Collector's Corner: Acrylic or Oil Paintings?

Art collectors at our Gulfport gallery often ask if oil paintings or acrylic paintings are more valuable. However, the type of paint used does not determine the actual value of a work. It depends on several factors like the quality of the artwork, the work's size, and the artist's reputation.

At Brenda McMahon Gallery, we have a wide selection of paintings in both mediums. We represent artists who use both oils and acrylics, as well as those who prefer one over the other. For painters, the choice between oils and acrylics is a matter of personal preference and has no reflection on its value. Comparing oil and acrylic is similar to comparing crayons and colored pencils.

Art buyers can distinguish between oil and acrylic paintings and may question their relative value. While oil paintings are generally assumed to be more valuable than acrylics, this is not always true.

Lost City of Atlantis by Karen Taddeo (Acrylic)

('Lost City of Atlantis' by Karen Taddeo - Acrylic)

What’s the difference?

When utilizing acrylic paints, the pigments are mixed with water, commonly referred to as the base. Acrylics are popular because they can create bright colors, partly because they have less oil than other paints. Oil paints offer a wide range of vibrant colors, making them an ideal choice for many subjects.

If you're trying to decide between acrylic and oil-based paints, you should consider the finish. It is important to note that acrylic paint typically exhibits a flatter and more matte appearance. The colors may appear darker when dry than when wet. If you want a shinier finish, you can add glosses to the paint while you're painting or as a final layer. On the other hand, oils naturally have a high-gloss and smooth finish that can look delicate but is actually very durable once it dries. This makes it a good choice for techniques that require depth and texture.

('Still Life Flowers' by JIla Davoodi - Oil)

 There is No Right or Wrong Decision

Choosing between oil and acrylic works can be a difficult decision due to the difference in cost and materials required to create them. However, it is important to remember that the value of a piece does not solely depend on the medium used. Historical context plays a significant role in how we perceive the value of art. Oil paints were developed in the 12th century and have been used by respected artists such as Van Gogh and Caravaggio, cementing our appreciation of oil paintings. On the other hand, acrylics only gained popularity in the last century, and have still produced many great artworks.

Ultimately, when choosing any piece of art, it is best to rely on your own personal preferences and emotions. Don't let the medium be the only deciding factor. Consider how the piece of art makes you feel, how it will complement your home decor, and how it fits into your overall aesthetic. Trust your eyes and your heart to guide you towards the perfect painting for you!

Come See for Yourself!

Come explore our diverse collection of paintings at Brenda McMahon Gallery, showcasing a variety of styles from abstract expressionism to realism to portraiture in both oil and acrylic. Our talented painters are among the best in the region, and we invite you to visit and experience their artwork firsthand. You can also view our collection at any time by visiting

Additionally, we offer a four-week painting class taught by gallery artist Jila Davoodi, where students can learn how to use oil and acrylic paints and create their own unique pieces. Join us and unleash your inner artist!




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