Art: The Big Acrylic Painting Thread

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  1. #1
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    The Big Acrylic Painting Thread

    If I go to any search on the web for 'Acrylic tutorials' or 'Acrylic process', etc, I come up with about 1/4 as much info as I do oils. I do the same with oils and I find so much more content and learning material. I can find step by step process tutorials that actually help me, not like when I search for acrylics. I mean, even in CA, it's the same thing. We've got The Big Oil-Painting Thread but I haven't found an equivalent for acrylics (If there is one, please show me because I need all of the info that I can get).

    Well anyways, my main beef is that I can find tuts down to the brush stroke for oils sometimes, but mostly all I get for acrylics is, "First, I painted in the sky. I then painted in the water. Next I painted in the beach."
    Wow, thanks. =/ Along with other additional info like "Acrylics dry quickly. Get nice brushes. Work using layers."
    *vaguevaguevague* All the while.


    Anyways, are there any acrylic process vids out there? Just so I know how I should be starting a painting?


    Above was my original question for the threads original purpose: 'Acrylic Painting - Why less content?"
    Well I hope that will be rectified, I got a lot of helpful info from the great guys here and someone came up with the idea to make this the Big Acrylic Painting Thread, so here it is.

    Last edited by drd; July 28th, 2007 at 10:31 PM.
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    More info than you'll ever be able to use (plus they make some of the best paint in the world):
    http://www.goldenpaints.com/


    Tristan Elwell
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    The fundamental stuff for painting of any kind crosses all mediums. The only tecnhnical stuff you need to know about acrylic painting I would bet you already know.

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    Bah. I'll just have to write a Big Acrylic Painting Thread. It'll be a while, though; I'm still unpacking and I have no internets at the new house yet. In the mean time if anyone else wants to write a Big Acrylic thread, go right ahead. . . *nudge nudge*

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

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    Thank you Tristan!
    Seriously, most of the pros here use oil except for those who do the underpainting in acrylics and finishing with oil thing. That's why there is more info about oil. I'm also starting to suspect there is a wee bit of a stigma attached to acrylics. Oh well...

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    Heehe. . . if you want to really see the acrylic stigma, got to the wetcanvas forums. I have never seen so many people producing so much shit be so stuck up about their media of choice.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

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    Wetcanvas is deviantArt for AARP members.


    Tristan Elwell
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    *rolling on the floor laughing*

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    Eh, yeah, I suppose.

    Do you think it would just be worth it to just ditch acrylics, and work with oils? They seem to be the preferred medium of choice of all the professional artists out there. Come to think of it, I don't think there is a single living master who uses acrylics...

    Well, if I'm going to switch to oils, I also need to ask this:

    Can I use them in a room other people also use? My art corner is in the computer room, so my Dad is sometimes in there. I know that there are fume problems associated with that, but I've also read that's just the turpentine, and fumes aren't a problem with regular oils, like linseed. And do oils themselves let off harmful fumes? I don't want to be putting bad air into the house.

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    At your level of ability, don't deal with oils yet. They'll just frustrate you.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Yeah, I guess you're right. I've always wondered if acrylics were kind of like a 'stepping stone' to oils, per se. Never asked, though.

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    The guy I'm studying pastel with has been a portrait painter and muralist for 40 years. He's worked in everything but when he teaches advanced students painting in the summer he teaches acrylic, because of the easy set-up and take-down, but also he insists he's found people who start their painting experience with acrylic find an easier time transitioning to oils than painters in oils find adapting their experience to acrylic.

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    acrylics are easier to work with for newbies, because they dry a lot quicker, which allows fast working in layers. and you can cover up stuff within a sitting. You also do'nt have to worry about your colors turning to mud, and be overly concerned with your cool/warms because you can cover up pretty opaque, unlike oils, where the series of colors you've laid down will ultimately show through.

    instead of desperately searching for information. Just start painting. You'll develop your own techniques. Look at people who USE acrylics on the internet, shoot them an email or PM...or post in their sketchbooks. I've found most people are very responsive to questions. But it's mostly mileage. Get used to painting wet into wet, and working with layers, thinning out with water [ not too much!] using mediums...etc. Mileage is most important.

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    I've worked in both, but I think working in acrylics has taught me a lot about edges. Acrylics (sans a drying retardant) can be so unforgiving when it comes to blending, you are almost forced to explore different ways of creating interesting edges. Layering, scumbling, rubbing, scraping with an xacto- its like full contact painting. Beating my head against acrylics also got me thinking about using intermediate values and temp. variations instead of just blending, which I think is one of the hard parts about oils for beginners... its easy to just feather edges until they melt into the canvas, so over blending can become a crutch to conceal a number of bigger problems (such as mismatched values).

    And if you like the look of oils, you can get kind of there with acrylics + medium. As mentioned, Golden makes some kick ass paints, gels and mediums. They have a gloss medium, that when mixed with acrylic paint produces an oil like gloss. When it comes to mixing with water, feel free, but personally I prefer mixing with a medium. The resulting paint has good even consistency, holds a brush stroke well, and will extend the mileage of your paints more effectively then water without over thinning.

    Last edited by thinairart; July 6th, 2007 at 01:32 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by drd View Post
    Well, if I'm going to switch to oils, I also need to ask this:
    There is a link in my sig to information on oil paints for you.

    I do recommend starting with acrylics. Unlike oils, acrylics have no established rules; and because they dry more quickly and don't involve so many fumes, they are easier to fit cleanly into your current shared environment.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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    Might as well turn this into the acrylics thread. Tip #1: get one of those spray bottles you mist plants with. Without hosing down the paint on your palette periodically, you are limited on how much of a color you can mix up at once and also limited on how much time you can mess around using it. (I don't like acrylics much because the relative humidity is so low where I live. It looks like you live in a state that might give you a little more time to make your painting decisions, and the misting spray bottle might just be the ticket.)

    Tip #2: If you like impasto painting then get an acrylic texture medium while you are down at the store. They got all kinds of pre-mixes like "stucco medium" and a nice stiff glossy medium that's a little like painting with cake frosting. The acrylic paint itself is hard to mound up into geologic formations without a medium.

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    BTW, I do have a big write-up on acrylics in the works!

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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    Woops, I was going to reply earlier, I had to leave though. Arttorney, thanks for that, I appreciate it. Yeah, I kind of figured I might have to do an impasto kind of thing because of how hard it is to blend with acrylics, but if I get some kind of retarder then I might be able to. I wouldn't know, I've never used one. In any case, I should be heading to the store sometime this week (with any luck).

    That's great Seedling! I think it would be really nice to have a Big Acrylic Painting Thread here, as I'm sure there are many other people who are not overly satisfied about what they can do with it...

    At any rate, here's an acrylic study that has been in my SB for a couple of days but I never posted it here:

    The Big Acrylic Painting Thread

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    Quote Originally Posted by drd View Post
    Come to think of it, I don't think there is a single living master who uses acrylics...
    Michael Whelan? John Jude Palencar? Vin Difate? John Berkey? Bob Eggleton? Chris Moore? Jacek Yerka? Dave DeVries? Jim Burns? There's a bunch of "modern masters" still using the medium and using it well.

    The challenge with finding demos/FAQs/step-by-steps online is in part due to the versatility of the medium. How Michael Whelan paints is very different than how John Berkey paints. Factor in that many illustrators using acrylic today include some mix of application (airbrush and brush being the most common, though someone like DeVries can be even more eccentric) and the incredible diversity of mediums, and you've got a lot of bases to cover. Acrylic can look like watercolor or oils or anything in between, all depending on how it's applied.

    I recommend starting abstract. Focus on the different applications, textures, edges, mediums, thicknesses, opacities, etc that you can play with in acrylics. Do a lot of studies first. Then try and find a couple of techniques that seem to work for the image you are trying to create, and use them. Then go back and study some more. It's a fun medium, and well worth dipping into for starters.

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    Yeah. I guess it kind of depends on who is a master. I think Chuck Close's big self portrait looks kind of cool, and it is acrylic. For an enormous painting, you either need to go solvent free, or use water media. Spreading a quart of turpentine around thin is likely to gas you out.

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    Another option is to get a slow drying acrylic additive. They will then still work like acrylics, but the slower drying time (which still isn't that of oil) will start to give you ideas of how oils can be manipulated.

    Whatever you do, don't look at my Sketchbook and Painting Thread!


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    A tip: when doing blends in a feathered semi-drybrushed manner, you get smoother results working from dark to light.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Jacek Yerka is a pretty unanswerable argument for the validity of acrylics as a choice. I've got an art book by him and what he does is phenomenal, original, and clearly works to the nature of what acrylics are. Even so, I think I can see the sort of plasticky quality acrylics have, but what he's doing is so amazing you can't really complain. I love his technique.

    I've got lots of acrylics, bad ones ('Duro'! Awful textures) and have tried to make paintings with them, but never successfully. The idea of using them as underpainting is a lot more appealing. I always felt I got more out of diluting them like crazy and spraying them with a mini spraygun, and now I've got some Badger airbrush paints to save me the trouble of trying to break up chunks of Duro

    I think most of it is simply about the glow and finish- it's rather like acrylic being a digital amp modeler and oils being a tube Fender or something. You can enjoy the convenience all you like, you can take great pains to not fall into the most obvious traps acrylic has as far as looking like a multicolored plastic toy, you can do all kinds of glazes and semitransparent everything, and in the end it STILL looks a bit plastic. The quality of the work is far more important, and can completely distract from that, but I don't think you can really get away from it. The closest I've come is with semitransparent sprayed acrylic that was almost all gloss medium.

    I could easily see artists, like Yerka, so mastering their technique that they choose acrylics simply to support their style and workflow- but I can also see a lot of people not willing to even go there, and especially I can see people at 'the deviantart of old painters' hating acrylics because they haven't the technique to support anything but automatically-lush-looking oils

    Honestly, I could see just slopping a bunch of oils onto a canvas in order to look at how the light plays through them, which would be laziness in the extreme. Try that with acrylics, you'll throw up! But I think that makes you work harder. But it also makes you more frustrated

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    A tip: when doing blends in a feathered semi-drybrushed manner, you get smoother results working from dark to light.
    There is a good reason for this:
    Acrylics, over three quaters of their tonal range dry a stop darker and a touch 'redder'. Thus a lighter layer put over a dark will drop back a bit in contrast when dry. A darker mixture laid over a lighter one will 'step away' a shade or two in tone from the colour it is being laid on since it is drying darker and thus increase the contrast when dry.

    From Gegarin's point of view
    http://www.chrisbennettartist.co.uk/
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    Thumbs up

    Exactly.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bennett View Post
    There is a good reason for this:
    Acrylics, over three quaters of their tonal range dry a stop darker and a touch 'redder'. Thus a lighter layer put over a dark will drop back a bit in contrast when dry. A darker mixture laid over a lighter one will 'step away' a shade or two in tone from the colour it is being laid on since it is drying darker and thus increase the contrast when dry.
    *lightbulb* That explains so much! Thank you!

    As usual, I'm running late with what I'm writing . . . :-P

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

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    dark to light!

    Argh, that's why my acrylic (1st try today, I've only used watercolour, soft pastels, pencils, charcoal and artist markers...) painting looks weird...thx for the tip!

    But I must say, going from light to dark and then clean out the still wet parts does make some cool textures. But it can only be used when trying to paint old chairs that had their paint chip off...haha...

    Any other tips for a newbie like me?

    In this world set by God,
    Imagination is our magic...

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    Acrylics, over three quaters of their tonal range dry a stop darker and a touch 'redder'. Thus a lighter layer put over a dark will drop back a bit in contrast when dry. A darker mixture laid over a lighter one will 'step away' a shade or two in tone from the colour it is being laid on since it is drying darker and thus increase the contrast when dry.
    That advice is spot on... and something I had to learn the hard way from trial and error. Here's an example of the sort of things that can go wrong when you're blending in Acrylic (and not carefull with you're mediums). My digital camera is not the sweetest, but I think you can get a sense of what Chris and Elwell are talking about.

    Portrait of Charles Bukowski
    Jason W. Clark
    Acrylic on Canvas (incomplete), 36"x48"

    Attached Images Attached Images    
    Last edited by Jasonwclark; July 22nd, 2007 at 03:02 AM.
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    Robert Bateman's Acrylics process. There could be more pictures but you get the point, and it goes to prove one can do amazing stuff with acrylics.

    http://www.robertbateman.ca/art/rbop...npainting.html
    (the link thingy doesn't work, ca is acting up again)

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    Emerald,

    Try experimenting around a little. Acrylics are really good for that because they will adhere to almost anything and so you can practice on the old cardboard backs of paper pads and stuff. You can make collages in acrylic applying absorbent stuff like fabric and paper and then overpainting some or all of it. If you try to do this with oils the oil will seep sideways into the collage stuff you glued on there and make these unsightly sweat rings of oil that will mar whatever the original design was on the fabric or paper you applied.

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