When Paul Saindon posted a painting on Facebook and joyfully labeled it the last oil painting of the year, curiosity was piqued. 

“Looking North,” by Paul Saindon, oil, 16 x 20 in. Last oil painting until the 2015 winter for the artist

It turns out that Saindon much prefers to paint in acrylic, but he lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and water freezes there for a healthy chunk of the year. “I switch to oils around the end of October,” says Saindon. “And then I go back to acrylic around the beginning of April. My studio is well stocked with acrylic paints, and all the mediums. It’s normal for me to use acrylics. They are very easy to paint over without worrying about mixing with the underlayers, and I can control the transparency with a glazing medium. I have a small oil kit that I keep hand for when it is freezing. But I slow down in winter anyway because anything under -10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) is too cold for me.”

“Maples in the Marsh,” by Paul Saindon, acrylic, 20 x 16 in.

“Harvey St., Aylmer, Quebec,” by Paul Saindon, oil, 14 x 18 in.

Saindon also uses oil paints when he’s painting a portrait, as he finds that the tones in a face are subtle, and acrylics dry a little lighter or darker than they look when wet. And when the weather is too cold even for oils, he paints in watercolor in his car. “That just lets me exercise my observational skills,” says Saindon. “I am not a watercolorist.”

“Market Alley,” by Paul Saindon, acrylic, 18 x 24 in.

“Iroquois River,” by Paul Saindon, oil, 14 x 18 in.

The artist tried using alkyds, but he says they gave him bad headaches. He sticks with traditional oils in the winter. Is it tough switching gears, and switching media? “Yes,” says Saindon. “It takes me two or three paintings to get used to the new one.”


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