Art: Can you paint acrylics over oils?

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  1. #1
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    Can you paint acrylics over oils?

    I'd always been taught that you couldn't paint over oils with acrylics because of adhesion problems and drying problems leading to cracking. Recently while looking around the net I came across a Gnome DVD with Dave Dorman showing how he paints. Apparently, he paints acrylics over dry oils.

    Are there any rules to this and will he run into problems later on? I plan to buy his DVD just because I'm so intrigued with how much he mixes his media. In the free video you can watch he even uses markers over the oils. I plan to try all this but thought some here may have tried before.

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    basically the layer of acrylic is only sitting gingerly ontop of the layer of oil. Eventually (who knows when) the layer of acrylic will start to peel. This happened to one of my teachers. Also I know a few artists who have exploited this to make translucent rolled paintings. They paint an acrylic painting on top of an oil ground and when it is dry they peel it off.

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    If you want your painting to last, its a very bad idea.

    Please be clear that where the intended product is for an "illustration" job, it really doesn't matter a damn whether the painting is "archival", because the final product is a photo/scan/digital image capture, and as long as it hold up long enough to achieve that, then thats all that really counts - a very different consideration from a "fine art" painting which should be able to hang on someone's wall for at least the next 50 years, and preferably a lot longer.

    Dave

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    Wouldn't suggest it.

    Should work alright the other way around though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dcorc View Post
    ...as long as it hold up long enough to achieve that, then thats all that really counts...
    That doesn't justify wasting your efforts on bad procedure. (I'm not directing this at you, Dave, just following your point.) Plan the work better, or use a faster drying oil system (start with acrylics, use alkyds, water/oil emulsion, etc.) or don't use oils. There's no good excuse for doing things the wrong way, especially if you're supposed to know better.

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    Agreed entirely, David !


    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flake View Post
    Wouldn't suggest it.

    Should work alright the other way around though.
    actually painting oil on acrylic creates no bond whatsoever (however the acrylic wont repel the oil like oil repels the water in acrylic). So while it would be harder to peel off it is still possible. Painting oil on acrylic is the same as painting an a super smooth surface. Now if you add something like calcium carbonate (marbling dust) to the acrylic you create a porous surface. This will create a physical bond between the acrylic and oil much like the bond of oil with acrylic gesso.

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    painting oil on acrylic is the standard procedure .. all primed canvases come acrylic primed , for use with acrylic or oil

    acrylic onto oil will crack over time , unless maybe you are painting onto a perfectly dry, very lean layer of oil that is used for primer or something.. but i see no point to painting this way

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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetoblivion314 View Post
    Painting oil on acrylic is the same as painting an a super smooth surface.
    Ever painted oil onto glass or metal? You'll need a wallpaper scraper to budge it once it's dried.

    I'm fairly sure glass is smoother and less porous than acrylic paint.

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    http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/dvds/ddo02.html

    Check out the link to see Dorman in action. Near the bottom is a minute or two long video. I can't tell how much is oil and how much is acrylic and markers but apparently he's been doing this technique for a while.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flake View Post
    Ever painted oil onto glass or metal? You'll need a wallpaper scraper to budge it once it's dried.

    I'm fairly sure glass is smoother and less porous than acrylic paint.
    I use a glass palette. It would be more akin to painting on plastic. I'm not saying its gonna fall off, but it is not archival in the least.

    And metal should be roughed before painted on so it can create a physical bond with the oil paint.

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    I use a glass palette too and once oil has semi-dried it still needs a fair bit of bodyweight and a sharp edge to shift. I also remember using a fairly polished metal plate as a palette thinking, "right, this will clean up easily", it doesn't..

    I'm not saying it's "archival" (a relative term surely?) but I'd expect sensibly applied oil on glass, plastic or metal to still be here long after I'm not.

    If it outlives me, I'm cool.

    Last edited by Flake; August 14th, 2008 at 09:58 AM.
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    Here's what Golden Paints has to say about acrylics over oil:
    http://www.goldenpaints.com/justpaint/jp12article1.php

    "Overpainting artist oils with artist acrylics is definitely bad practice..."

    They also have some good info on acrylic gesso and oil paint:
    http://www.goldenpaints.com/technica...ii_acrylic.php

    If you don't bother to read the instructions, you shouldn't be teaching them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slipp3ry View Post
    painting oil on acrylic is the standard procedure .. all primed canvases come acrylic primed , for use with acrylic or oil
    It also happens to be the priming of choice on the cheapest canvases you can buy.

    Most conservators still recommend not painting oil over an acrylic layer or ground if you intend on the painting lasting for more than a 100 years. Oil paints don't bond the same way with acrylic grounds as they do with oil grounds. If an artists has any interest in proper material procedure, they will go with what's time tested and paint oil paints on an oil ground.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetoblivion314 View Post
    Now if you add something like calcium carbonate (marbling dust) to the acrylic you create a porous surface.
    Could you please explain this further? What is marbling dust, and where can you get it? Doesn't calcium carbonate rather not dissolve in water?
    What if it's just a thin coat of acrylics over the gesso (chalky surface is retained)? There shouldn't be a problem then should there?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cepro View Post
    Could you please explain this further? What is marbling dust, and where can you get it? Doesn't calcium carbonate rather not dissolve in water?
    What if it's just a thin coat of acrylics over the gesso (chalky surface is retained)? There shouldn't be a problem then should there?
    You can buy marbling dust at any larger art supply store. I know for a fact Utrecht carries it. Marbling dust is one of the main ingredients in acrylic gesso. Its why it has a tooth. It is poorly soluble in pure water. However, you don't want it to completely dissolve because then it would not add tooth to the surface.
    If you make the layer of acrylic too thin then you run into the issue of not having enough acrylic binder to hold the acrylic layer onto the surface (same as using to much turp in oil paint).
    Probably the safest thing to do is to mix your tone with acrylic gesso and tone the canvas that way.

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    Thanks, for the info. I'll see if I can find anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetoblivion314 View Post
    It is poorly soluble in pure water. However, you don't want it to completely dissolve because then it would not add tooth to the surface.
    NO pigments, by definition, are soluble in any paint binder. If thy were, they wouldn't be pigments, they would be dyes.


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