They are back on the table and the palette. After a few months learning about oil paints and how they respond indoors and out, my personal reaction to the fumes has forced me to reconsider acrylic paints.

acrylics-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia

Oops! There’s that splat again.

The good news

  • For me, the simplicity of cleaning up with water is a huge bonus.
  • There is some odour, but it is not overpowering and gives me less discomfort (headaches or nausea) than oil paints do.
  • The speed of drying outdoors is a benefit. Paintings in progress or finished are easy to transport with just a little care. Their “plastic” surface means they are sealed to some extent when the surface is touch dry. They are not immune to scuffing but are less vulnerable than freshly painted oils.
acrylics-2016-1-seascapes-AdelaideSouthAustralia-PhilippaRobert-Wintry day in summer
Wintry day in summer; 25x30cm, acrylic on linen panel

Some of the bad news

acrylics-outdoor painting 2017-Philippa Robert Adelaide South Australia-outdoor setup-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia
Outdoor kit, with hanging water containers
  • In these dry times, water is a precious resource. I am finding fewer taps in parks and public places these days. The artist needs to carry water, at least for washing brushes. For me this involves at least two water containers – one for the wash and the second for the rinse. Water is heavy.
  • Because of the “milky” medium in which the pigment is suspended, acrylics tend to dry darker than it appears while wet. Brands differ I am sure, and the more dense the pigment in relation to the carrying medium, the less the tonal change.

And that’s just SOME of the bad news. Unfortunately there is a bit more. I will fill in the gaps another time.

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