View Full Version : Question - Acrylic or Watercolor?

06-02-2001, 05:28 PM
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This is a painting I did about 5 or 6 years ago on arches watercolor paper with acrylics. However it was done in the same manner as a regular watercolor....all a buildup of thin transparent washes. My questions is is this classified as an acrylic painting or a watercolor?
I used to paint in this manner quite a bit and would like to take it up again soon so I was wondering where to post, here or in acrylics.


06-02-2001, 05:36 PM
Darrell, I don't know about here at wetc but I have a friend who tutors in this technique and she sells all her paintings as watercolours.
Your painting is beautiful!
Lulu http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

06-02-2001, 06:17 PM
Wow!! That's gorgeous, Darrell!!

At a show I helped with a few years ago, the judges wanted all the acrylic paintings framed with glass to go into the wc category, and the ones without glass, into the acrylic category. Usually paper mediums require glass...

I don't know if all areas are the same though, or if the rules have been more or less defined since then.

Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.
Stella Adler

06-02-2001, 08:50 PM

While this piece is absolutely gorgeous, it's still made with acrylic paint, no matter what the application was http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/frown.gif . I'd vote it still belongs in the acrylic forum.

I do like it very much though http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif . It's very beautiful.

"Baby, keep smilin', you know the sun is shinin'" Lou Bega

06-02-2001, 11:21 PM
WOW. This stops me in my tracks. I like this totally, Darrell http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif.

But this is a great question. OK. I have a book called SPLASH 5 Best of Watercolor. These SPLASH books (published by North Light) are standards in recent watercolor book have to haves. I looked briefly through my book, and on pgs 103 and 104 are two "watercolors". On both of them, the artists state "I used acrylic paints, transparently" and "I use Golden fluid acrylics". I'm certain there can be arguments to the contrary. But anyway, North Light has spoken.... http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

06-03-2001, 02:48 AM
one more vote for acrylic


"LiFe is ShoRt, ArT is LonG" ;-)

06-03-2001, 03:28 AM
Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful painting with us. When I was in college I tried painting on wet canvas with diluted acrylics which turned out to look like watercolors. I still have one of the paintings that I did that I enjoy. I now paint mostly with watercolor on paper and some of my wet on wet techniques look like the diluted acrylics on canvas. In some shows that accept all water media it doesn't matter whether you paint in acrylic, gouche, casseine, watercolor or etc. Our class just recently tried egg tempera. They are all interesting techniques. Keep up the good work! Wilda

06-03-2001, 07:01 AM
Fabulous painting! And a good question. I would have thought it would still be classified as an acrylic painting, but, many books about watercolor seem to include acrylics as well if used transparently. Then there's the question of watercolor pencils...I just think it's easier to classify by medium rather than technique, to keep it simple.

Sister Mary
06-03-2001, 11:46 AM
They are both watermedia. Ask the moderators where they want you to put it. I love this Darrell. Very nice work!

06-03-2001, 01:38 PM
Actually, it seems this thread should belong in debates...LOL.

There would be no reason to have a seperate acrylic forum if we grouped it together into "watermedia". While acrylics are a water-based media, they are still a far cry different than watercolors and thus should be in their own forum.

"Baby, keep smilin', you know the sun is shinin'" Lou Bega

06-03-2001, 01:49 PM
OK... this matter is being discussed and we will get back to y'all about it soon. Good question, but personally I think "watermedia" for the forum works well. I understand Ivys reasoning but can see two good sides to the issue here. Hang in there buds... http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

Darrell..this painting is so good! Makes me want to try that technique too.. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif


[This message has been edited by oleCC (edited June 03, 2001).]

06-03-2001, 02:51 PM
Thanks for all your helpful feedback everyone http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif
I sure didn't want to stir up any controversey here....it just seemed to me that the base composition of the medium in this case was the smallest and least important aspect of the techniques of flowing thin layers of pigment onto paper which is the hallmark of watercolor painting. I have often, and in this painting also, used the 2 mediums together. The acrylic washes under the watercolor washes....frisket can be used over acrylic washes without lifting the color...later traditional watercolor can be used where scrubbing or lifting is desired. Where would these paintings be posted at WC?

I think a watermedia forum would be a good thing at WC.

I hope I haven't upset the boat here with my questions....was not my intention.


06-03-2001, 03:06 PM
Hi Darrell! Love your beautiful painting!

For the question of where to put it... acrylics are permanent when painted...and you can paint over them without lifting previous areas...they retain their character..no matter the technique you use with them or the surface you paint on.

Transparent watercolors also retain their character...although some are more difficult to "lift" than others. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif So we all know the two are not the same. In juried competitions, acrylics usually have a separate category from watercolors....but I have seen 'watermedia' as one category, and both watercolors and acrylics and other watermedia was included in it. That depends on the show!

Here at WetCanvas...we are quite flexible! You could easily post this in acrylics...to show how to use that media as a transparent watercolor technique or,

You could post it in the watercolor forum, but do label it as an acrylic used "like" transparent watercolor. If you use both in the same painting...it would be 'watermedia mixed' and could still go in either category!

Just my humble opinion....carly

"Everything is not art and Art is not everything, but it comes close."....carly

06-03-2001, 09:05 PM
Darrell I really like this piece whatever the verdict is.
I think if it is on paper and under glass it is like a watercolour. If it is on canvas ,acrylic.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif HAPPY BIRTHDAY http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

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"Imagination makes you see all sorts of things." Georgia O'Keeffe

[This message has been edited by leaflin (edited June 03, 2001).]

06-03-2001, 09:57 PM
Darrell, to me watercolour is watercolour, and acrylic is acrylic, but that doesn't take away from your picture, its great as per usual.

Every child is an artist, The problem is to remain an artist when he grows up,----Pablo Ruizy Picasso.

06-04-2001, 03:27 AM
Both are watercoulours in effect as they are thinned by the addition of water.Their drying proceses are different as their end result shows. Acrylics can be painted on just about anything from paper to concrete and remain flexible and stable, non so with Watercolour as we know it. Glass as a protection is prefered for watercolour while I wouldnt like to try and wash a dirty watercolour with soapy water as you can with acrylic whether done in the watercolour or oil colour fashion ie thick.For me its an Acrylic and that is how I would name it.
Billyg http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif ( Even Millionaires paint in Acrylic). http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/evilgrin.gif

06-14-2001, 04:37 PM
Really a nice painting ...I will let the experts determine where it goes. Great job.