There are many types of color painting media to choose for your art work. There are acrylic paints, watercolor, gouache, and oil painting; the latter being the most supreme choice media. Just what I have encountered, most beginners may not be able to decide which is best suitable for them. Below you will read 3 common color media that I would like to share in my findings. Namely, oil paints, water-mixable oil paints and acrylic.

1) Oil paints

Widely used by most artists and students for centuries, since early Renaissance. Oil paints are made with color pigments, bind with oils. Poppy, linseed and safflower oils are the most common oils used in the paints, giving the characteristic silky texture and gleaming finish of the paint. Traditionally, paint is applied ‘fat over lean’, starting thin and then getting thicker towards the completion of the painting.


Highly versatile in its forms, applications and techniques. You can use it straight from tube or blend with other colors. And techniques, include knife paintings, alla prima, impasto, glazing, sfumato .

Easily retouch or re-work, because it take longer time to dry, especially paintings with thick buttery effect of impasto. It is either you paint over when medium is dry, or to wipe away for wet medium.


Lots of paintings tools and accessories, like color palette, painting knives, bottles of solvents, and painting easel. Thus, need some floor space catered for storage.

The odor from mixing solvents need good ventilation in studio room. Some people are allergic, and may cause health hazard when inhale too much.

2) Water-mixable Oil Paints

To traditional oil painting artists, this new media may not be a better choice. However, its a preferred media to those who are allergic to the slightest odor of solvents. Very suitable for one who is working in a low ventilated room. Ideal choice is Winson & Newton’s Artisan.


Hazardous solvent is not necessary. Only require water, easily available from your indoor plumbing. More about Diamond Painting

Easy to maintain and clean. Drys faster than traditional oil paints, but not as fast as acrylic.


This is a new media. Generally, there is no disadvantage and probably the going to last for next few decades in oil color media.

There is one that comes across my thought. Since it is water soluble, what happens if you are in the midst of painting outdoor and it starts to rain? Would be nice to hear your comment if you encounter bad experienced like this.

3) Acrylic paint

Acrylic paint is pigment dispersed in a film of transparent liquid plastic. Only soluble in water when medium is not dry. To reduced the rate of drying, acrylic paint can be mixed with a retarder medium and extender


Dues to the characteristics of fast drying, it is sometime use as an alternative for oil paints.

More durable and color permanency, as compared to oil paints. The color remain true to its originally painted, with least chances to turn yellow, crack or mold as time passed by.


Fast drying may serve it’s purpose if you are skilled and a quick painter. Otherwise, you will spend more time cleaning dried brushes than to focus on painting. Always keep your brushes wet at all time.

Acrylic paints is resistant to water once it is completely dry. So how can one get rid of the harden tip that has already dried and clog at the tube’s opening? Simplest advice is… always screw back the cap of the tube once unused, don’t leave it dry.

Although you are reading about color painting mediums, I’m also interested to know your point of view in other choices. At the moment, I’m using graphite pencils as my beginner’s choice. Color painting will be next, once I mastered how to draw beautifully.