The beginner painter is always facing one question that, once answered, will stick with him forever in his or her career. Should you use oil paint, or watercolor? The differences between the two are important, so choosing one and mastering it should be a decision that you don’t take lightly.
To begin with, watercolor paint is more convenient to set up, handle and clean up. It only involves the usage of paint and water. That’s it! Your playground is the paper sheet that you’ll paint on, cartridge or watercolor, both easy to manage, store and less expensive than other materials.
On the other hand, oil painting requires that you usually buy a canvas. There are two ways in which you can get them, one being the already stretched onto a frame kind, and the second being masonite, or primed. For convenience, you can use canvas paper, which is normal canvas that gets glued to thick, backing paper. While in the developing process, young painters can use thick craft paper for practice, if they desire to.
One of the most inconvenient parts of oil painting has to be the cleanup process. Materials for oil painting include turps and medium. In exchange, watercolors are quicker to dry out, although slower drying could be an advantage, especially if you want to work longer on a painting. For example, oil paintings can take up to 3 months to dry, depending on how big of a varnish quantity you mixed in the paint.
There is no medium that is just easier to learn when you are actually painting, although oil painting methods are usually more careful and elaborate. Watercolor is surely a tad more difficult, because you are working with “wet-in-wet”, and are often applying them with important quantities of water directly onto paper, which is porous. They tend to be harder to keep under control this way.
One big, important difference between watercolor and oil painting is that watercolor is an immediate type of painting, while oil painting allows for repeated reparations and corrections over time. Although oil painting has its qualities for longer paintings, watercolor can still be removed with the help of a sponge and you can repaint over it.
In conclusion, no matter what you choose to work with, as a painter, the difficulty of obtaining the perfect piece has little to do with the materials or the media that you use. Drawing, painting, as most art forms are developed by repetition, skills and creative efforts, which are always independent of the medium. Take drawing with a graphite pencil on regular paper for example. It might be the most immediate, convenient possible way of drawing, yet is as difficult to learn well as any other types of drawing or painting.
If you are spending hours on end, striving and getting better at what you do, seeing as you dream becomes a reality, the medium is the least important factor in your task being difficult or easy. Your true talent will shine, no matter how you’ll choose to express it!