Friday, August 31, 2012

I Tried Something New and It Didn't Kill Me

Plein air painting, "Creekside Music" - acrylic original on gessoed panel, 7" x 10" 

Plein air painting, "Suzanne's Garden" - acrylic original on gessoed panel, 6" x 11"

"Autumn on Chalk Creek" - acrylic original on canvas, 40" x 30" x 1.5"

I love the title of this blog post!  Credit to our friends Ken and Wendy, who came up with this one re a B52's concert on the lawn at Denver Botanic Gardens.

My niece Jamie came for a visit this summer, and she wanted to paint, so we got some acrylics and got to playing around.  Now, I haven't painted with acrylics since I was 20, which was a little while ago . . . and I didn't like them much then.  Things have changed!

Low and behold, I gave them a try, and I loved them!  The acrylics feel a little different to me than oils, the colors look and mix a little differently, and the "action" of the paint on the canvas is different.

I am especially enjoying them for plein air painting.  The speed of the drying time, which a lot of artists think is a huge disadvantage, really suits me for painting on location.  I can build up paint layers quickly, paint negative shapes and overpaint and highlight quickly.  Cleanup  is easy, and by the time I have my simple painting materials packed, the acrylic study is dry and easy to transport.

I've been doing a lot of experiments with the acrylics, and a lot of research.  Like oils, there is great variation between manufacturers in paint body, lustre, pigments, drying time, mediums, etc . . . very satisfying for my need to understand all aspects of the chemistry and archival qualities of the materials I use to create my art.

This  foray into acrylics has opened up possibilities and potential, and enhanced my painting journey.  I think I like it - thanks Jamie!