There are two types of paints which work well on canvas. One is oil and the other is acrylic. You need to choose which painting medium you will be using. Some people prefer oils to acrylics. There are several differences between the two paints.
The oil can take days to dry completely. This allows the artist to continue with the painting for days after the original sitting. The acrylics are not so forgiving. These paints can dry within hours. If you think you can make a mistake and go back later to fix it, you are wrong.
Oil paints are made up of pigment and oils. A simple paint can be made from dried saffron and peanut oil. Mixed properly you can use this formula to create a wonderful shade of yellow which you could also eat. Most of the oil paints on the market are poisonous, so always keep them out of the hands of children.
When oil paints are made from three things. This is pigment, oil, and some type of drying agent. The latter was added because the oils took too long to dry. Drying agents can be things like paint thinner.
Although the primary colours can be formulated into any other colour in the spectrum, there is no need to try creating the same colour every time you paint. Oil paints come in any shade or hue you can think of, from black to white. Each colour can be blended with another to add even more combinations. There is literally no colour you can not reproduce on the canvas with oil paints.
Oil paints can be used to create textures. They can be spread on thick or thin. One thing you will learn is the thicker you have the paint the longer it will take to dry. Also, a thick layer of oil paint will crack as it dries. This is not good for the painting. The best thing to do when working with oils is to create the work in layers. This will allow the paint to dry evenly and prevent cracking. This is one reason why some artists spend days creating an art piece instead of rushing through Alla prima.
Acrylics are synthetic paints designed to mix and blend just like oils. The main difference is the dry time. While oils can take days, acrylics can take only hours. There are advantages to using acrylics over oils. When you need the project done quickly, the acrylics are up to the task. By having a faster dry time, the painting can have layers added in hours instead of days.
With acrylics, the artist can be assured of a straight line for horizons or other needs. You can actually apply masking tape to dried acrylic paint. When you peel the tape off, there is no danger of lifting the paint off the canvas. This ensures clean, precise lines every time. With oils, you would have to use an edger and still take the chance of smearing the paints.
Some artists prefer acrylics. Some prefer oils. There are those who go back and forth between the two, depending on the project. It is advisable to learn about each one. You should experiment with at least the primary colours to see which you prefer. Everyone should learn all there is to art. By experimenting with the different mediums, you can learn quite a bit.