Comparing Contemporary Acrylic & Oil Painting

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: New Realism, Pop Art, Op Art & Hyperrealism

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Appreciating Art
  • 0:33 Acrylic
  • 1:23 Oil
  • 2:23 Contemporary Acrylic &…
  • 3:13 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
In this lesson, you're going to learn about some of the major characteristics of acrylic and oil paints and discover why an artist might choose one or the other. You'll also see some famous examples of each in contemporary art.

Appreciating Art

To some, a painting is nothing more than something to yawn at. For others, every little detail of a painting, from the creases in a person's hand, to the interplay between light and shadow, to the types of colors that are used, is of utmost importance in appreciating that painting's beauty. Here, you're going to learn about the major aspects of painting using acrylic and oil paints. We'll then go over some contemporary examples of each.


Acrylic paints are pigments mixed with resins derived from acrylic acid. If you were to take a paintbrush and start painting with acrylic paints, anything you like, you'd notice that acrylic paint has some key properties.

You can apply this type of paint in layers, and since acrylic paint dries pretty fast, you can do it quite quickly. Acrylic paint can also stick to just about anything you want to paint on. It doesn't fade much over time and is relatively resistant to cracking. Since acrylic paint is devoid of a lot of harsh solvents that are found in oil-based paints, it's also better for your health. When you're done, clean up is quite easy because all you need is soap and water. In general, acrylic paint is easy to use, versatile, and safe.


Oil paint is pigment immersed in oil, commonly linseed oil. Pigments, if you didn't realize by now, are the things that give color to the paint. Oil paint is really creamy and dries slowly. You might think the slow drying time is bad. However, it actually allows you ample time to paint an image that you want. Meaning, oil paint is very responsive because it dries slowly. This allows the artist to modify colors and move the paint around to reach a desired effect. Oil paint can have a lot of texture to it. If used directly from the tube it can be used to paint thickly. Or, it can be thinned down for a smooth look.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account