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Explorations in Oil paint

Tiffany Horrocks's image

Warning: Nudity below!

Covid Hibernations

During our last shutdown, I realized just how lucky I am to have my painting passions also be how I make a living. I can’t imagine how difficult it could have been for all those people out there that didn’t have rewarding activities to do while shut in the house.

Figurative paintings

Unfinished figurative oil paintings.

In the last few years, I’ve grown curious about the possibilies of painting in oil. It’s been many, many years since I’ve attempted anything in oil. I wanted to know “How is thick oil different from thick acrylic (acylic and gel mediums) when applied whith a palette knife.


Often people ask me technical questions about the difference between oil and acrylic impasto during workshops and to my chagrin I didn’t always know the answer. 

With that in mind, and because I have often thought of doing figurative paintings, I thought to myself, “Why not married the two challenges?” Somehow with the myriad of subject matter is out there I had never tackled that one. With every new subject matter comes challenges.

The results are these two paintings done in oil. Neither of them are finished.

So what did I think?

First of all, while there are a lot of similarities between oil and acrylic impasto, there are a lot of differences too. In a nutshell, I’ll be sticking to acrylic impasto. 
So why didn’t I finish these paintings? In short, I found I wasn’t enjoying the medium. 
For everyone who is wanted to know some of the differences between oil and acrylic, here are some of my discoveries.


  • For a quick loose palette knife work, oil paint had a nice texture and mixed well. 
  • I did like the extra working time. Definitely a plus. 


  • Trying time. It drove me crazy. It took so long and the midpoint in drying was tricky too.
  • I really didn’t like how difficult it was to add wet on to dry paint. The texture was difficult to deal with. 
  • I won’t lie. Having partially finished two paintings, I can’t say I’m an expert in oil. So why didn’t I finish these paintings? In short, I found I wasn’t enjoying the medium. There are a lot of techniques to learn and during this process I realized, just how much I like acrylic impasto. I ended up asking myself “ Why wasn’t I just painting in a medium I love?“
  • It seemed like the colours in oil both became in less vibrant in shades and tones.
  • Oil drys much darker than I’m used to.

2 thoughts on “Explorations in Oil paint”

  1. Hi Tiffany ,
    Glad you are enjoying lockdown as I am. Have been painting a lot but lack the discipline of painting from 9-5 as we did in the workshops❣️I also have found out a lot about myself as an 👩‍🎨 (?). I’ve stopped questioning myself…is it good enough? is it finished? what will others say? I decided the answers to all are within me. It’s finished when I say it is and if I like it👍
    With that in mind I think your oils are great and as far as I feel are finished! I took classes in college and they were all oils. I too, did not like the process. I looked at a couple of “unfinished” attempts I had, way in the back of a stack of unfinished projects and realized they were not as awful as I thought.
    Now that you have mastered your online store you need to focus on online tutorials…hint, hint, hint😍
    Miss you, and am waiting/hoping that Canadian travel will open up soon.

  2. Hi Tiffany! Hubby Don and I were in Bayfield at a Gallery we often visit. Glad to hear you and Hock are home safe from Mexico and South America after Covid! I thought of you both often!
    In the mean time I have had an operation on my dominate right hand and retired! I have not done a single piece of art since then. 🙁 I will soon be recovered and anxious to start drawing and painting again. In the mean time the gardens take precedence! Lots of weeds! When you get your renovations done and have a weekend course available I would love to be there! My work probably will be lousy but I usually buy one of yours so I feel better!
    We are planning to move to Calgary to be with Dons family next year so I need to get your week end inspirations this winter!

    Best wishes!
    Diane Squires

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