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Old 09-10-2011, 07:46 PM
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Yellow Ogre Yellow Ogre is offline
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Making acrylic look more like oil

I love the look of oil, but I am married to the rapid dry convenience of acrylics. (I got started on an estate sale of 100+ tubes of mostly liquitex acrylic paint).

Does anyone want to share their tips on how to make acrylic look more like oil?

I build my paint up in layers. I avoid using water and I tend to overdo my brush stokes with brstle brushes as the strokes pull in as they dry.
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Old 09-10-2011, 08:02 PM
Aires Aires is offline
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Re: Making acrylic look more like oil

Could you explain what you see that identifies your painting as an acrylic rather than an oil? Perhaps because I began with oils and use much the same style and color mixtures, it is difficult to tell which painting has been done with acrylics from those done in oils. Others have said the same thing when preparing to display paintings in a gallery.
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Old 09-10-2011, 09:02 PM
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Re: Making acrylic look more like oil

Depending on what type of surface you paint upon and how thickly (or thinly) you work with acrylics, you may find that the paint has a rather unattractive plastic look to it once it dries. You can avoid that by using gloss mediums or glazing medium with your paints to give them a higher gloss when they dry. This will also tend to make the colors look much deeper and richer. You can also opt to give your painting an all-over final varnish coat with a gloss or satin finish product.

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Old 09-11-2011, 02:27 AM
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Wassie Wassie is offline
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Re: Making acrylic look more like oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aires
Could you explain what you see that identifies your painting as an acrylic rather than an oil? Perhaps because I began with oils and use much the same style and color mixtures, it is difficult to tell which painting has been done with acrylics from those done in oils. Others have said the same thing when preparing to display paintings in a gallery.

I've experienced the same thing. I have both oil and acrylic paintings I have done and cannot tell which they are unless I write on the back what the medium is. They both look the same to me and no one else has been able to tell the difference.
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:06 PM
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Re: Making acrylic look more like oil

Its all how you handle your brushstrokes with blending or just loose brushstrokes.
I use synthetic brushes and thin with water only to inky consistancy and build up my colors and blend without problems. I have no streaks from brush hairs or bristles and with it being thin its not globy and thick here and there unless thats the look you want.
its all a personal choice.
I use only Liquitex heavy body paints, feel free to check out my blog and view my paintings to see what I mean... or my postings to see my WIP's on my paintings too.
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Old 09-11-2011, 04:09 PM
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Re: Making acrylic look more like oil

This is a question students ask me a lot. I find the usual thing people notice different with acrylics vs oils is in the blending. Because of acrylic drying so fast a lot of people end up dry brushing quite a bit which you dont see as often with oils. The way that I avoid this is with the use of an airbrush. You can get an inexpensive set up for about $30. These airbrushes work with a can of air and are single action (which means in short they are not good actually spraying paint out of because of a lack of control). These little single action airbrushes are great to spray water out of to keep your paint wet as long as you need so that you have time to blend. I have kept parts of my paintings wet for 4 hours so that I could have everything blended just right. Normal spray bottles are not ideal for this because they spit out larger drops of water which pull up the wet paint.

I will only paint with liquitex basics which are fairly flat (and why I choose to paint with them). When I am finished with a piece I spray a high gloss sealer over it or even go over it with my oil mixing medium (liquin). When done you cant tell a difference between my oil paintings or my acrylics when viewing them in person.

I also build up a LOT of layers, I thin out my paints quite a bit with water to get that bit of transparency for many of my layers creating more depth. These layers really glow when I get my gloss finish on them. The way the light shows through is very similar to how it does with oils.


I like combining regular brush work with actual airbrushing (with paint, not just water) as well. This opens up even more options for getting nice smooth blending.

Here are a couple of time lapse videos I did this week. While I did paint with air brush for the later stages, you can see in the earlier parts of the paintings I am just airbrushing water to keep the paint wet so that I have time to blend:

http://youtu.be/vGb1TGB3N8I


http://youtu.be/idMgdDqpXxk

Keep in mind that the methods I am talking about here are just one way of several to do this. This is just they way I prefer
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:48 AM
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Re: Making acrylic look more like oil

I paint with both oil and acrylic and can't tell the difference so I always write on back which was used.
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aires
Could you explain what you see that identifies your painting as an acrylic rather than an oil?
QFE

This relates to something that I've brought up in numerous prior threads where the differences - if any - in the appearance of the two mediums has come up. What does tend to distinguish paintings done with the two mediums is how the paint was used, rather than just colouring or the gross appearance of the paint (e.g. the supposed "plastic" appearance of acrylics). In terms of the paint itself there is usually no difference of note, and with the finish equalised it is impossible to tell acrylic paint apart from oil paint.

This is why of course that acrylic paintings are regularly mistaken for oil paintings and that painters who work in both mediums sometimes can't tell the respective paintings apart

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Old 09-13-2011, 09:40 AM
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Re: Making acrylic look more like oil

I recently started painting with acrylic - (about 6 months ago). The method I was taught in the first workshop was really the same as the oil painting method I learned many years ago. The main difference was of course drying time. I could now do in a few hours what previously took weeks, because certain steps needed to completely dry. I varnish my finished work with Winsor-Newton Conserve Art gloss varnish and everyone assumes it is oil.

The steps:
1. Outline and under paint with a slightly warm near neutral.
2. "Stain" or "glaze" with deepest shade of the local hue.
3. "Fog" in a thin translucent layer of mid value local hue.
4. Establish darkest details - (opaque).
5. Establish the mid-value details - (opaque).
6. Place selected highlights and touches of compliments.
7. Finally a few select highest highlights and "jewels" of color.

A modest 11x14 can be done in a few hours (start to finish) if it is well planned. Using the same method in oils may take the same amount of painting time, but including the drying time will take a month!

Hope this helps.

Glade
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:05 AM
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Re: Making acrylic look more like oil

It would be easier to guarantee a more satifactory answer, if we were more aware of what aspects of acrylic painting you have concerns.

Bear in mind, that acrylic is acrylic, oils are oils, and watercolour is watercolour. Acrylic can be handled in much the same manner as watercolour or oils, but it is still acrylic.

That said, Glade basically describes my approach as well. I tend to establish a basic washy monochromatic three to five value pattern in the same neutral I used to establish my guidelines. And then work thin to thick, and dark to light. I use only water as my diluent as I work, and much of my blending is wet into wet, with some drybrush and scumbling. I do tend to use "muddied" water to do my mixes, which naturally tones down the chroma. The only way I can tell my acrylics from my oils before I "varnish" is that my acrylics are bit glossier. After varnish, they have to be marked.

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Old 09-15-2011, 11:38 AM
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Re: Making acrylic look more like oil

Glade, thanks for your tip about the varnish. I use a neutral gray underpainting technique right now (golden tube grays). Will migrate to a warmer mixed grays as my technique lines out.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:14 AM
bender2010 bender2010 is offline
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Re: Making acrylic look more like oil

This may be a closed subject by now, but check out John Myatt on YouTube. He's a British painter (and reformed forger - good story actually) who paints in the styles of the impressionists using acrylics. He uses KY Jelly to extend his paint and make it blendable. Looks pretty good, tho I haven't tried it myself yet.
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Old 01-13-2013, 01:02 PM
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Re: Making acrylic look more like oil

I'm a newbie myself, but from what I've seen, acrylics flatten as they dry, so if you have slight peeks when wet, they may disappear when dry. So If your oil painting style is thick, you can get acrylic gel impasto mediums that do that as well.
I think blending ability is the biggest difference. Once I stopped trying to use acrylics like oils, and appreciated their own unique benefits, things started working better, and I'm actually having fun. A few years ago when I first tried acrylics, I was totally frustrated because I couldn't get them to "behave" and I gave up and then hadn't used them for years. This year I am really trying to learn how to use acrylics and I'm having a much better experience.
If you really want a smooth passage of color, no dry brush, the fluid acrylics are good.
My personal opinion is that the final result can look like oils but the techniques in using the paints are different.
Have fun.
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Old 01-13-2013, 01:03 PM
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Re: Making acrylic look more like oil

I just noticed it was an old post.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:14 PM
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Re: Making acrylic look more like oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by cat1lady
...
My personal opinion is that the final result can look like oils but the techniques in using the paints are different.
Have fun.

I agree! When I work on canvas (usually watercolor canvas), I use Golden's Open Gel Medium to help give the paint a nice glow when they are dry, rather like oils. But when I work on watercolor paper, I go for a much more matte appearance and I like the finished painting to look like a pastel.

The final results can vary tremendously and it all depends on how you use your materials.

Beverly
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