Acrylics Revisited

Recently I wrote about my need to reconsider acrylics. After listing the advantages, I started on the other column. Soon it was clear that the downsides were outnumbering the upsides. I have been painting with acrylics for decades and the news was not good. Time to break the list up a bit and see if the light of another day helps.

acrylics revisited-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia

So, back to where we were: One of the chief advantages of acrylics is also a major disadvantage for me, depending upon the weather and the location, indoors or studio.

  • Speed of drying outdoors is a huge detraction. On a breezy day the paint mixed on the palette does not last very long before drying. Bad luck if you needed quite a bit of one colour. Similarly, with acrylics the pure colour squeezed out can form a dried surface which can then add globs to the fresh paint if you take it from underneath.
  • Clean-up in water is “easy” but in the field, the brushes brought home need further attention with soap and warm water to complete the job.
  • When using acrylics it is quite difficult to match colours exactly after the paint is dry. Given drying time is fast, this compounds the problem. Careful use of slow medium could slow down the drying time of your batch, but that is difficult outdoors. For studio work, Chroma claims that it can be easily done with Atelier Interactive if you wet the surface of the area you want to match.
acrylics revisited-work in progress-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia
Falie, Port Adelaide (wip); acrylics on linen panel

Acrylics – the lessons for me

  • plan the colour’s tone – work in a lighter tone than you expect.
  • don’t forget to use the water spray to keep the palette moist or use a damp paper towel or sponge under the palette paper.
  • push the colour a bit more – think dazzle
  • stop grizzling and get on with it!
acrylics-Mary's hedge V2-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South AustraliaSMLR
Mary’s hedge; 25x30cm; oil on linen panel

There are many more negatives than positives – hence the last bullet point! Today’s work, painting in the autumn sunshine with a light breeze reminded me of the negatives. Isn’t that a shame?

I hadn’t realised how much I love painting with oils.

So how should I proceed?

The immediate plan is:

  • Oils outdoors unless travelling far and wide
  • .Acrylics or a happy-medium substitute like water-soluble oils indoors unless I can ventilate the space well.

Sounds do-able. What do you think?

 

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