Monday, December 24, 2007

Large Painting in Acrylics

Valley with Cows, and Details.
This painting is the finished piece which I posted as a work in progress several days back. The painting is fairly large, 22" x 28", and I'm pretty happy with the results. Getting used to the acrylics by painting and painting and painting.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Chroma Atelier Interactive Acrylics

I've been working with the acrylics now for about a week and a half, and doing as much practice and research as I can. The above are several winter paintings I've finished with the Interactives this week. Blending is the hardest thing to adjust to with the acrylics, and I've found some really good information on techniques on Wet Canvas. Now is huge, enormous. And I've gone there a couple of times without any luck (high levels of confusion and frustation), but somehow I stumbled on a good resource this time around. It's the Information Kiosk under Acrylics, and inside the Kiosk is a nice list of "classrooms" that you can visit and read. All different topics. Here's the link to the Kiosk: I think it'll work. From there you can pick a class to visit. The one on blending techniques helped me enormously. Also the one on glazing.

Today I mixed "slow" which is a medium for slowing down the drying time of the paints, and also some Gel Pumice (it was a Golden sample I had gotten at an art store and saved), and the combination gave me extended time and some extra heft and tooth to the paint. I used my water sprayer some but not as much, mostly to spray the palette, not the painting. And I scrubbed when I wanted blending with a damp, clean, bristle brush and found the blending easier to manage.

For the small branches and trees I used some "Liquifier," another Chroma product for their Interactive line, and that not only thinned the paint, but it (somehow) kept it from turning transparent (as you'd expect.) I was able to get thin, solid lines with a rigger brush to add branches to the trees (bottom two paintings.)

And there's my update for the Interactives. I'm starting to get the hang of it. You really do have to stay with it, and get past the frustration at the beginning. Working WITH the paint is the trickiest part, but the mediums really help you out.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More on Chroma Interactives

This post continues to document and make comments on my experiments with Chroma Atelier Interactive Acrylics. I was able to manipulate the paint to do this small (5" x 7") landscape today, and start on a larger painting to see how big I could go. See below.

This one in a larger canvas, 22" x 28", and the second photo is a detail. I wanted to practice larger work, in preparation for a wall mural that I'll be working on in January. I think that once I have some of the technique figured out, I'm going to really like these paints. I have to undo the habit from oils of holding a paper towel in my left hand, for wiping my brush, and replace it with a spray bottle of water. As long as you keep spraying, you can keep blending. I'll work more on the sky on this one, to see what I can learn about manipulating the paint. But I was pretty happy working with these today (now that I am figuring out about the water spray.) I still need to figure out brushes, since the bristle brushes I'm using from oil work (my old ratty ones) get thick and gunky pretty quick, and I have to work to get them clean in the water.

More as I learn it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Interactive Acrylics Day Two

I am glad to report that using good watercolor paper makes a real difference in the results with the Atelier Interactives. They merge easily, and wet-in-wet works really well also. Bleeds, gradations and dry brush are also good possibilities. Now I'm eager to try a "real" watercolor with these. I think the only real adjustment will be that I'm used to a palette with dry paint that can be "awakened" with water. These, obviously, need to be used while they are fresh.

Winter scene with detail. Acrylic on cardboard coated with Gesso. I added a whole bunch of "Slow" medium to my colors (about ten drops to each 1/2" squeeze) , which made them able to rewet with the water sprayer. This gave me a lot more control. The mountains blended a little, but I hadn't sprayed them as I went. The sky blended better, with spraying right on the board. There is a yellow undercoat on the sky, which I let show through in spots, then added more white to the clouds. It worked nice for subtleties. The treetops are fan brush with somewhat dry paint.

We're getting there!

Report on Interactive Acrylics

Chroma Atelier Interactive Acrylics.
I have been shopping for acrylics, in anticipation of a mural I will be working on ( on four walls) in January, and decided to try the Interactives. These acrylics are advertised as being the most like watercolors, used very thin, and oils, very blendable. It sounded like the best of both worlds. So I got them yesterday, and after finishing and posting my painting for today AND cleaning my brushes, I got them out to play. The colors are strong and clean. The color chart was done on really poor watercolor paper, and I will try them on some decent paper, but I think they'll be fairly like watercolors. On this paper, thinned with a lot of water, they acted like watercolor, but lost their strength. Used more thickly, they felt a little "slimey" to me. I'll let you know what I think with better paper. I tried some wet on wet, and the colors will run together, but since it's a different medium, it really won't act exactly like watercolor.

On to a painting, using them like oils.
There are a lot of different mediums to use with this paint. The full line can be found on the web site, here:

I think once I play with them, and figure out what they do, I'll be able to do some blending. I could only blend when the paints were truly fresh, and was shy about using too much of any of the mediums. I did pop a little of the "Slow" into my blue mixes for the water, and that helped, but I probably didn't add enough, because I found it tricky. The painting is below.

I'm excited about the new paint, and have enjoyed it so far. Taking into account that this is my first play time with them, I am pleased with the results. I'll keep you posted.

End of Day One with Interactive Acrylics

The Color Sketch, beginning stages, above. I used a regular canvas panel from Ray Mar, and decided later that it would have been better had I followed the directions and used a Binder to cover the canvas first. I'll try that on the next canvas and let you know how it differs. The sketching was fun, paints were fresh and soft, and I could use water as if it were OMS for oils, and paint fairly transparently. The build up was nice, as the first layer would dry quickly and I could paint overtop with subtle variations of color in the same value. Color mixing was pretty much as I expected, although I missed a really deep color. The ultramarine wasn't as dark as I'm used to. (I'll have to order some darks.) I did miss being able to blend, and you are supposed to be able to, but I haven't figured out the mediums yet. I did try the "Unlocking" formula, and added it to my water mist bottle sprayer, but when I sprayed it on the area, all it did was take the color right down to canvas again. I guess that's what it's meant for. Now I know. I will try the "Slow" medium tomorrow, see if that makes blending doable.

This is the painting as I leave it tonight. I want to see tomorrow if the color will still soften after drying overnight. I'm still getting used to how the color piles on the palette act, and how long I can use them before they get dried out. What the mister will do. And whether I dare mist right on the painting. When I broke for dinner, the piles on the palette skinned up. My mixing areas would reconstitute somewhat, but there were little bits of dried color skin in them then. I could still peel the skin off the piles and use the color underneath. This paint is great (so far) for:

layering, scumbling, fresh clean color areas (no cross contamination), easy clean up, glazes

Hopefully, I can tell you more tomorrow.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ackerman Pump Pen

Ackerman Pump Pen, the nib is a Hunt 101.

The Ackerman Pump Pen, a wonderful new toy! This is a very versatile pen, and can be fitted with a whole bunch of different art nibs. I bought the Gen 3, and this one has a Hunt 101 nib in it. It is a NOT fussy pen, and is supposed to accept all types of ink, acrylic, gouache, watercolor. Right now I have Noodlers Ink in it, and it works beautifully. I haven't exactly figured out the pump yet, (you can see the little oval pump in the barrel above) but what a fine new toy! Here's a portion of a little piece I played with while watching TV the other night:
It gives a very fine line, nice for hatching, but with a little pressure, you can also get a stronger line, and with pressure you can vary them in the same line. You can, of course, change the nib out any time. I know you can get these nibs in most fine art stores, or order various separtae nibs from Ackerman's. I tried writing with it, and that works just fine.
And here's the link, if you want to check it out:

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