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kiwicockatoo
10-09-2001, 11:51 PM
Read a post earlier by vallarta, in regards to underpainting, that it is ok to paint with oils on top of acrylics. I've never heard of this before. My question is, how thick can the acrylics be? The reason I'm asking is because I used to paint in acrylics, using complimentary colors as an underpainting, and leave some of the color showing through (eg I would underpaint flesh in blue, sky in red...), but would run into trouble with the acrylics "sticking" after a point. I would layer dry scrumbles on top but eventually the paint would refuse to stick. A prof told me to use thicker layers on the bottom, gradually thinning with medium or water. Ok, so this isn't and acrylics question. I just thought it would suit my style to develope a painting to a certain point in acrylics, and then start layering with oils, which would also give me control over blending, which is hard with acrylics. I guess what I'm looking for is underlayers that dry fast, with detail and blending added on top. Does this make any sense?

One more quick question - does oilpaint warp your surface the way acrylics does? I was taught to paint on illustration board, and my profs always instructed me to paint the back of the board with as many layers of paint as required to offset the warp.

Starting to wonder if my profs knew what the heck they were talking about......

Thanks!
Brenda

Verdaccio
10-10-2001, 12:47 AM
Brenda:

Yes, you can paint in oils over acrylic, but not the other way around. Just make sure the acrylics are complely dry before starting into the oils.

vallarta
10-10-2001, 06:04 PM
What your talking about is acrylic glazes. The layering of acrylics over acrylics. This can be done with thin mixes of acrylics using water or water and acrylic glaze. I have always found it hard to get just what I wanted from acrylic glazes. But, perhaps I never worked hard enough to learn how.

I'm an old oil painter who got "hooked" on acylics as a shortcut. I find them excellent for underpainting and setting up tonal and color relationships. Then when I have a reasonably well constructed painting I found it easier to go to oils for overpainting, glazing, and scumbling.

One real advantage of acrylics as a first coat is that you can whipe out your mistakes a lot easier then with oils. Just paint over the mistake with gesso and let it dry and then paint with color acrylic over the white "patch". Of course you can also use a cloth to whipe out sections for shading etc...the trick is to keep the paint wet until your ready to go to the next stage.
vallarta

kiwicockatoo
10-10-2001, 07:56 PM
Thanks to both of you. I think I will go out and buy my oils - I'm not so intimidated now.

Thank you!

Leslie M. Ficcaglia
10-10-2001, 10:57 PM
Not to be a wet blanket here, but my understanding is that it is not a good idea to use oils over acrylics. There was an article several years ago about this issue in one of the artists' magazines, and I noticed it because I have a friend who is a wonderful artist and who employs this technique, while I had been wondering about the safety of the practice. According to the article, acrylic gesso is especially formulated to allow the oil overpainting to bond with it; regular acrylics are not. So the danger is that the oils will eventually separate from the acrylic undercoating, leaving the artist or the collector with a deteriorating work. I wish I could give you the reference for the article but I don't remember exactly when it appeared, or whether it was in American Artist or The Artist's Magazine.

sarkana
10-11-2001, 09:35 AM
technically, painting with oils over acrylics is not a good idea. acrylics are an emulsion and oils are not, and using oils on top of an emulsion is not (strictly speaking) archival. i may not be saying this right, but hopefully you get my drift.

however, in practice, i know plenty of people who do it. i myself paint over acrylic gesso on wood which is also not the most proper thing to do. i just can't stand waiting for the lead primer to cure!

anyway, i'd advise you to keep your acrylic painting thin. if you're having adhesion problems, try sanding your painting lightly. acrylic gesso usually has a lot of absorbent stuff in it like chalk so it sucks in the oil paint. even so, i give mine a light sanding before i start in with the oils.

many folks also have doubts about whether acrylics themselves are archival. pretty good cases can be made for and against their use. its a new technology, so only time will tell. i personally think they will be around much longer than we are!

Elisabeth
10-11-2001, 01:05 PM
There is a way to accomplish what you want and compromise. For my wildlife paintings, I use gray, white and black gesso...for the underpainting. So whether or not oils over acrylics are archieval or not (they really have not been around long enough to prove either way) It is generally agreed upon that oils over acrylic gesso is okay. Since I have no need for colors in the underpainting...the gessos work fine for me.

timelady
10-11-2001, 04:31 PM
I've been wanting to ask the same question but didn't, out of fear of a lecture. :)

For oil glazes: is it going to be more stable since I glaze with alkyd mediums such as Liquin or even this plain alkyd resin I was sold in a jar? (for binding marble dust) I'm guessing it would be because the alkyds are more plasticy like acrylic. Just a thought.

Tina.

kiwicockatoo
10-11-2001, 04:36 PM
Thanks everyone. I'm not too interested just yet in archival quality results, as I don't feel yet that I am an archival quality artist!

Just wanted to get my feet wet in oils, and I thought this would be a temporary solution for me. I keep reading the older posts however, and am so thankful for all the experience represented here.

Brenda

vallarta
10-11-2001, 07:19 PM
I've never had a bonding problem....but I dont use a pallet knife and apply thing glazes over the acrylics......
vallarta

timelady
10-13-2001, 02:03 PM
I'm SO excited to finally have found a copy of Mayer's "Artist's Handbook" (oft quoted here by other members) that I thought I'd throw in his comments on oils over acrylics. I've highlighted what I felt were the interesting, relevent bits in red.

Chapter 4: Acrylics
After commenting that acrylics should not be painted over oils and why, he ends with "Painting with oil colors over acrylic polymer primer or acrylic underpaintings is considered safe".

On the labelling of acrylic gesso:
Polymer primer (also called polymer gesso) is made of titanium white and perhaps inert pigment, dispersed in the same polymer vehicle as is contained in the colors, but compounded to a stiffer consistency"..."Some confusion has resulted from the unfortunate habit American manufacturers have of labeling polymer primer "gesso" in large type, for it is not really gesso at all and will not serve all the purposes of that material, being completely nonabsorbent, whereas true gesso has full absorbency."

He does state in both the Oil Painting and Acrylics chapters, however, that the effects of acrylic grounds and underpaintings has not had the test of time.

I loooove my new book. It's fab. :)
Tina.

Verdaccio
10-13-2001, 02:47 PM
Tina:

Realize that Mayer first published his books in 1948. They have been updated since then, but much of the info on the materials that were newer in 1948 - things like acrylic gesso, may need to be updated. Pure acrylic gesso is indeed fairly non-absorbent - which is why I get gesso with marble dust added - that makes it quite absorbent which is good for adhesion.

vallarta
10-13-2001, 04:17 PM
I say again putting oils over acrylics is no problem...but not the other way around.

I find oil glazes wonderful over acrylics. Today finished a portrait where I have up to 12 glazes of oil ( in some areas) over acrylics. I use thin glazes and gradually build up color.

I have never had a seperation problem...but of course I don't expect any of my stuff to last 500 yrs....DO YOU????

vallarta

Verdaccio
10-13-2001, 04:41 PM
Originally posted by vallarta
I have never had a seperation problem...but of course I don't expect any of my stuff to last 500 yrs....DO YOU????

vallarta

Um, yea....

ldallen
10-13-2001, 07:06 PM
:)

timelady
10-14-2001, 05:48 AM
Originally posted by Verdaccio
Tina:

Realize that Mayer first published his books in 1948. They have been updated since then, but much of the info on the materials that were newer in 1948 - things like acrylic gesso, may need to be updated. Pure acrylic gesso is indeed fairly non-absorbent - which is why I get gesso with marble dust added - that makes it quite absorbent which is good for adhesion.

Actually, I have the 5th revised and expanded edition which had a major revision in 1991 by Steven Sheehan who is listed on the title page.

I guess the point is that if we use regular acrylics off the shelf (which I'd guess many of us do) then we won't have a problem with the oils on top. :) :) :)

Tina.