Karen's Studio Blog

KarenLynnLink.Tomatoes II image
© Karen Lynn Link, Tomatoes II, acrylic on gessoed paper, 8.5" x 13”

Greetings and Salutations,

The first paint I ever used was acrylics. My mom gave me a painting lesson around when I was 11 and I continued painting with acrylics off and on for 10 years. I then painted with oils for about 10 years, but returned to painting with acrylics around 2001.

Acrylics were much improved by the time I started painting with them again. After experimenting with a few acrylic mediums and other additives, I was sold especially after being able to create a surface similar to oils. Utrecht is the brand I’ve used exclusively since 2001 until about a year ago when I decided to branch out and experiment with other brands, primarily Golden Acrylics.
One of the benefits of working with acrylics is the shorter drying time compared to oils. The ease of cleaning up with soap and water is extremely advantageous. Acrylics have a wonderful versatility. They morph and adapt to any style and intention of the artist with the addition of a variety of mediums.

Something to avoid with acrylics is adding too much water and thinning out acrylics to the point of compromising the paint film. If you see specks floating in the water/acrylic mixture that is exactly what has happened. I would suggest adding a medium to the paint for thinning rather than water if this is a problem.

Also the artist needs to make sure that the support is appropriate for acrylics and can handle the weight of the paint so that the support doesn’t buckle, bend or sag especially if using extra thick and heavy acrylics. Paper can be be tapped down to a rigid backing and then gessoed so that it doesn’t buckle. Printmaking papers, for example, are heavy enough for painting this way. Canvas and paper can be glued to a variety of rigid backings like foam core boards and wooden panels to give extra support. Stretched canvas can sag under the weight of heavy applications of paint so keep this in mind when choosing an appropriate support.

Acrylics have a wide selection of pigments that span organic to man-made and are in every way equivalent in quality to oils. Some acrylic pigments have an undertone that differs from the mass tone, that are unequal in any other medium.

From Golden Paints (at http://www.justpaint.org/the-nomenclature-of-color/):

Masstone / Undertone
The masstone of a paint is simply its color when applied thickly enough to completely cover a surface. No other colors from below show through. Undertone, by contrast, is visible when we spread the color very thinly over a white surface. Certain colors, such as the Cadmiums and Cobalts, have similar masstones and undertones. With the transparent colors like the Quinacridones or Phthalos, the undertone can be quite different from what might be expected.

What is your preference in works of art: painting, sculpture, drawing, or another material? If you are a painter like me, what do you paint with: oils, acrylics or watercolor? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Have a beautiful day,

Painters Tip: Golden Paints has tons of information and resources on acrylic paints, oils, and watercolors. They have a newsletter that you can subscribe to called Just Paint filled with useful information. Be sure to check them out.

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