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Using Oils with Acrylics

14 thoughts on “Using Oils with Acrylics”

    • Hello Ruslan,
      this is our most recent research article on this topic. While there may be more recent studies in the conservation world, we are not aware of any papers that would add to this research or change our perspective. We have since tested adhesion of oil over acrylic and found no failures. Perhaps in the coming years we will re-investigate this topic and present our findings in another article. Because so many oil painters use acrylic gesso to prepare their surfaces, the topic of using oils over acrylic is as relevant today and will be for decades to come.
      Thanks for your comment!
      Greg Watson

    • Hi Paul – A heartfelt thank you for the appreciation and so glad that you found this helpful and valuable. And if there are ever other questions or areas you would like to see more articles or research on, just let us know as we are always on the look-out for new topics.

      Best – Sarah Sands

  1. I’ve been looking for information on this for so long! This is an incredible and thorough article – thank you for the research!

  2. I have learned from the brand Royal Talens, I was in the factory and had some masterclasses, the best way to do oil paint on top of the acrylic paint. Use instead of white acrylic paint the white Gesso. You have a better base for you oil-paint. The acrylic is a plastic and is so smooth for holding the oil paint. When you used the gesso, the oil can take there feet into the base of the tooth of the under paint. Hope it make any sense. This isn’t my language hope you can read what I am trying to say.

    • Hello Dita,

      Thank you for your comment. It sounds like they recommend using Acrylic Gesso under the oil layers to provide additional tooth (micro-texture) for the oil paint to adhere to? This is definitely in line with what our recommendation. While acrylic colors do tend to have less tooth, we have still seen good results with oils directly over acrylic color. That said, the tooth and porosity of Acrylic Gesso is superior to acrylic colors or mediums.

      We wish you well in the studio!

      Best Regards,

  3. Hello Fiona,
    Thank you for your comment. The GOLDEN Isolation Coat is intended for acrylic paintings only and would therefore not be a good choice for your mixed media piece. The Archival Varnish can be used over both acrylic and oil paints. We recommend starting with several Archival Varnish Gloss spray coats until the surface has an even glossy finish. If you prefer a satin or matt finish, the appropriate Archival Varnish in that sheen can be sprayed over top in the last two coats. In general we recommend 6 spray coats for optimal UV-protection. In case you need to ship this painting within a short period of time, we would recommend not varnishing or postponing the shipment date, to allow the varnish to cure for 2 weeks before shipping.

    Here are links to resources that should help you make a decision:

    Should you varnish your painting (video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfi6H2dFlcw
    Varnishing Mixed Media Paintings (article): https://justpaint.org/varnishing-mixed-media-paintings/
    Rolling Acrylic Paintings for Shipping or Storage (article) https://justpaint.org/rolling-acrylic-paintings-for-shipping-or-storage/
    Pack and Ship Unframed Paintings with Cardboard Corners and Rails (article): https://justpaint.org/pack-and-ship-unframed-paintings-with-cardboard-corners-and-rails/

    We hope this helps. Let us know when you have more questions.



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