Oil or Acrylic?


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Mar 26, 2003
Alberta CANADA
The Framing Nook
Is there an easy way to identify if the painting is an oil or acrylic?

(Sorry if this is a question everyone but me already knows)
Sometimes you can "smell" the oil paint - especially if the painting has been done fairly recently (within the last few years).

Also, since acrylics weren't invented or widely used until the sixties (I seem to recall) - anything older is probably oil - or possibly the kind of paint that "bridged" between oils and acrylics and was made from milk and I'm sorry that name escapes me completely but I used them in high school in the sixties and they dried completely water-proof, were water-soluable to paint with and had the "feel" of oil when you painted with them (unless you thinned them and then they were like water-colors).

Perhaps someone else should answer your fine inquiry!
While it may sound a bit vague, acrylics do look
like the plastic that they are, when they are applied as oil paint would be. When they are thinned, it is hard to tell them from watecolors,
beyond the fact that they are so much cheaper
than watercolor that artists may apply them
more liberally.