Glazing in Oil and Acrylic

A subscriber asks: “You speak of glazing and acrylics. So do you do the glazing with oil over acrylic underpainting? Or glaze with acrylic over acrylic? How do you do that?”

Note:  This question was prompted by a recent blog post about painting with acrylics.

In the article when I was speaking about glazing with acrylics, I was specifically talking about glazing acrylic over acrylic.

For me, this is where the real strength of using acrylic for this technique lies.  Because of its extremely fast drying time (minutes or less), a film of acrylic paint will be ready to accept the next layer – in this case a glazing layer – almost immediately.

This way, complex glazing effects that might take weeks to construct with oils can be done in just hours with acrylic.

It is possible to glaze with oils over an acrylic base – in fact, most of my underpaintings are done with acrylic to facilitate speed.  (I do use a matte medium for the acrylic when doing this.  It forms a more porous surface, giving the oil layer some added mechanical adhesion to the lower paint layers).

Although glazing oil over acrylic does work just fine, there is still the waiting time to allow each glaze to be dry enough to work on top of it – a minimum of overnight.

The one combination that does not work is glazing acrylic over oil – because of the way oil dries, it does not form a surface that the acrylic will adhere to.  An acrylic layer painted over oil will eventually just peel off.