Sunday, June 21, 2009

A try at acrylics...

acrylic on hardboard panel, 12x9 inches

It has been a very very long time since I've painted with acrylics. I decided to get a few tubes and give it a try, for location work ("au plein air"), to eliminate the hassle of transporting wet paintings along with gear. Whenever I try new materials, I always like to do something fairly representational, because that gives me an idea of how the material behaves, and how I need to modify how I do things to get it to do what I need. It was a startling change from working with oils! Since I was working in studio primarily to get the feel, this is done from a photo I'd taken some years ago on the Oregon coast. (I'll explain the title in a minute.) This is not something I'll frame, but it was fun to do.

Acrylics have changed a lot since I last used them. I am using acrylics from a highly respected maker. Very nice feel, very nice dry appearance. I was working inside on a humid day, so no problem with overly fast drying. I had some false starts and had to work a bit to get the feel of the paint. It simply handles differently from oil, in my memory more so than the acrylics of the 60s and 70s-- at least this brand. Slicker, smoother, less body than oil (though the color is wonderful). Disconcerting at first, I finally decided I like it. I suspect my use of it for strictly painting will be limited to certain situations, though. I still prefer oil. (It's easier to get out of hair and clothes, for one thing...)

One thing about acrylic that does appeal to me: the potential it and its various mediums have for doing multimedia works using various kinds of materials. That will be fun. I'll just need full cover.

Now, why I chose "Optimism" as the title for the painting above: there were actually quite a few people on the beach that day. All of them but one wearing hoodies, jackets, long pants and shoes. That's why I took this particular photo, and why I chose him to include in the painting. Usually when you see surfers along the Pacific NW coast, they are wearing wet suits. For good reason. The water is cold.