Second Acrylic Technique Notes
My second notes are more that I’ve learned about acrylic techniques since I returned from Vero Beach. When I started with acrylics, I used the gel mediums a lot but over time, I have found them to be less useful. What really is incredibly useful and excellent are the airbrush and glazing mediums.
This is where my experiments with transparent oils for my oil painting method comes in. I have spent a long time studying transparent oils and using them over graisille under paintings, as well as over gouache and casein. Some of you may recall last summer seeing many of my experiments with mixed mediums. The transparent white in particular has been useful in combination with a bit of opaque white and an opaque blue like FUB or Cobalt to over paint and finish off skies in oil paintings. This method allows a very nice rich finish, adding depth and in cutting in around tree canopies to soften the edge work.
With the large acrylic painting In this post, the light bulb went off in my brain, just like the cartoons!! I asked, “Why can’t I use the same method with acrylics?” TA DA!!!! It works!! I had assumed that the glazing medium was mostly good for glazing thin color over other color, and of course that works very well. I used that method in the water in the painting. It had not occurred to me that it could work in essentially the same way my oils do for acrylics, in tree canopies and so forth. I’ve learned to use airbrush medium most of the time, and save the second layers with glazing medium.
In my early acrylic paintings I had the situation of a large cloud mass separating the warm and cool sky sections, making them look like to separate skies. I wanted to keep the cooler sky down in the lower region and the warmer up high away from the sunlight source, but it was too much, too obvious a change in blues. I also had the problem of uneven color and value going into the tree canopy. Then there was the issue of the distant tree line and making the atmospherics believable with a smoky quality.
For a super acrylic painter, all of these problems would be a snap to overcome, so if you are a master at the technique, overlook my methods and try not to laugh and smirk too much.
For the sky, I decided to mix the cool blue with a bit of white and a lot of glazing medium so that it would be a cool, light transparent blue. I used a large brush to work this paint over the warm blue up high in the sky. It was an excellent solution. It allowed the warm sky to show through but it was more subdued. I used this same mixture to brush in and around the sky holes and to kiss the tops of the tree canopy, eliminating the value changes and the patch work look. It also softened the edge work in the trees where sky meets trees.
For the atmospheric quality in the distant trees, I combined Naples yellow, a bit of titanium white and a bunch of glazing medium, brushing it over the top line of the trees and down into them in the direction of light.
I feel like this was a real breakthrough for me in this difficult medium. As I have progressed in this method I’ve been able to duplicate the look of my oil paintings in acrylics. I am liking them more and more. There is a large learning curve with acrylics if you have been a long time oil painter, but at last, I am feeling quite comfortable with them.
More musings for artists and collectors to come…..