Oil on Canvas
The artwork is typically painted with linseed oil (or flax oil) used as a binding agent with colored pigments on natural cotton or linen canvas. Mineral spirits such as turpentine are used to make the paint thinner or thicker, faster/slower drying.
Oil paintings have "greater flexibility, richer and denser color, the use of layers, and a wider range from light to dark". But the process is slower, especially when one layer of paint needs to be allowed to dry before another is applied (1-2 days).
Oil paintings became popular in the Renaissance period in Europe and replaced previously used egg tempera. Some famous artists who worked in oil were Klimt, Picasso, Rafael, van Gogh, Renoir, Chagall, Kandinsky, Monet, Hopper, Rembrandt, and Cezanne.
Our artists who work in oil are George Abramidze from Georgia, Lobsang Durney from Chile, Alyona Krutogolova from Ukraine, and Albena Vatcheva from France.
Acrylic on canvas
Acrylic paints are made of pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion. Developed in Germany in 1930s and 40s, acrylic is a synthetic (vs. natural linseed oil) and modern paint.
Compared to oil acrylic paint is a) faster-drying (hours vs. days), b) bonds to more surfaces than oil, c) water-based. On the other hand, oils "allow for more time to blend colors." Oil paint also has a higher pigment load than acrylic paint. Oil is less clear than acrylic which preferred by some artists.
Famous artists who worked in acrylic are David Hockney, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Basquiat, Helen Frankenthaler and Barnett Newman.
Our artists who paint in acrylic are Tavalina from Israel, Chuchin Gutierrez from Chile and Iris Kristmunds from Iceland.
Watercolor on Paper
In watercolor painting (also "aquarelle"), paints are made of pigments suspended in a water-ased solution. Gum arabic is used as a binder to hold the pigment in suspension.
The conventional support for watercolors is watercolor paper. However, other support can also be used such as wood, silk (as in Vietnam), leather, fabric, canvas, etc. Watercolor paper is typically made out of wood pulp, although more expensive paper is made out of cotton to help with preservation.
Watercolor painting is possibly one of the most ancient art forms. it has has been dominant in China, Korea and Japan with Asian ink brush and scroll paintings. While India and Ethiopia have long watercolor traditions as well.
Famous watercolor artists include Georgia O'Keeffe, Reginald Marsh, Charles Demuth, Cezanne, Xu Beihong.
Our artist who works in watercolor is Inna Petrashkevich from Belarus.
Nepalese and Tibetan Thangka
Distemper a decorative paint and a historical medium for painting pictures. The binder may be glues of vegetable or animal origin (excluding egg as in tempera). Soft distemper is not abrasion resistant and may include binders such as chalk, ground pigments, and animal glue.
Many Medieval and Renaissance painters used distemper painting rather than oil paint for some of their works. The earliest paintings on canvas were mostly in distemper, which was (and is) also widely used in Asia, especially in Tibetan thangkas. Distemper paintings suffer more than oil paintings as they age, and relatively few have survived.
Our artist who works with distemper is Tashi Gurung from Nepal. Tashi is using natural pigments available in Nepal along with Yak animal glue as a binder.
Pastel on paper
A pastel is an art medium in the form of a stick (or crayon), consisting of powdered pigment and a binder. In order to create hard and soft pastels, pigments are ground into a paste with water and a gum binder and then rolled, pressed or extruded into sticks.
Pastels have been used by artists since the Renaissance, and gained considerable popularity in the 18th century, when a number of notable artists made pastel their primary medium.
Famous pastel artists include Eugène Delacroix, Jean-François Millet, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Odilon Redon and James Abbott McNeill Whistler.
Our artist Albena Vatcheva from France is using pastels in her work.
Metal prints are the 20th century invention and are optimized for photography art.
They are made by infusing dyes directly into aluminum. Usually they are available in a number of finishes: gloss white/clear, semi-gloss white/clear, matte white/clear, and brushed aluminum. Sometimes, they're also covered with acrylic plexiglass for higher vibrancy.
Metal prints are one of the mediums used to create archival prints of the original artwork. The other two mediums are paper and archival canvas.
High-Definition Metal Prints are a modern way to display art. They have a beautiful vibrancy and luminosity. They are lightweight, durable, scratch and abrasion resistant, easy to clean and can be displayed without framing or placing behind glass.
Our other guides:
What is a Giclee print? | How to Hang a Painting | How to Afford Art | Art Installment Plans | Preserving Artwork | Art Framing Guide