Thursday, December 9

Using Acrylic Just Like Watercolor

This Was My First Acrylic on Paper
May, 2010

I’m still working on the acrylic I blogged about last week. It’s coming along quite nicely, and I believe it will be finished soon. I will show it to you at that time. Today's image is the first painting where I painted acrylic on paper.

Today I want to briefly discuss with you how I am using acrylic these days. The more I work with acrylic, the better I like it. It’s so versatile, which is not necessarily new to anyone, it’s just that I keep discovering acrylic’s qualities of which I was previously not aware.

In the past, I had painted acrylic on canvas using it the same way you use oil; that is, I was not diluting it with water too much (similar to diluting oil with odorless mineral spirits) and painting with visible brushstrokes and even impasto.

Now I am using acrylic with water. Just so you know, I have used acrylic with water before, but in my current painting, I am using it just like watercolor.

I mean just like watercolor. As I said, I now paint acrylic on paper rather than canvas.

And, in my current painting, I am using acrylic wet-in-wet. I dab out the acrylic(s) on my palette and mix the color I want with water and/or retarder, then I dampen the paper and apply the acrylic paint.

It flows--and the results are (almost) just like painting with watercolor. You do have to compensate and mix the colors slightly lighter than you desire because acrylic dries slightly darker. I have found that using more water mitigates this somewhat.

When it’s dry, you can then apply a thinned wash of color to change or enhance the look of your work if need be.

I’m not trying to disparage the beautiful paintings that watercolorists produce, I’m just telling you, you can get fantastic results with acrylic without all those rules you have to follow explicity with watercolor.

I find it easier and invigorating, and I am happy with my own results.

Until next blog…

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