View Full Version : 1) Hello and 2) What am I doing wrong?

09-30-2011, 05:24 PM
Hello all,

i've been on this site for a couple of years now, over in the oils section, but have now decided to give acrylics a go. I love oils but I work fast and I love the idea of using quick-drying acrylics.

I've started painting some grass as I would have approached it with oils: blocked the area in with black and burnt umber, then started building the grass up dark to light. The problem I have is that the green seems to be sinking into the background and turning virtually black. Is this a transparency issue with acrylic? I've used this method several times with oils and it works a treat.



Selahs art
09-30-2011, 05:36 PM
I think you have to wait for the black to dry and then add the green, that is how I would have tried it.

09-30-2011, 05:56 PM
Hi Perel, yes that's how I tackled it, the ground colour has had more than a week to dry but the green still isn't standing out.

Selahs art
09-30-2011, 06:07 PM
What green have you used?

some greens does that I usually mix my own greens.

Charlie's Mum
09-30-2011, 06:30 PM
Acrylics are basically transparent - even though some are supposed to be very opaque! ..... if you check the labels the opaque ones will usually have an element of white in the mix ....... so, getting lighter add a titanium white or buff or opaque lighter colour to give it some 'body'. Sometimes a stroke painted in white first, then the green works.:)

09-30-2011, 07:09 PM
Maureen is right.. I only block in my colors on a white gessoed canvas, and work up from there. If there is a light color covering dark sometimes to prevent many coats it cover easier if you use a titanium white before adding your lighter color. stands out more.
I do mix alot of my greens with yellows and browns for different tones..
Naples yellow, raw sienna, burnt umber, cad red,ivory black, titanium white all are opague and really helps give you different tones of green.
My favorite greens are Hookers green and Sap green, even though they are mostly translucent I have no problem covering the canvas!!
Experiment with them and see how they work, I never use the greens right out of the tube, learned that a long time ago!!

09-30-2011, 11:46 PM
If I rank my areas as darkest darks, dark, medium, light and highlights I paint

* darkest darks
* where it'll eventually end up as a dark I put on a medium
* mediums
* lights and highlights
* glaze and work back over the mediums to get them back to dark/darkest
* final highlights

The exception I'm making now is noses where I need a lot of dark/mids/lights in a small area. I'm trying to work them up from darkest darks, to lights and adding in then progressive mids/darks/highlights/unifying glaze.

I don't know that any of this is RIGHT way to work (I've got a grand total of 6 paintings under my belt, 7th nearing finish) but it's what works for me to get the effect I want anyway. It's easier to darken a medium or light area than lighten an over-dark area. I know you can overlay it with white and then paint on but it's hard when you're not working with clean/hardish edges. (ie fur, where you've got a gajillion small hairs here there and everywhere!)

10-01-2011, 04:18 AM
Thanks for that folks! Just goes to show that you should do some research doesn't it? I assumed that acrylic was opaque, as with most oils. It's defeating the object of the change from oils somewhat as the main reason was to speed the process up. Thanks again for the info though :)

Red 9
10-01-2011, 05:49 AM
Try chromium oxide green, it's the most opaque green and it's pretty easy to work with.

10-01-2011, 06:43 AM
I'll second chromium oxide green. My newest fav. :)

10-01-2011, 07:05 AM
I've got a fairly limited range of colours at the moment but I'll invest in some of the suggested ones shortly. I'm going to have to adjust my methods accordingly though as I tend to work alla prima and transparent media don't lend themselves to that very well.

10-01-2011, 07:31 AM
I work with a black, t white, cad red med, yellow oxide, ultramarine blue and chromium green in heavy body. Other than the blue they are relatively opaque. Perhaps a medium like paste might also be useful for an alla prima style? Golden says their paste can increase opacity (http://www.goldenpaints.com/products/medsadds/molding/molding.php) when mixed with the paint? I don't paint that style yet, so I can't comment from experience unfortunately but might be worth a look?