Choosing the right paint for the right project is the first and most important aspect of creating a quality piece of art work. Here’s our guide to making the right buying decisions for you.

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The main four types of paint are Acrylic, Watercolour, Oil and Gouache, and each one is designed to give the artist a very different finish for each piece of work. Understanding the properties, benefits and disadvantages of each type will allow you to make a more informed decision with regards to your work, leaving you with a painting to be proud of.

Oil

Oil paints are the oldest and most traditional type and are often regarded as the hardest to work with. Oil paints have a thick, dense texture and are generally used on canvas because of this density. Unlike other mediums, oil paints require extra equipment such as turpentine or white spirit for the thinning of the paint and also for the cleaning of the brushes afterwards. However, you should not let this put you off as oil leaves you with a beautiful finish that is unlike any other. Oil is of course, waterproof and takes around six months to fully dry. This makes oil painting perfect for projects that are larger and are expected to take a long time.

Acrylic

Acrylic paint is a water-based product and therefore is much easier to clean than oil and shares one similarity with oil in that it is a thick paint. However, it dries much faster than oil and is therefore not advised for use on long term projects. Thanks to its structure, acrylic simply needs to be thinned down with water to make it more pliable. It is most commonly used on canvas or linen but can also be used on acrylic paper with a high GSM.

Watercolour

Watercolour paints differ greatly from oil and acrylic in that they are very thin and solely applied to specialised paper. Watercolours are most often bought in a thick block that allows the user to thin down and apply just the right amount of colour onto a piece of work. They offer an almost transparent finish and the thinness of the paint allows the artist to create more intricate and detailed pieces of work.

Gouache

Gouache is simply a thicker form of watercolour paint and is used when an artist wants to create thicker, bolder lines within their work, rather than a paler or more watery image. Gouache can be used alongside traditional watercolour paints to create a piece of art that is both bright and intricate. Just like watercolour, gouache is best suited to thick, acid free watercolour paper with a high GSM.

Want to know more about working with these mediums? Check out our blogs.

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