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lynn_cyr
09-10-2003, 01:32 PM
Hi all!

I'm usually in the Watercolor forum, but lately I've been playing a bit with Pastels, and am now interested in trying out Acrylics. I hope you can answer a few of my "beginner" questions:

1) Paint: What's the best brand to use? I'm interested in the thicker paint applications (like the look of Oils, I think this might be called "Impasto" style?). I hear Galleria is the best, would you agree?

2) Colors? In Watercolors, you can get by with a very minimal palette (I use anywhere from 3-6 different colors). Does the same apply to Acrylics? If so, I'm assuming the same colors could be used (i.e, if my WC palette consists of French Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson, etc... should I stick with the same ones in Acrylic?)

3) Brushes? The quality of your brushes is key in Watercolors. Is this the same for Acrylics? Or can I use any cheap old brush?

4) Support? I'm not sure what the difference is between all those supports... canvas, stretched canvas, masonite, gesso, etc... does it matter for a beginner? What would you suggest I start with?

Thank you all so much! I'm just interested in playing around a bit, but want to get the best equipment I can afford...

Lynn :)

MsLilypond
09-10-2003, 03:11 PM
I usually use Golden or Liquitex, Galleria is good, I don't know if I'd call it the best.
make sure you get the heavy bodied not fluid acrylics in order to do the impasto style you like.

You can use a limited palette, you'll just have to mix to get a larger variety of colors, get lots of baby food jars, so you can save the excess paint.

Brushes - you'll want decent quality, I don't go for 'great' quality brushes for my acrylics because I tend to be a little hard on my brushes when I'm painting in acrylics, but you'll want good enough quality so that bristles don't come out.

supports, 1st gesso isn't a support it's a primer, it's what you put on raw canvas or masonite or wood etc. so that the paints don't sink into the supports, since you are just starting out, I'd just go buy pre-stretched pre-primered canvases, then if you like acrylics, buy a roll of canvas and stretch it yourself, it ends up way cheaper that way. I have done paintins on masonite, and hardboard and luann. Those are good supports too.

lynn_cyr
09-10-2003, 03:30 PM
Thanks for the quick reply! :) This is exactly the kind of info I was looking for!

As for the Galleria paints, maybe I was wrong... I was thinking of the Winsor-Newton paint. I saw it at my local art supply store... now that I think of it, it might have been called "Infinity"? But I'll take a look at your paint suggestions, too.

Thanks again!! The next time I go shopping, I'll be sure to pick up a few supplies :)

Lynn

Keith Russell
09-10-2003, 04:25 PM
1) Paint: What's the best brand to use? I'm interested in the thicker paint applications (like the look of Oils, I think this might be called "Impasto" style?). I hear Galleria is the best, would you agree?

Never tried it. I love paint, and use three different systems. (The 'basic' rule is: experiment, find what you like. Just because someone else (or even a majority of 'someone elses') likes something, doesn't mean that you will like it--and when it comes to your art, you are all that matters.

I use Golden Airbrush Colours (about thirty 'flavours'), Liquitex Jar colours (about twenty 'flavours'), Windsor and Newton Finity tube colours (I have about fifteen various colours, so far). I also use Liquitex and Golden media, including the gel media, coarse pumice media, and heavy body gel.

2) Colors? In Watercolors, you can get by with a very minimal palette (I use anywhere from 3-6 different colors). Does the same apply to Acrylics? If so, I'm assuming the same colors could be used (i.e, if my WC palette consists of French Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson, etc... should I stick with the same ones in Acrylic?)

Obviously, I'm a paint (and colour) junkie. I could probably 'get by' with a good set of primaries, secondaries, and white. But, I don't have to, so why should I?

3) Brushes? The quality of your brushes is key in Watercolors. Is this the same for Acrylics? Or can I use any cheap old brush?

Absolutely do not use any cheap ol' brush. I have six top of the line airbrushes, a dozen 'middle level' airbrushes, and about fifteen 'low end' airbrushes (which I use for thicker paints, T-Shirts, and for spraying media). Then, I have over fifty 'bristle' brushes, all 'pro' grade, from 1" wide, down to sevenx0. Acrylic paints are terribly hard on brushes, so the better your brush is, and the better care you take with them, the better they'll work, and the longer they'll last.

4) Support? I'm not sure what the difference is between all those supports... canvas, stretched canvas, masonite, gesso, etc... does it matter for a beginner? What would you suggest I start with?

Why not try Bristol board, illustration board, and pre-stretched and prepared canvas? (Stretch your own canvas, only after you're sure canvas is right for you.) Only then, you can make a reasonable decision as to which you prefer...I use acid-free, double-thick, hot pressed illustration baord...

K

talkingbanana
09-10-2003, 04:28 PM
I just bought five tubes of W/N Finity and absolutely LOVE them, but they're expensive and if you're just starting out in acrylics you might want to buy a couple tubes of a decent student grade (Daler Rowney System 3 or Liquitex Basics) first, just to get the hang of painting, especially since acrylics impasto-style are a lot different from watercolors.

Colors? If you're going with the W/N Finity, I recommend the palette I have: Perm. Alizarin Crimson, Pyrrole Red, Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Blue Green Shade, and Azo Yellow Medium. Oh, and don't forget Titanium White! The student grades still satisfy my needs for white, at least until I finish my System 3 tube. The first thing I'd add would be a cool yellow - probably cad. yellow lemon. The only reason I don't have one yet is because I don't use a whole lot of cool yellow for most of what I paint.

I'm not using the cadmiums right now because I love getting my fingers in the paint and last time I mentioned using cad hues to finger paint and left out the "hue" part my thread turned into a lecture on the health risks of getting cadmium paints all over you. Also, I love my pyrrole red (it's the same pigment as W/N's winsor red in watercolor) as a medium red, and the alizarin crimson covers the cool reds, and I've never needed any warm reds.

Stretching canvas is about as fun, as exciting, and as worthy of your time as doing chemistry homework or writing English essays in your spare time. In other words, it's painful. Don't bother with it unless you want to paint on weird sizes - for the basic sizes (i.e. 8x10", 16x20", 18x24"), buying the store brand prestretched cavnas is cheaper than buying stretcher bars from the same place.

For a beginner, start on paper. Strathmore 140 lb watercolor paper actually comes in useful for something - acrylics! Use just about any crappy watercolor paper you have lying around. You can use the good stuff, too, but if you use cheap, you won't feel as bad about using it, and that's exactly what you need to do to learn. Your first paintings won't be masterpieces anyway, so don't bother with all the archival, top-notch stuff. If you really want to use something rigid, setting it up on an easel or whatnot, try the canvas panels/boards. They're cheaper than the stretched canvas and a good place to start.

Brushes? You know those multi-packs that sell for $4-5 dollars? I still use them. I love the Golden Talkon bristles. You can use natural or synthetic; I prefer synthetics, especially when you're using thick paint - the natural bristles tend to hold too much water (at least, I think that's what it is). You want something reasonably stuff, none of those soft red sables you use for watercolors. Don't go super cheap, but don't go high end either, at least to start. It'll take some getting used to to avoid ruining brushes, ruining them is pretty easy to do. :angel:

Rounds may be better for watercolors, but you generally want flats in acrylics; 6s and 12s tend to be the most useful for me, as well as a 1/2" and a 1".

Have fun!

lynn_cyr
09-10-2003, 04:59 PM
Gosh, you guys are terrific! Keith, thanks so much for your insight! And TalkingBanana, thanks for sharing your tools of the trade. I think I'll stick to a basic palette like I have for w/c (I normally use 2 reds, 2 blues, 2 yellows).

Thanks!! :)
Lynn

Keith Russell
09-10-2003, 05:17 PM
Lynn, right!

Whatever works for you!

Enjoy!

K

MsLilypond
09-11-2003, 12:20 PM
If you do decide to paint on the watercolor paper, make sure you tape it down like you would for watercolors, warping, I hate warping.

Mikey
09-11-2003, 01:37 PM
I use Golden acrylic paints, because of the high pigment loading. However, Finity and even more so Galleria will be easier and more consistent to work. Galleria should be the best bet for complete beginners with acrylic. Some colours like Pthalo Blue are so strong that the intensity of pigment doesn't matter. With Ultramarine and Cerulean Blue I think it does since they have less tinting power. Since we tend to use a lot of white paint I bought some cheap Titanium White, but found all the advantage of the Golden high pigment loading was lost when mixing with it. I use Zinc White for the most intense colours.

Andrew
09-11-2003, 04:35 PM
If you want to paint acrylics impasto, I advise would be to go with either Golden or Utrecht. Their tube and jar paints are very high in pigment load and lower in water content. Galleria are a middling paint and lie between low pigment load student grade (liquidex Basics) and the high load professional paints.

You will get more coverage and color intensity for your dollar. And since both these brands have such high pigment concentrations you have less color shift as the paint dries (with the exception of naturally deceiving pigments like cerulean blue)

Andrew

lynn_cyr
09-11-2003, 10:18 PM
Thank you, wonderful people! :)

It sounds like Golden is the all-around favorite, so I'll likely go with that. Not sure if I'll use paper as my support, as I think I'd prefer something more canvas-like, but it's good to know I can.

You guys have been great, thanks again for the great suggestions! :)

Lynn

Phoenix Rising
09-11-2003, 10:40 PM
I only have one tube of golden paint(cobalt blue), and I absolutely love it. Winsor and Newton Finity is a very close second. Infact, they may be tied. I also use liquitex, and Grumbacher(both their acadamy and Finest Line). With the grumbacher colours, the Finest Line is definately the best.

Bubba's Mama
09-12-2003, 06:19 AM
Lyn, I too have just started in Acrylics, other than the dec painting I have done for years. Totally different from watercolor - but... I have discovered canvas paper - comes in a pad, has the texture of canvas, and has the advantage of being cheap, so when I ruin it, I just turn it over and paint on the other side.

I also like the canvas boards from Fredrix - needs no other support, and has great texture. I have a tendency to slap the paint on, and have a multi variety of paints, but have a tendency to go to my Golden Heavy Body, Dan Smith, or Liquitex paints before I go to the WN or DaVinci's I bought. Just like their texture and body better for the impasto than the others.

And the Golden mediums are fantastic for a beginner.

If you are anywhere near Harvard Sq. in Cambridge, take yourself into the Coop - usta be a great art section there, with really good prices, and didn't need a student ID to buy! (Just a thought!!)

Hope this helps. Just thoughts from a beginner, too.

Susan

Mikey
09-12-2003, 04:49 PM
Talking about brushes for acrylics, I read somewhere that they wear quickly if you use natural hair. I find this happens when I use board like MDF. My flat hogs become filberts in no time. I bought some long flat hog brushes from our Pound Shop, six all different sizes for a Pound. They wear even more quickly, at that price who cares. They paint very well. My only problem with that is I suspect they may be made by prisoners of conscience under slave labour conditions. I use the softer synthetic brushes made for acrylics as well, but only already worn sable.

Mikey

Lady Carol
09-12-2003, 06:39 PM
Hey Lynn,

Good to see you over here as well. I have been lurking here for a few months now and I quite like the acrylic adventure for some of my paintings. My only suggestion is read the sticky at the top of the forum and make your decisions from there. Try lots of differents supports as well and you may prefer one type over another. Have a go at glazing and impasto, knife and bristle brushes. And most of all just have fun.

shirleyq
09-13-2003, 01:55 PM
Originally posted by MsLilypond
If you do decide to paint on the watercolor paper, make sure you tape it down like you would for watercolors, warping, I hate warping.

I read somewhere that if you gesso your watercolor paper before applying acrylic paint that it does not warp. Haven't tried it yet.

D_Sweet
09-13-2003, 03:21 PM
Hi Lynn,
When I started into Acrylic three years ago, I stuck with my W/C palette, now I've expanded a little. White is the one color you'll
use most for getting into the tints and lighter tones of you colors. Also don't for get matte medium, you'll need it when you want to create a glaze. Acrylic doesn't do too well when you thin it out too much with water.

Einion
09-13-2003, 06:27 PM
Hi Lynn, to take each of your questions in order:

Originally posted by lynn_cyr
Paint: What's the best brand to use?
No one answer to this I'm afraid as I'm sure is no surprise. I'd do a search in this forum for 'brand' and 'favourite', you'll get at least a half-dozen threads to look over. You might like to also check out the product review section. For impasto work the three thickest brands commonly available from the tube are Utrecht, Winsor & Newton Finity and Golden Heavy Body in approximately that order.

Originally posted by lynn_cyr
I hear Galleria is the best, would you agree?
Definitely not :) This is a single-price range with a flowing consistency, it's not bad paint but not suitable for impasto work as it comes out of the tube, so if you don't want to have to mix with something to increase thickness all the time I wouldn't suggest it. Because it is a single-price range it also doesn't have any of the expensive pigments so it has hues for Cobalt Blue and Cadmium Red for example, so you'll often have much lower opacity too, in addition to the colour not being quite what it should be.

If any paint is still not quite as thick as you would like (some colours can be thicker than others and storage conditions can make the consistency vary) there are a number of mediums you can use to increase the viscosity. The two best are probably Golden's Short Rheology Thickener and Liquitex's Liquithick Gel Thickener which chemically thicken paint without increasing transparency as impasto mediums and similar products do.

Originally posted by lynn_cyr
Colors? In Watercolors, you can get by with a very minimal palette (I use anywhere from 3-6 different colors). Does the same apply to Acrylics?
Yes, you can get by with a very limited palette in any medium. You can paint very comprehensively with only four colours: white and three primaries. The best primaries are cyan, magenta and the right yellow, these will give a much wider range of colour than blue, red and yellow can but the appropriate colours in each range are transparent so they're not quite as versatile in every respect unfortunately. If you want to give these a try when you pick a given brand I can give you more specific recommendations.

FWIW I would definitely consider moving away from Alizarin Crimson, in watercolours especially, since it isn't lightfast enough if you want your work to last. You're very unlikely to find this colour in acrylics for this reason.

Originally posted by lynn_cyr
Brushes? The quality of your brushes is key in Watercolors. Is this the same for Acrylics? Or can I use any cheap old brush?
Up to a point brushes are important, but it depends on exactly what you want to do and how you want the finished result to look. I have a large set of Kolinskys for acrylics because I paint smoothly and aim for no brushmarks usually, but you can also paint with bristle brushes, hog and synthetic, when painting thickly with visible brushmarks - I recently bought some dirt-cheap nylon kids' brushes for really exaggerated bristle marks and they're working fine, although I don't expect them to last very long :D

There was a thread here about three weeks ago with brush preferences you might like to look back for.

Originally posted by lynn_cyr
Support? I'm not sure what the difference is between all those supports... canvas, stretched canvas, masonite, gesso, etc... does it matter for a beginner? What would you suggest I start with?
Acrylics are very versatile in terms of support as you've heard. You can even paint on metals and plastics given the correct preparation. If you're interested in experimentation I would try canvas at some point as the weave texture is very interesting to paint on and you might find you like it a lot. I would suggest canvas boards to begin with because the slight 'give' of stretched canvas can be offputting if you're not used to it. My favourite supports are stretched paper and primed hardboard, in no particular order. They are very different to paint on so I would try both, you might like each for slightly different effects.

As with watercolour good paper is recommended if you want your work to last, but for experimenting with the medium you can really paint on any ol' paper. Hardboard (Masonite for example) with a couple of coats of acrylic 'gesso' on it, will provide a stiff, hard-wearing support that many professional painters use also. There are some previous threads on preparation options for this too.


Originally posted by Shirley Quaid
If you do decide to paint on the watercolor paper, make sure you tape it down like you would for watercolors, warping, I hate warping.
Hi Shirley, do you mean stretching? That's the best way to prevent warping.

Originally posted by Shirley Quaid
I read somewhere that if you gesso your watercolor paper before applying acrylic paint that it does not warp. Haven't tried it yet.
Not really, it will stiffen most papers of course but it can't totally prevent warping if you use enough water.

Einion

lynn_cyr
09-14-2003, 08:51 AM
Excellent... more great responses! Thanks everyone, and I'm sure this will answer many questions for other beginners like me! :)

I really can't wait to try it out! This should be lots of fun - thanks again!

Lynn

Mikey
09-14-2003, 04:36 PM
Hi Shirely,

Yes, I have primed 140lb Bockingford paper with acrylic gesso. I didn't need to tape it onto a board either. I did try priming another type of paper made for print, but that didn't work at all. It look like a corregated roof.

Mikey

lynn_cyr
09-15-2003, 10:11 AM
I got the stuff!! :)

Okay, I took a trip to my local art/craft store yesterday (I get a decent discount there too, since I work there a few hours per week! :D) and picked up a few things. Since we don't carry Golden paints, I was going to get a few tubes of the Finity paints. They were large tubes, and I wasn't sure if I wanted something quite that big for starting out, so I looked and saw we had a starter kit! Plus, I had a 40% off coupon good for one item, so that was a good savings!

It's a 12 color set of Finity paints, with 2 yellows, 2 reds, 2 blues, 2 greens, 2 earths, black, and white. I think this should suit me just fine for now. I also got a couple of Fredrix canvases to play with. I already have a few brushes that I think I can use, and a Stay-Wet palette that I used to use for my watercolors :)

Now I can't wait to start!! Hmm... what shall I paint... ;)

Thank you so much everyone for the great advice!!

Lynn