Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Painting Progress: How Not to Paint With Acrylics

I have done quite a bit of painting, and I should really have some progress to report, but the truth is that I seem to suck at painting with acrylics. It has been a while since I painted with them, but I don't recall having so many problems with this medium before. It could be the cheap paints and canvas, but I tend to assume it is my technique when I have these types of problems. I mean, it usually is me. In this instance, I feel that my rustiness and lack of experience painting portraits with acrylics are more likely to be the real issue. However, I have ordered some higher quality paints, canvas, and acrylic mediums to see if this is my problem. So look forward to some more reviews!

Meanwhile, I have created a couple of portraits using colored pencil as practice so I could experiment with color schemes without using the rest of my white paint. I also wanted to feel better about myself after the epic paint fail. My vision for the girl in the painting was a surreal snow white skin tone, very similar to albino skin. I was using photos of albino models as references for the skin colors, but I am having difficulty translating this to paint. I feel like I did better with colored pencil.

Colored pencil sketch #1(more stylized)

Image of Colored pencil portrait by Pumibel

Colored pencil sketch #2 (more realistic)

image of Colored pencil portrait by Pumibel

Affiliate Disclaimer: For full transparency, you should know that many of my links in my posts are affiliate links. As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission when readers purchase items using my affiliate links. This helps me fund the blog domain costs, and you will not be charged extra if you buy anything using my links. 

Learn From My Mistakes!

Since I needed to go back to the basics for acrylic painting, I did a little research browsing other art blogs by successful painters. A lot of the rookie mistakes they talk about have to do with materials. I have said it before: buy the best art supplies that you can afford. I had grabbed my Daler Rowney Simply and Apple Barrel paints on a whim, believing I was going to paint a bunch of cherry blossoms and flying petals. Once my vision changed to include a portrait, I should have been more mindful of my materials. Even if the DR paints are okay, I still need a glazing medium to be able to achieve the translucent petal-like skin I envisioned. Without proper additives, acrylic paints dry too quickly, making it difficult to blend smooth transitions, which are important when painting traditional portraits. 

Glazing was an oil painting technique used by the old masters to build rich dimensional color. It is essentially layering thin coats of paint. I do this with colored pencil for skin tones as well. Each layer of color creates a visual blend with the color underneath, much like the translucent top layers of skin show the colors from blood vessels underneath. Pure white skin still has other colors to it such as the reds and blues of the underlying vessels and from local color reflected onto the skin from the subject's surroundings. Extremely pale and extremely dark skin tones are very reflective, so painting them is challenging if you are not comfortable with the medium you are using. This is my problem right now.

I haven't scrapped the project yet. I did trash the first canvas because nothing good was going to come of it. I have a finer textured canvas on the way, but I will not use it until I have practiced with the paint and acrylic glazing medium. I ordered Liquitex Basic paints as well as the Golden Satin Glazing Medium. I am excited to try these out. I used the Liquitex Basics many years ago, and I remember them being quite good for student grade paints. Golden makes highly rated paints and mediums, so this will be a treat for a raggedy artist like myself! 

Do you have any tips or tricks for painting with acrylics? By all means, please share them in the comments!

No comments:

Post a Comment