With Oil Paints the pigment is suspended in oil, most commonly Linseed oil. The oil is what extends the drying time of oil paints allowing the artist to have plenty of time to blend on the canvas. In fact Oil paints can take years to completely dry! Also, due to the presence of oil in Oil Paint they need to be thinned with oil or solvents, as we all know Oil and water don’t mix.
Acrylic Paint pigment is suspended and bound in a plastic based, carrier – a water based plastic polymer resin to be precise! This is why acrylic paints dry quite quickly and can be thinned and cleaned up with water. They are very popular among artists who like to work quickly!
Water color pigments are suspended in Gum Arabic, they are the only type of paint that can be lifted after they are dry – traditionally and most commonly, water colors are applied to paper! However some artists do use these paints on canvas to interesting effect! Water colors are generally applied in layers of transparency building tone and depth. Water color paints also come in the form of a hard pan, or block which are soluble with water and are great for traveling.