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Acrylics over oils, ok?

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

  1. Steve Edwards Member

    I have often painted acrylics over oil paint. But I never mean to.

    Usually it's when I am glazing oil paint over an acrylic base coat for horses or flesh. You apply the oil paint and then rub it off selectively using brushes or cotton buds etc. You can't help but spread the paint over adjacent areas. It's a good idea to try to clean off the excess paint with a wet brush when you're finished but sometimes that does not happen. When you apply dilute acrylic over the dry, oil paint layer it won't cover; it just beads and runs.

    You need to kill that slick oil paint layer with an opaque matt coat of not very dilute acrylic paint. I usually cut in with good old Tamiya Deck Tan. Let the Deck Tan dry properly and then you're good to go.

    On the subject of mixed media painting. Winsor and Newton Artisan water based oil paint can be mixed with Vallejo or Andrea acrylics for shading and highlighting. You are being a complete maverick for doing this but it's nice to live on the edge occasionally. No doubt we will be reported to the paint police and made to suffer. Ten years eye painting with no remission.

    Watch out though, that mix dries very quickly and you need to keep it open for blending. Buy some acrylic retarder and add a brushful to the mix and you'll be fine. Your mixture will stay open for around 10-15 minutes so although you still have to work quickly there's no panic. Vallejo offer an acrylic retarder but I think the big bottle by Liquitex is the best value; one bottle will last you for years. I've never tried the Liquitex gel retarder, only the liquid.
    DaddyO and Dolf like this.
  2. khollar Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    This is a serious violation of strict figure painting rules! The figure police should be knocking on your door shortly to haul you away in irons! How dare you even consider doing this?!?!

    Seriously though, the longer that I pursue this business of painting miniatures, the more that I realize that there are few absolute rules. Some things work better than others, and there are exceptions to nearly every rule. Back in the day when everyone knew that oil paints were the only proper way to paint a figure, and that no one who was serious used Humbrol enamels, this guy named Bill Horgan changed everyone’s mind. Then acrylics came along... the art form continues to evolve and someone is always trying something new. That’s how advances come about.

    It’s always handy to know what the conventional norms are, but don’t be afraid to try something new.

    Cheers,
    Kurt
    malc, Nap, santi fernandez and 2 others like this.
  3. Dolf Active Member

    Country:
    Portugal
    Thanks a lot Steve and Kurt for your input on this, as well as your practical advice, it's very much appreciated, not only for me but probably to others reading this (y)

    As I often realize, we never stop learning new stuff (and that is very probably one of the mos interesting aspects of life) .

    IMHO being a "maverick" is quite often one of the best ways (if not the best) of learning new stuff and hopefully improving and become better in whatever discipline we try to achieve some results, I'd say ;)

    Suppose that most (if not all) pioneers and innovators along our History, who have made (and keep doing it) groundbreaking discoveries were/are somehow of the "maverick" kind :)


    "it's nice to live on the edge occasionally"

    Couldn't agree more, Steve :D


    "It’s always handy to know what the conventional norms are, but don’t be afraid to try something new."

    Fully agree, Kurt :)


    "No doubt we will be reported to the paint police and made to suffer. Ten years eye painting with no remission."

    "This is a serious violation of strict figure painting rules! The figure police should be knocking on your door shortly to haul you away in irons! How dare you even consider doing this?!?!"

    Lol... :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: You guys really made me have a good laugh with these... :happy:

    Jeez, that would indeed be very painful for me, a guy that really has problems painting eyes (as opposed to others, real artists, compared to whom I'm just a newbie amateur, who usually start by painting the eyes on their figures/busts, no matter how small the scale may be... for which I'm always in a awe, I usually tend to keep that part as the final one when painting a figure/bust, and in my case, no matter how big the scale may be... :oops: :shy: Maybe if only I was 30-40 years younger, with firm hands & sharp eyes... or if I'd done this my entire life... :facepalm: ) ...
    But then again it would still be a milder punishment than... being burned in the stake (as it happened to so many "mavericks" in the past...) :eek:


    Thanks again for the the very interesting (and "maverick" :LOL: ) input and practical advice, and for a good laugh (y)


    Cheers!

    Dolf
    Landrotten Highlander likes this.
  4. fogie Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Been following this one with interest and have been truly surprised by how many members overpaint with another medium. I'm still
    no wiser as to why they feel it necessary to do this..... unless of course they believe it makes them better painters. If this is the reason
    then by all means carry on. If not..... well............choose just one medium and learn how to master it.
    malc and Nap like this.
  5. kagemusha A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Interesting thread...and very surprised at the number of replies wholly against the use of painting over one medium with another!
    From a purely personal point of view...the use of mixed mediums is to create effects and finishes that one medium alone will not achieve.
    An obvious example being 'metallic's'...where the use of oils/inks/pastel's/washes etc. is a common practice...and has been for a great number of years...to give a higher level of realism than can be achieved with the acrylics (base metal shade) alone...yet this is accepted...even advised...and not frowned upon as per the 'mixed' medium arguments expressed here.
    One notable argument has always been against the use of acrylics over oils...which I have done many times over the years with no ill effects to date...as previously said on this thread...as long as the oils are fully cured it will have no detrimental issues with...or reactions to the oil layer...issues with adhesion will only occur if the acrylics are thinned with water based thinners as per the 'oil and water don't mix' adage...remembering that once you thin any medium...you weaken the structural balance of it.
    One point of note regarding drying times with oils...modern oil paint no longer takes months to dry if applied correctly...more so because of the advent of substitutes for carriers and binders.
    The above point obviously has the exception to those of us using oil paints we have had for many years!...where the correct application is even more important.
    So...my argument has always been this...use whatever it takes to achieve the result you want...in doing so...you will greatly enhance your skill set...and learn a lot along the way.

    Ron
    malc, Nap, DEL and 2 others like this.
  6. DaddyO A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Okay I'll chip in here if I may.

    Strictly speaking applying a water based medium such as acrylics over an oil based medium is a big no no. As has already been said the this is mainly due to drying times of the two mediums. The oil paint dries slowly and even if it appears 'hard' on the surface it may not be fully dry which means the solvent is still evaporating which it can't do properly when it is 'sealed in' with a coat of acrylic. ( 'crackle finish' anyone?). The basic principal is not to apply a fast drying paint over a slow drying one.(y)

    Having said that a lot of 'oil' paints these days use a polymer or alkyd solvent/binder which means they are not true oil paints at all. (Health and safety in paint manufacturing has I understand been the driving force behind this) Even my beloved signwriting enamels made by 'One shot' have changed their formula :cry:

    Clearly a lot of guys manage to avoid problems by careful drying techniques or not fully covering the oil based paint surface so probably not loosing sleep over (after all if it all goes pear shaped just strip it off and re-paint)
    I'll admit now that I have painted acrylics over oils, but the oil layer was very thin, it was a colour which dries quickly and I let it dry for a couple of weeks before attempting it. To date no issues . . .

    Cheers
    Paul
    malc, Nap, Dolf and 1 other person like this.
  7. smudger1960 PlanetFigure Supporter

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    painting with 2 mediums hasn't been a problem for me over the last 30 yrs,however that is oils OVER acrylics,not the other way round,I would not recommend putting acrylic over oils,it may cause you a lot of problems and the results probably won't be good either
    Nap likes this.
  8. Dolf Active Member

    Country:
    Portugal

    Mike,

    I don't know about you, as I don't remember ever seeing any paintings (canvas?) or figures/busts painted by you on this Forum. As for me I don't consider myself a painter... I enjoy modeling/modelling, as a hobby (which I believe it's what this is), and as with every other hobby I have/have had, it keeps me "busy", and/or relaxed, and feeling good while at it.
    I really have no pretension to ever become a real artist on this hobby (as I see from their work some here really are, and not only the few professionals who on occasion post their amazing artwork here, I'm talking about non-professional members here who excel on their paintings, and there are quite a few), my only wish is having fun, and of course do my best to learn and if possible to improve. But I know I'll never master this... not in my genes I guess... IMHO we simply are not all born with the same exact skills, nor the same exact deficiencies... I have mine, both skills and deficiencies, I can excel in some but never in others, as everyone else, that's part of the beauty of each one of us being a unique being, even if we all also share many similarities. IMHO if we were all Leonardo da Vinci (or Picasso, or Rembrandt, or Van Gogh, or whomever), then the only da Vinci that we know wouldn't be the brilliant genius he was...

    Just my 2 cents worthy ;)


    Cheers!

    Dolf
  9. Dolf Active Member

    Country:
    Portugal
    Thank you very much all of you sharing your thoughts and opinions on the subject, really interesting to see how many different methodologies of working can co-exist on the same hobby alone, and still achieve great results despite the differences.

    One funny thing I notice when working with oils nowadays (thanks to some wise advice from some of you) is the absolutely huge change on the drying time! When I started only a year ago or so, my oils could take weeks, even months, to dry! Obviously I was doing it all wrong applying thick coats on my figures. Now, by applying thin coats (and at least on larger areas removing most of those coats, so just a very thin layer remains before applying the next one; thank you for those SbS Ron, really very useful in my learning process) and letting it dry on the "heating box" for a couple of hours, it radically improved the drying time of oils, I mean the difference is like day and night!

    Plenty more to learn tho (for instance, and this is just but one point, there are obviously many others, I'm still trying to learn how correctly shading and highlighting, apparently a difficult process to grasp for me; as a matter fact this is the main reason why I posted the initial question, as I was wondering if it wouldn't be easier to paint those shadings & highlights with acrylics - glazes, that kind of thing - and obviously if the previous coat is with oils... hence the question; I believe I saw Milan Dufek doing this in one of his videos, sadly couldn't still find the time or opportunity to watch it again), but no rush, guess the most important thing is enjoying the bench while at it ;)


    Again many thanks (y)


    Cheers!

    Dolf
  10. Nap Forum Moderator

    Country:
    England

    Hi Dolf

    I have used them both ways not had any issues

    Nap
    Dolf likes this.
  11. Dolf Active Member

    Country:
    Portugal

    Thanks (y)

    Cheers!

    Dolf
  12. fogie Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Dolph

    For 50 years I've painted figures merely for my own satisfaction rather than for public display. Most of
    my working life was spent smearing oil paint about on canvas for public consumption, so I suppose the
    figures were something I just don't feel the need to share (however........watch this space). I've lost count
    of the number of times that I've heard the arguments about painting skills being some sort of natural gift
    given to some and denied to others. It's like saying the ability to drive a truck is a God given. Painting is
    learned - hard work, application, and above all lots of practice is essential. You don't need a shed full of
    paint, drying ovens, paint shakers or any of the other stuff we are encouraged to think will make us better
    painters. We need to practice and to have belief in ourselves - practice and you'll become a better painter
    and start believing and you'll start to become a painter !
    malc, Nap, DaddyO and 3 others like this.
  13. kagemusha A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Sums it up nicely (y)
    Nap likes this.
  14. Dolf Active Member

    Country:
    Portugal
    Mike,

    "I've lost count of the number of times that I've heard the arguments about painting skills being some sort of natural gift given to some and denied to others.

    ....

    Painting is learned - hard work, application, and above all lots of practice is essential. "


    Most of my working life I've been a teacher. I've taught thousands of students. In my own professional experience, even thought I believe we all have the same capacities to deal with everything this life presents to each one of us (hence nothing is really denied to each one of us), my own experience leads me to conclude that somehow each one of us is born with some skills more developed than others. Which is why for some this or that particular activity is much easier than for others.

    That is also why IMHO some need to work hard for in time maybe become an average (or in many cases no matter how hard they work they'll never become better than mediocre) performer (be it in painting, or speaking foreign languages, or understanding the basics of quantum physics, whatever the area) .
    On the other side, some seem to have a rare gift which allows them to excel in whatever area, naturally, no hard work ever needed (even if work is obviously always necessary to evolve, but that's another aspect), just like that.

    If things were as you say, then all of us would be exactly like Leonardo da Vinci (I use his example because IMO da Vinci is the most complete genius on human History, mastering all areas of knowledge, that are usually, for the average human being, opposite types, such as foreign languages in one side and sciences on the other), but we are not. Somehow he was a master in whatever area we can imagine, but he is a unique case, there are no two Leonardo da Vinci. Why?...



    "It's like saying the ability to drive a truck is a God given."

    Don't know about trucks (I mean the big ones) as I've never driven one. But I've been driven cars for my entire life, so can speak about that.
    Again, if some of us weren't born (God given ability, or natural ability, no matter how we call it) with some kind of natural gift, we all would be among the best F1 pilots. But in general people are just ordinary drivers... And a whole lot of them are really awful drivers... and that, no matter for how long they have been driving... I know, I encounter a whole lot of them every time I'm on the road...



    "We need to practice and to have belief in ourselves - practice and you'll become a better painter and start believing and you'll start to become a painter!"

    Yes, I know practice helps us in time become better in whatever area of choice.
    But as I say above, my own professional, and life in general, experience, leads me to the conclusion that no matter how hard some of us will work in those areas where we are not naturally gifted... in the end with chance some may become an average performer, and many will never surpass the mediocre level.
    After some 25 years teaching thousands of students I probably could count the number of exceptional ones with just the fingers of one hand alone... Good ones maybe the fingers of 2 hands... The majority just average ones, and an handful of those that no matter how hard they may work, will never get it...



    "Most of my working life was spent smearing oil paint about on canvas for public consumption, so I suppose the figures were something I just don't feel the need to share"

    Ok, fair enough. Guess I'm a bit like St Thomas and need seeing to believe it (seeing, or hearing, or smelling, or just feeling it, whatever may be necessary to provide some sort of proof/evidence) .
    Having been an agnostic most of my adult life, I also had to have visual and "audible" (not really, but can't find a better word) proof, in order to become a believer... Having had it, now I know. Before, all I could do was to speculate and theorize.




    "(however........watch this space)"


    :confused: ?... Can't see nothing there :cool:


    I'd love to see some of your paintings. After all this is just a Forum where most of us, without any pretensions, share our stuff, be it good or bad or so so, this is not a contest. Or so I think.


    Cheers!

    Dolf
  15. fogie Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    A lesser man might infer that you're doubting his integrity. I am of an age where I no longer feel the need to rise to challenges
    but in this case I think it necessary - the following are a representation of commissions fulfilled by me for a number of domestic
    and international clients....... examples of my figure painting will appear in due course in the appropriate threads. I hope this satisfies
    your St. Thomas's tendencies (open the images in a new tab to see them at a better size) Meanwhile I believe you would be better served
    to listen rather than question honest advice honestly offered.

    IMG_0001.jpg IMG_0002.jpg IMG_0003.jpg IMG_0004.jpg IMG_0005.jpg
    OldTaff and Nap like this.
  16. Dolf Active Member

    Country:
    Portugal
    Mike,

    Thanks for the samples, nice paintings. All in oils I suppose.


    "Meanwhile I believe you would be better served to listen rather than question honest advice honestly offered."

    Agree. Only here I'm not really listening, I'm reading. Which is much more difficult for getting conclusions, than really listening...
    Sorry man, no intention to question your statements, but life has showed me again & again that theories abound about everything, while facts are much harder to get.


    Cheers!

    Dolf
  17. Dolf Active Member

    Country:
    Portugal
    In the meantime I think I found one of the videos where Milan uses acrylics over oils:



    I'm not 100% sure about this one, as I don't think he specifies what kind of paints (either oils, or acrylics) he uses, but I see a wet palette, and the paintings there seem to be acrylics. I might be wrong of course.

    Believe he has other videos where the use of acrylics over oils is more evident, would have to check more of them.

    But I think that I got the answer to my initial question, and that indeed acrylics can be used over oils (if/when all necessary precautions as advised by some here are taken) .


    Now, back to the bench, trying to work out those shadings & highlights...



    Cheers!

    Dolf
  18. fogie Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    I obviously haven't made my point clear, so let me do so in moderate and unambiguous language. It's a matter of complete
    indifference to me what you think of the pictures. They are irrelevant to this thread and indeed to this forum, and I would not
    have posted them had you not cast doubts publicly on me personally. I consider your comments disgraceful, and your conduct
    unbecoming to this forum.
  19. Dolf Active Member

    Country:
    Portugal
    "I obviously haven't made my point clear"

    Indeed.


    "so let me do so in moderate and unambiguous language. ..."

    Absolutely clear now!



    Dolf
  20. santi fernandez Active Member

    Country:
    Spain
    Very interesting debate, there are opinions in which I totally agree.
    This is a hobby and nothing is forbidden, you can experiment with techniques and materials and each artist has to find his way more comfortable, in my case it is for acrylic media figures and for the busts an acrylic base layer and then oils.
    Investigating both the medium to be used and the historical period of the figure or bust that I am going to paint is almost as fun as painting.
    A greeting planeters.
    kagemusha and Dolf like this.

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