Updated: Jul 19, 2019
Whether you're an artist or a collector, it can be hard to decide which style of art is for you. Many people have heard of the big 3; acrylic, oil and watercolour, yet you might not actually know exactly what they look like or how they differ. While all styles can be beautiful, it really just depends on what look you're after. For example, the art work you choose for your office may be completely different to what you may choose for your bedroom. To help you along the way we'll explain the differences between the three most well-known forms of paintings in the blog below.
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Oil paintings rose to prominence in the early 15th century, with its roots in the Renaissance. Visit any art gallery worldwide and you'll find countless stunning masterpieces created in oil. After all, some of the most famous artists throughout history painted with oil, including; Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Vincent Van Goh, to name but a few.
In present day, oil is still one of the most used and stylish of paints. Perhaps it's the medium of oil that has created the most significant impact on the development of painting as visual art form. Oil paint has a long drying time which allows artists to take their time producing work. Due to it's thick consistency, oil paint can create a highly textured effect. Though it can be messy to work with, it’s still adored by artists for the rich colors it can produce. For these reasons it should come as no surprise that it’s still one of the most popular types of painting.
Acrylic paint has only a brief history compared to other painting styles, such as watercolor and oil. Acrylic is made with plastic, so its quality has become more refined as plastics have evolved. Developed in the 1940s, acrylic was initially used as a house paint, but its many benefits brought it to the attention of painters. According to Art-Mine, "versatility, immediacy, and durability" are three of the biggest advantages of using acrylics. By the 1950s, artists began using quick-drying acrylic to avoid oil paint’s considerable drying time. Artists also found the synthetic paint was very versatile and with great potential.
Contemporary artists began to warm to using acrylics as they can produce both the soft effects of watercolor paint and sharp effects of layered oil paint. Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup Cans were painted in acrylics. Other famous acrylic artists include; Robert Motherwell, Roy Lichtenstein and Thomas Hart Benton.
Watercolour painting popularity gained momentum in 18th century England, however, it actually emerged in the Renaissance when paper-making became more sophisticated. Typically painted on paper, watercolors are made from pigments suspended in a water-based solution. Watercolours create a transparent effect and remains soluble even when dry. This is wonderful for artists as it means they can make corrections even when the painting is dry! There are many watercolor techniques that artists use to create different styles of art, from realistic portraits to washed out landscapes. Although watercolour is most often painted on paper, they can also be used on surfaces like fabric, wood, leather, and vellum too.
Hopefully you now know a little more about your favourite art medium. The right artwork sets the tone for your space by keeping it inviting and communicating what type of person you are. If you need some tips on how to hang you art we can offer you a few tips in our blog on how to hang art, here.