Ashwinstudio art blog

Experimenting with Acrylic Paints

16th August, 2009

Most of my recent paintings are in oil but a lot my earlier experimental work is in acrylics and mixed media. And for some of my new abstract paintings I have dug out my acrylics again as one of the benefits is it dries so quickly. This allows me to experiment with different effects and to continue working on the paintings for extended periods rather than wait for it to dry.

Still, I love working on oils and will work over the top with glazes and stumbling.

However, the question arises of is it okay the paint over acrylics with oils? Many artist do this and belive it is okay and believe that the acrylic paint is a sufficent ground to hold the oil paint. Conversely, other artists say it is not the ideal surface for oil paint. Perhaps only time will tell – probably long after we have gone! One thing I do know is I have paintings that finished fifteen years ago, that I painted oil over acrylics, and they are perfectly fine!

Another reason I have returned to acrylics, is after several conversations I had with artists whilst on holiday in Dorset. The artist I spoke to work almost exclusively with acrylics (well, actually emulsion and acrylic), mainly because they have a large turnover of work through their galleries and cater for the tourist market. Many said they did use oils for longer and more experimental work: By experimental I mean work that is not so targeted at the tourists and work that perhaps takes longer to sell.

What interested me most was the fact that they used emulsion paint with the acrylics. One artist advised me to buy the strongest red, yellow and blue I could find (or have mixed) but make sure it was a very well known brand. In their experience it worked absolutely fine. Again, I have found mixed views of using emulsion but I intend to give it a try. As long as you are honest about its use I don’t see a problem. Anyhow, it has been used by many modern artists recently in work that is highly valued. John Myatt, the famous art forger, still uses it and did so in many of his works that fooled the ‘art world’!

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