Saturday, March 10, 2012

Is It Oil? Is It Acrylic?

I know that in the "fine art" world, there is a kind of, shall we say, "discussion" over the pluses and minuses of oil over acrylics.

Once I started to paint with oils I was amazed at the fluidity of oil paints. If you were careful and didn't make mud, it was amazing how they flowed AND better yet, continued to flow for at least a day or two if not longer.

In doing a series of flower images painted on a stark black background, I indeed used acrylic paint for the black portion. After taking a class with a similar motif, I learned not to paint where the flower would go so. Instead I sketched the flower on the canvas, then painted the black acrylic paint around that area.

After attending the Painting Convention in Las Vegas this month, I realized that I too could teach at least as well as many of the teachers and so finished a painting I had started before I left. There was one difference. This painting of the flower would be in acrylics, not oils.

Using Americana Paints by DecoArt, I found that I was able to achieve the same effects I could with oils but oddly enough, by using the methods I was using in my craft work. Dry brushing, floating the edges was exactly the same. I don't think if this was put alongside the oil flowers that you would even notice, not at least at first. 

The quandary...which is better? The strides made in acrylics, some slow drying, some adding more pigments, the variety of mediums you can add to do a variety of things, does make acrylic paints more and more alluring. However, the best benefit of all is the last. By the time I was finished in my art session, everything packed and put away, it was dry.

Am I giving up my oils? No. I have quite an investment there and do like the fact that it does take longer to dry. Will I use more acrylic paints in fine art painting? Absolutely. I have quite an investment there. There are just some times when you want the painting done, completed and able to ship. I can do them in the house, on my art table and not have anyone complaining about the smell. 

So, the quandary continues!

Monday, March 5, 2012

After Las Vegas

I returned from the Painting Convention in Las Vegas Saturday exhilarated from a variety of classes, the majority being oil painting of one kind or another. Oh, there were several craft type classes; learning Norwegian Rosemaling, which is fantastic and something that I will explore far more, creating and painting a rose heart necklace and then a final class mixing water based oil and acrylic paints on the same painting at just about the same time.

One of the striking lessons though was that everyone has a different way of dealing with their brushes. Some only wash with a cleaner, others use Dawn, and others hand soap bars. Some coat with baby oil, others Vaseline, one with a folded card held on the bristles with a paper clip, others, nothing at all.

Painting was an interesting exercise as well. My color theory class with Bill Bayer had us use the 12 or 13 basic colors. With minute amounts of medium we worked our way down a sheet showing how after each dip the colors became lighter and lighter. Compared to last years technique using white as the lightening agent the medium results were startling.

Bayer used medium in his take on John Constable to keep the colors clear and luminous
while Robert Warren had us cover then entire canvas with medium before a single stroke of oil paint was applied.

What was incredibly frustrating though was the lack of wi-fi and the terrible AT&T service in Las Vegas. I could stand literally in front of City Center, a 10 billion dollar complex on the strip and literally have no cell phone signal. There was no wi-fi in my hotel, the Tropicana limited it to those with a room (though I heard it too was terrible) and the free wi-fi at McDonalds on the strip made dial-up seem fast. I finally had to use my iPhone to access my ETSY store, find the person who had purchased a plate and email her that I would be delayed in sending her the purchase she made.

I made a number of purchases on the convention floor, shopping for bargains, finding plenty and have many plans to get them painted and on my ETSY store.

I will write more later...I am still digging out from what I brought home and what was neglected at home!