What’s The Difference Between Various Art Paint?
There’re probably not many people out in the world who haven’t painted in some way or another at least once in their lives.
Whether you enjoy painting your home’s interior, are a seasoned artsist who's familiar with many types of paints, or perhaps the last time you painted was with some washable finger paints in the 80's…
No matter who you are or how old you are, you’ve held a paintbrush before and have likely painted with a few differnt mediums.
While we’re huge fans of acrylic paint, one of the most-popular art materials in the art world, watercolors and gouache are some of our favorties, too. We love the different thickness, opacity, texture, and finishes of so many of the options out there for us crafty folks, and if you’ve ever been to a painting and wine class, you too have used acrylics!
But, we’re here today to give you a little overview… a cliff’s notes version if you will… of some of the most-common types of paints and when to use each, including what they are and how they work.
The majority of our customers are first-time painters (or at least very new to the concept of painting and making art), showing us that so many people out there have a desire to try something new from time to time. This past year during the pandemic, there was a huge rise in activity classes (mostly virtual) like art, cooking, dance, exercise, and other activities.
So if you’re someone who enjoys trying your hand at new things, why not put your creativity (yes everyone has a creative side) to good use?!
Stop by your nearest art supply store or click on over to Amazon and order yourself a pack of your choice of paints — add some oil pastels, too, and see what you can create! All of these supplies can be found inexpensively (yep, even oil paints), and come with no risk of trying so give it a shot!
So, What's The Difference Between The Various Types Of Paint Used For Art?
ACRYLIC PAINT ***
The most durable of all of the paints. This is excellent news since acrylics are what we use in the studio! You’ll paint on your canvas with these plastic-based paints, that when dry, they stick strongly to the surface and forms it’s own seal. The color and texture will be locked into your masterpiece forever, no matter where tou hang it.
Acrylic paint is extremely durable and is resistent to light and dust, as well as water.
If you join us for a class and have to leave the studio while it’s raining, NO WORRIES; Acrylics will never be washed away or smudged by water.
*Once you put this paint on your canvas (or if it gets on your clothing or other surfaces), it is very very difficult to remove. It cannot be reactivated with liquids (like oil paint, Gouche, and watercolors).
When dry, acrylics have a shiny, glossy appearance
-- Paint Away: Paint on a wide range of materials including paper, wood, glass, and plastic.
*** GOUACHE ***
Where acrylic is platic-based, gouche is water-based.
This paint is less resistant to light and dust, and can be reactivated with water, all unlike acrylic paint. While this can be an advantage for painters who want to make changes to their paintings.
It’s typically recommended that you frame gouache paintings behind glass to protect them from dust or droplets of water that could damage the image.
Gouache dries opaque and matte, and it can’t be watered down enough to look translucent, like watercolors can.
If applied too thickly, gouache paint can crack. Acrylics, however, can be applied thickly enough to create surface texture.
When dry, gouache is soft and flat (vs. the shiny appearance of acrylics).
-- Paint Away: Gouache paint is best suited for paper
*** WATERCOLORS ***
A better-known medium, watercolors are often used by landscape and still life artists. Watercolors also work well with other mediums, such as colored pencils, graphite, and ink to create mixed media compositions. Fashion designers and illustrators often choose watercolor because the paint can be blended and applied to depict a wide range of textures.
Watercolor is more fluid (or watered-down), so it has less pigmentation than Gouche.
While watercolor is perhaps more well known, both gouache and watercolor are common beginner mediums. Unlike oil or acrylic paints, they leave more room for error, because if you are unhappy with your initial work, you can simply rewet the paint and rework it to your liking.
Ultimately, rather than considering the skill level required when trying to decide between using Watercolors or Gouche, it comes down to the finish you prefer: translucent or matte.
-- Paint Away: Watercolor can be used on any type of paper but is best on “Watercolor” paper - heat pressed is even better!
*** OIL PAINT ***
Oil painting first appeared in the world in the fifteenth century early in the Renaissance. It was first used by painters in Northern Europe. Since this time, artists have continued to develop and expand on oil painting techniques.
Like all paint, oil paint is made up of three indredients. Oil paint is made up of pigment, binder, and solvent. Pigment is the color and is usually a powder. The binder in oil paint is linseed oil. The solvent could a variety of things, but most often it is turpentine or mineral spirits. Understanding the properties of the ingredients found in any paint will affect your success when painting with them.
-- Paint Away: Surfaces for oil paint can be greatly varied. An artist may choose to work on wood, paper or most commonly, canvas. No matter what the surface chosen, it is a good idea to prepare the surface with a coat of acrylic primer-like gesso. Doing this creates an acceptable surface for painting with oil paint
*** TEMPERA ***
This paint's creamy consistency helps it flow smoothly onto a variety of surfaces and provides excellent coverage, which allows kids to use a variety of creative painting techniques.
This is an excellent choice for the younger crowd, say kids up to age 12. It cleans up increadibly easily, leaving no mess on the surface that you were painting on, and washes out if it gets on clothing. This water-based paint is thinner than acrylics, so it will give more of a watercolor look when painted on canvas and some paper, but is non-toxic and perfect for a large variety of crafts.
Though tempera paint today is the perfect choice for art in schools and younger kids’ art classes, the original tempera was made from egg yolk (the binder that held everything together) and was appropriatly called “Egg Tempera”. Many of the master painters of the past used this self-created pigment for their masterpieces and if you’re interested in learning more
about the tempera paints of today and those of the past, you can read on:
-- Paint Away: paper, cardboard, cloth, wood, or canvas