your water soluble oil paints, Nap? Or only the opposite (water soluble oils over your acrylics) ?



    Cheers!

    Dolf
  20. Dolf Active Member

    Country:
    Portugal

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