Monday, September 29

Some Advice for Painting with Acrylics

Country Hillside
Acrylic on Canvas Panel
16 x 20 in/40.6 x 50.8 cm
Copyright Byrne Smith 2014
There's an old saying, "do as I say not as I do." I always hated that because it is so patently hypocritical and self-serving. There is no place for that in art. In that spirit, I'm telling you what  I actually do regarding painting with acrylic paint. Here goes.

No. 1 - They're not oil; they're not watercolor or gouache, either; they're acrylic, get over it. That means you have to forget what you've learned about painting with those other media. You have to learn how acrylics actually work when you personally paint with them as opposed to reading or watching how someone else paints with them.

No. 2 - You have to learn how not to dally with acrylics. Dally is the perfect word, which has a couple of meanings, both of which apply.

One means to treat something in a way that is not serious enough. To paint successfully with acrylics you must treat them with the respect they deserve as a bona fide medium, no matter what other painters think or say about them.

The other meaning is to waste time idly, dawdle. As you will quickly learn, you can't dawdle (or dally) with acrylics, they dry too fast. You have to paint deliberately and purposefully. For many, however, that is their no. 1 attribute.

No. 3 - Find the brand or brands of acrylic paint that work best for YOU. That doesn't mean it has to be the most expensive or "the best" as described or endorsed by other painters or manufacturers. It does mean that you have, for whatever reason(s), found the paint that best suits the way you paint and gives you the look and feel of painting you desire. That simple.

Well, I do believe I have more advice, but I think I'll save that for another blog.


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