Joy of Acrylic Paint, Kindred Spirits, Florida Everglades Studio Painting

Kindred Spirits

One of the most important things to realize when working with a new medium is that it will have it's own characteristics and will not behave like any other. This is especially true of acrylic paint, since so many people come to acrylics either from watercolor or oils. While acrylic has some similar characteristics of each, it is first and most fully itself. The joy of this medium is that it can be manipulated without the constraints of either oils or watercolor. It dries very quickly, allowing you to build a painting almost like a sculpture. You can go into it again and again and carve out the painting, and add more material at any time. Soft or hard edges are easy to achieve by choosing the right brush. Bristle for soft edges and synthetic for crisper passages. There are both opaque and transparent colors, and it's OK to use them together. Acrylics are environmentally more friendly in the studio, particularly for people who are sensitive to the oil mediums. Also, if you take most of the paint off the brush with a paper towel or rag and let it dry, the paint will not every become water soluble again and leach into the environment. Solids can be strained before the water is discarded.

Acrylics are particularly effective in achieving a luminous surface like the painting above. To create the soft sky, I scumbled over the canvas again and again with an almost dry brush, leaving thin layers of color for the sky and water. As the painting progressed, the lower layers still show through in many places leaving both a glow and a vibration, and giving nice variation from the more solid qualities of the land and trees.

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