Saturday, January 8, 2011

An Acrylic Foray

Here's a few hours play with my new toys. At this point, my favorite brush is the fan because it can blend so well. These paints dry quickly--that is, on both support and palette. Of course, I forgot my instructions to spritz the palette as needed. This painting is based on an earlier image done first in graphite for my Cornell class and then later in watercolor with my version of the Zorn palette.


  1. What kind of support are you using? With acrylics, I find I work differently on canvas than board and differently yet again on paper. I find that if I am working on a primed board/panel that it takes a few layers before I can begin to get the depth of color and even application I desire- sometimes it helps to lay down your darks first and work towards your lights ( totally contradictory to watercolor, but fun!). If I get to a spot that isn't working for me, I have even put a thin coat of gesso back over the offending area and started over just in that one spot. To be able to push and pull the values like that really frees one up to experiment; the piece becomes less precious when you know you haven't ruined it by going too dark too soon or taking a chance just to see how it will look.
    Very cool how we all develop our individual fondness for our tools- I have never been able to get a feel for a fan brush although I have a few both in synthetic and bristle.
    Just for yucks (if you feel brave), try a very thin glaze of one of the earthy quinacridone colors on a tiny corner to see how it glows!
    Anxious to see your progress on these leaves; don't forget to spritz ze palette!
    ~ gretchen

  2. I used a sheet of bristol board. Gave it a few light washes thinking that it might make a base but I did get buckling. I couldn't find that acrylic gesso board I bought when starting egg tempera.

    I guess I ended up with a lot of flats! Had troubles with paint creeping up the brushes... Just found a filbert that I wish I used last night.

    It's a whole other world! Lots of fun! :-)

    Curious... After that acrylic session, I went back to my rosemary watercolor and did some work that is among my most satisfying, probably by losing my fear of strong colors, and yet holding into detail.

    Thanks, I'll try some glazing. That is, if I can stop playing around with this new iMac...

  3. I find bristol board is not too great with wet media - it will buckle by virtue of how it is made; it is essentially just layers (plys) of thin paper compressed together with little to no sizing, vs. a watercolor paper where the paper fibers are almost "felted" into one thick layer and heavily sized. Bristol will work for drybrush watercolor techniques, and studies where you won't be covering large background areas.
    I'm a firm believer in artistic "cross training"- my watercolor helps my acrylic which helps my pastel and vice versa- my photography helps in composition and seeing value across all mediums. Gesture drawings/loose sketching helps everything incl. when I work a bit three dimensionally ( oh yeah, I'm delving into a tiny bit of sculpture of late- now that's a whole other ball game!) My reading influences all my interests- it's ALL connected! These past two autumns I have taken art workshops in mixed media techniques- so wild and off the charts for me- but when I come home from these events, I feel like my own artwork is all the better for having been stretched so far out of my comfort zone. Athletes stretch and cross train, so should artists. We need to be like a rubber band that when stretched, never quite snaps back to its original shape- it's how we grow!
    ~ gretchen

  4. Thanks for the tips on supports. I'd not considered watercolor paper. I'll try that.

    Cross training. I like that! :-) I've seen how my photography helps and gets helped. I am beginning to "notice" workshops--guess it's my time to get involved. I've been into various IT-related week-long trainings over the years. They have made such a difference, broadening me in ways not always soon discernible, but that depth is there. New roots forming...

    Sculpture? Oh my! Well, you do have the room these days. :-)