Many beginning painters start with acrylics or water colors. Because the canvases for these types of paints don't need to be primed, and the paints themselves are often less toxic than oil paints, it seems natural to start with either acrylics or water colors and then move on to oil paints when you are more experienced. However, there are several reasons why it can be a good idea to start with oil painting, especially if you have access to a good teacher.
Longer Drying Time
Oil paints dry significantly slower than acrylic paints. When you are first learning to paint, you may paint slowly as you make artistic decisions, ask for techniques to be demonstrated, or get distracted while working. Oil paints will give you the extra time you need as a beginner. Alternatively, acrylic paints dry quickly, which may limit your ability to play with the color and try different techniques and brush strokes while you are first learning.
More Prep Involved
When working with oils, you have to prep your canvas and paints. This makes many beginners choose a different medium. But the truth is that even with acrylics or water colors, your final product will look better and your experience painting will be more enjoyable if you take the time to prep your canvas with primer and the paints with specific agents to the style you wish to achieve.
Working with oils first will make prep-work second nature, meaning you will be more likely to keep doing it even when you expand into the mediums that don't require it but still benefit from it.
Because of the slow drying time, oil paints allow you to easily blend colors on your palate, on your brush, and on your canvas. These blending opportunities will allow you to try out many techniques that you will not be able to play with when working with acrylics or water colors. While it can be more difficult to get a crisp, solid line with oil paints than with acrylics, you will likely find that the blending in oil paints is more forgiving of mistakes when it comes to your first few paintings, allowing you to create a painting you can be proud of from the beginning of your painting career.
What you choose to paint with first is a highly personal choice. But you should consider the benefits of learning with oils before discounting them as a beginners medium. Talk to a place that offers oil painting classes, such as Roslyn Gallery, for more information.