We are often asked to explain the difference between the various media our artists use.

In this blog, I will hope to explain those used by artists producing paintings, drawings and prints. Those used in sculpture will be dealt with, at a later date.

Most painters use oils, acrylics or watercolours.


Some collectors consider Oils to be the most desirable. Most of the paintings you will see in Museums produced from the mid 15 century onwards, will be in oil on canvas or wood panels. Oils are capable of effects in the right hands, that other media struggle to achieve. They dry very slowly, enabling artists to manipulate images on the canvas. Once dry, however, other transparent layers of colour can be added without disturbing or smudging the lower ones. The depiction of translucent materials, like human flesh on face or body, can be achieved in this way. Artworks in oils are best not displayed behind glass and many of the oils sold on this site will never be framed because the artist has treated the edge of the canvas in such a way that the work looks great without. Most works on canvas will be dispatched on a stretcher. A few artists choose to send large works “rolled up”. Please check. Those works will need to be stretched on arrival.

Dreams about Summertime by Serghei Ghetiu

Dreams about Summertime by Serghei Ghetiu


Acrylic paints were first made available commercially in the 1950s. They are water based but once dry are waterproof. They dry quickly and the range of colours is infinite. Like oils, they will not smudge when one colour is painted over another. Many artists who choose acrylics do so because they dry so quickly and they can complete a whole artwork in one intense session. Artists using acrylics work mostly on canvas, but some choose thinner materials like paper or card. In the latter cases, the finished artwork will need to be framed, by the artist or the collector. Displaying acrylics behind glass is acceptable, but in the case of works on canvas – unnecessary. Oil painters would claim that acrylics lack the versatility of oils. I am sure some would disagree.

Sunday Sailing Impressions XL 2 by Peter Nottrott

Sunday Sailing Impressions XL 2 by Peter Nottrott


Watercolours are normally applied to paper of various qualities and textures. This means, they will

need to displayed, framed behind glass. Some artists sell framed watercolours. Most don’t. Water

colours are not waterproof when dry. Overpainting tends to produce muddy colours and is to be

avoided. They tend, therefore to be produced quickly and part of their attraction is that they retain

that feeling of spontaneity. Works may be sold mounted ready to frame but sometimes rolled up

and dispatched in a tube. Artists will choose the method guaranteed to get the work to customers

safely. Watercolours are the cheapest to produce and therefore prices tend to reflect the artist’s

outgoings. However, as with any of our artists, those with a National or International reputation,

attract customers willing to pay to own work of that quality.

Donkeys ‘Three Amigos’ by Anna Pawlyszyn

Donkeys ‘Three Amigos’ by Anna Pawlyszyn


All Drawings, like watercolours will need to be framed either by the artist or the customer. They may be in pencil, crayon, pen and ink, marker pen etc. These works are fairly robust. Works in pastel, charcoal, chalk etc. are more delicate and will often be protected by a fixative spray before dispatch. The delicacy of the material is reflected in the subtlety of the marks made in work in these media. Many artists will combine these various media to achieve affects unavailable by using only one.

Sleeping Lion By Sammy Bulled

Sleeping Lion By Sammy Bulled


Prints on this site, will always be limited to a maximum of only 150 in total. These Limited Edition Prints are seen as more desirable than Open Edition Prints which can run to thousands. In the same way a print run of only 20 would attract a higher premium than one of 150. There are basically , three category of prints for sale on this site.

The first category does not exist in any other form. Etchings, Lino cuts, Lithographs and Screen Prints, for example, are not reproductions of paintings or drawings which already exist. These may be called Art Prints. By definition, the process of printing them, means that the quality of low numbered works in the run are likely to be superior to those towards the end of a run. For this reason, prints are numbered to show how far down the run they are, and how many in total e.g. 4/50. This possible reduction in quality would not normally be visible in runs limited to 30 or so.

A second category is “giclee” prints. They will be reproductions of existing artworks. The originals, may or may not be for sale as well, but in this case, all copies, although numbered, will be exactly the same quality. They are produced on sophisticated versions of the InkJet printer found in many homes, although some artists use professional print companies. Often, they are only produced on demand.

A third category of prints are photographs, sometimes digitally enhanced, orginally taken by the artist, or works produced entirely with the help of sophisticated computer software. The latter we call “Digital Art”.

All three types might be printed on a variety of paper or similar, needing framing or less frequently on Aluminium, Perspex etc. needing no frame. Also, it has become increasingly popular to print the second and third category on canvas which is then stretched and needing no frame.

As with any other issue with works on this site, you can either call us on 01666 50 51 52 or if you have registered as a customer, contact the artist by using “MAKE ENQUIRY” visible on every artwork page.

Humph Hack - curator

Cafematic Cafe Bar Limited Edition Print By Helen Sinfield

Cafematic Cafe Bar Limited Edition Print By Helen Sinfield