I'm working on a new painting and prepared the canvas with several thin layers of acrylic paint to create a solid black background which I then let dry for a couple of days. I then began painting over it with oils. Five days after applying the acrylic layer, I was removing a bit of the oil paint using oil of spike lavender which quite unexpectedly also removed much of the underlying acrylic paint. The acrylic layer is now a bit tacky in that spot and some of the oil paint has gotten mixed into it.

Can I safely continue to paint/mix the oil paint over and into this acrylic/oil combo? Or should I do my best to scrape off all the paint from the compromised area before painting over it?

I know you can't paint acrylics over oils as the acrylic layer will crack and you can't mix them due to the evaporation vs polymerization mechanisms of the different paints, but technically the acrylic paint was dry. The solvent caused it to break down, but there should be a negligible amount of actual water in the paint itself. Since the acrylic paints (when dry) seem to just be polymerized -acrylates and "dry" oil paints are polymerized fatty acids, would mixing a water-free acrylic paint with oil paints using a non-water solvent be roughly equivalent to (somehow) mixing cured oil paint with wet oils?

And moreover, will this lead to excessive cracking?

  • 1
    What is "water-free" acrylic paint? All the acrylics I have seen are water based. So you would not be mixing cured oil with wet oil, you'd be mixing oil and water or trying to anyway. Are you talking about Alkyds?
    – rebusB
    Oct 19, 2023 at 14:18
  • 1
    Also curious about that base coat. The lavender oil should not have dissolved it after a few days of drying if it was acrylic paint. Was the original ground that the black acrylics went on painted with something oil based?
    – rebusB
    Oct 19, 2023 at 14:26
  • @rebusB I was using the term "water-free" to describe the acrylic paint that has fully dried and then been chemically broken down with a non-water solvent. Regarding the base coat - I used Liquitex acrylic gesso on PVA sized canvas which had fully(?) cured for about 3 months. Lavender oil (and even the fumes) will definitely break down pretty much any type of plastic if left in sufficiently high concentration for an extended period.
    – asdf
    Oct 20, 2023 at 16:11


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .