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View Full Version : Help! Oil Painter Frustrated with Acrylics


CaishaRose
10-21-2004, 03:43 PM
Hello, everybody.

Years ago, I started painting with acrylics, but in high school, I switched to oils and have been painting exclusively in oils for about six years now, except for a few small acrylic pieces and some decorative painting.

Recently I finished off my portfolio for art school and decided to take a break from oils and mess around with some acrylics for a change of pace. The problem is, I started things yesterday and I'm already frustrated. I thought I'd post my work so far and see if I could get any advice.

Since most of the acrylics I've been using in my side projects through the past few years have been cheap, fluid craft acrylics, I had to pick up some new Liquitex paints. I tried to pick out what I've usually found essential when I use oils or comparable colors, though I'm aware there are vast differences in the properties of the two types of paints. Here's what I'm using:

Titanium White
Cadmium Red Medium Hue
Burnt Sienna
Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue
French Ultramarine
Pthalo Green
Prussian Blue
Hooker's Green Hue Permanent
Ivory Black (sparingly)
And an old tube of Reeves Violet


Here's what I've got so far:

12"x16" on stretched canvas (please excuse the bad photo):
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Oct-2004/49326-Alps_WIP.jpg

And here's the reference pic from the Reference Image Library:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Oct-2004/49326-Cattle_and_Alps.jpg

As you can, see I've had to adjust the image size and proportions a little. I think one of my major problems is the quick drying time of acrylics. I might pull out my old jar of Utrecht Gloss Gel to use as a meduim and retarder, but I think I need more help than that.

Any C&C, suggestions, and/or advice are welcome and appreciated! :D

damar
10-21-2004, 04:11 PM
Hi CRose! There is a similar thread going; "oil-painter-trying-acrylics". Since you didn't post any particular problems, you may find what you're looking for here. :)
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=224386

CaishaRose
10-21-2004, 05:07 PM
Hi CRose! There is a similar thread going; "oil-painter-trying-acrylics". Since you didn't post any particular problems, you may find what you're looking for here. :)
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=224386

Thanks, Damar. That's very helpful.

Hmm... Now if someone could tell me why I didn't see that thread in the first place, I'll be all set. :D

Charlie's Mum
10-21-2004, 05:07 PM
Could you be a little more specific re your problem CRose?
You see, for something part-way through it's not looking too bad, so it's difficult to suggest any remedy!!!!!!

Part completed paintings seldom look 'right' because they are just that, part-completed! :)

Quiet
10-21-2004, 05:19 PM
You should follow the link in my sig and join us for a painting a day! It's a great way to learn a new medium, and I can try to answer your questions, since I'm an acrylic painter, too.

Here's one suggestion for acrylics: once you've put down a mark on the surface, don't expect to work it any further. Give it a sec to dry, and then paint over top of it.

Cheers!

damar
10-21-2004, 05:37 PM
Thanks, Damar. That's very helpful.

Hmm... Now if someone could tell me why I didn't see that thread in the first place, I'll be all set. :D
LOL :D ...the WC Search Feature can turn up some cool stuff too. Your WIP looks like it's off to a good start; maybe just a tiny dip in confidence? Been there/done that. Sometimes I don't know how to tackle an area so I end up nit picking something else to avoid it. :evil: :) :) :)

MsLilypond
10-21-2004, 05:48 PM
I think your painting is beautiful thus far - I only have one suggestion - throw out that Reeves violet - (Reeves shouldn't be used by anyone over age 12) and get yourself a quindracone(it's spelled wrong, I know) magenta or rose, with that and the ultramarine and the pthalo blue you already have you'll get some beautiful purples.

CaishaRose
10-21-2004, 06:49 PM
Thanks, everyone. I appreciate the encouragement and advice.

Could you be a little more specific re your problem CRose?
You see, for something part-way through it's not looking too bad, so it's difficult to suggest any remedy!!!!!!

Part completed paintings seldom look 'right' because they are just that, part-completed!

My main problem, is simply making the switch from oils to acrylics. Mixing the colors is quite a change, but I'm starting to get the hang of it again. I forgot how fast acrylics dry, so blending has become a bit of a problem. I dug out my old Utrecht Gloss Gel... From what I remember, when I used to use it as a medium, it acted as a retarder. It's old, but should suffice until I can pick up something fresh.

You should follow the link in my sig and join us for a painting a day! It's a great way to learn a new medium, and I can try to answer your questions, since I'm an acrylic painter, too.

Here's one suggestion for acrylics: once you've put down a mark on the surface, don't expect to work it any further. Give it a sec to dry, and then paint over top of it.

Cheers!

Thanks. I've been thinking about joining in on that. It sounds pretty cool. At the moment, my life is a little hectic, but I'm going to see about joining in soon. ;)


LOL ...the WC Search Feature can turn up some cool stuff too. Your WIP looks like it's off to a good start; maybe just a tiny dip in confidence? Been there/done that. Sometimes I don't know how to tackle an area so I end up nit picking something else to avoid it.

Thanks. You're probably right. Confidence is what I need. It's just been so long since I've used acrylics... I just hafta dive right in.

I think your painting is beautiful thus far - I only have one suggestion - throw out that Reeves violet - (Reeves shouldn't be used by anyone over age 12) and get yourself a quindracone(it's spelled wrong, I know) magenta or rose, with that and the ultramarine and the pthalo blue you already have you'll get some beautiful purples.

LOL :p Okay. I picked it up because I was desperate for a violet color for an acrylic painting I was working on last year. I was digging through some old paints and found I had a half-used tube of Galleria Winsor Violet--that has to be better than the Reeves. Next time I'm paint shopping, I'll see about getting a quindracone magenta or rose.

Artguy29
10-21-2004, 07:35 PM
I guess it's too late for this, but your painting seems rather out of proportion. The mountains appear to be much farther back and less intense than what you have. Your plains also seem to be off somewhat. I think the green you used is much too dull for this painting.
The reason for you frustration may be because you are thinking more about the paint rather than the concept. Try to foucs your mind on the "elements of design" for a landscape as if it were an oil painting. That might help somewhat.
Don't take these comments the wrong way; the last thing I want to do is discourage you. Acrylics are hard to learn when coming from oils, but with a little practice and determination, you'll get the hang of it. I wish you the best of look in your entry to the world of acrylics :) !

Dave

HRH Goldie
10-21-2004, 08:10 PM
Looking at the photo you've posted it would seem that you are still wanting to retain the oil painting style/look.
I am sure you know but I shall say anyway in case anyone tuning in doesn't = acrylics can also be used in a watercolour fashion and let down to whatever strength you like with just plain water.
Of course you can mix both styles and that's why acrylics are worth getting to know. They can be your friend and ally and have a lot of positive advantages.
The best advice I can give - is go and play with them and try different thicknesses of paint and wash/glaze.
I have no doubt that you are on your way, it just takes a little readjustment of your painters mind :wink2: :clap:
Hope to see updates of how you're getting on and many more paintings in the future.
For what it's worth - I love burnt umber and wouldn't be without it. It can be mixed wonderfully well in tiny amounts with other colours to knock them back and to stop them being too garish. It also when mixed with water and let down has a lovely habit of granulating. This can be used to great advantage to add and suggest texture eg in painting sand or earth or bark.
Hope this helps a little and gives you a nudge in the right direction.
I'll be keeping an eye out for more of your posts to see how you're getting on.
Good luck. :wave:

Christine

MsLilypond
10-21-2004, 09:10 PM
has[/i] to be better than the Reeves. Next time I'm paint shopping, I'll see about getting a quindracone magenta or rose.


Yes, Galleria is much much much better than Reeves can ever dream of being,
I mostly use artist grade liquitex or WN Finity, but I have a few tubes of Galleria's & Liquitex Basics for practice runs and just mucking about with.

JamieWG
10-21-2004, 10:59 PM
Hiya, CR! :wave: So nice to see you here.

Christine makes a great point about the versatility of acrylic. I had the same trouble with wanting them to behave with oils, and then (this was some time ago....maybe years....) somebody here said, "Just let acrylics be acrylics. Don't try to make them be oils." Well, that changed everything for me. I started experimenting with their versatility to discover the qualities I liked best about working with them, and then worked with them in that way. For instance, for 25 years I'd only used acrylics on canvas! As soon as I used them on paper for the first time, I immediately knew that was the way I liked them best.

Have fun with them and do lots of experimenting. I know how much you love creative challenges, so I can't wait to see where they take you. It'll be an interesting journey.

Jamie