Saturday, 20 June 2009

Acrylic sketches

Savage Cove
6 x 8 acrylic

I've taken some acrylics on a field trip to the ocean for a couple of plein air sessions. Its a challenge working with acrylics outdoors, at least for me. They dry so quickly, but on the other hand, if I sit them on a wetted paper towel and keep rewetting it, that keeps the palette from drying, but it still leaves me with little time to manipulate the paint on the canvas. I end up with lots of thin layers or else big gobs of paint that give me a little more wiggle room.

I wanted to try acrylics in plein air so that I could more accurately capture light and colour instead of having to refer to photos which never seem to capture quite the same colours. I wanted to try acrylics so the painting would dry and not smear all over before I got it home and its easy to wash up on the spot, not leaving the steering wheel of the car paint stained as it seems to do when I use oils plein air.

Waves, Pouch Cove
5 x 7 acrylic sketch

It has benefits, but is also frustrating too. I may in the end get some acrylic extender to prolong the time I can manipulate it, if I continue with acrylic sketches. I like being able to get that instant feel of colour and light, but hate fighting with paints.

I know there are other , more convenient mediums such as pen and ink, or coloured pencil or even pastel that I can use to do some plein air sketches, but I like the almost instant feel of acrylics or oils. The one up from a photograph perhaps.

I`ll continue to experiment with acrylics for sketching outdoors and see if those little pieces will translate into larger pieces back in the studio. I wonder how many sketches actually turn into larger pieces for artists?

12 comments:

Katherine Tyrrell said...

It seems to me like you'rr taking to them very well. Sounds like a good idea to experiment with media which helps

vivien said...

I commented on that second one on your blog - it's really lovely and very atmospheric, full of movement.

You have done much better than me with acrylics plein air.

If you take a rag and baby oil it's very easy to clean your hands after using oils - and no water to carry.

africantapestry said...

Two lovely pieces Jeanette, especially the second one appeals to me. I have tried my hand at acylics and it is a medium that I don't really feel comfortable with, but you seem VERY comfrotable with it!
ronell

Lindsay said...

Jeanette, I love both of these but especially that rich chocolate on the cliffs. Beautiful water movement too.

I've been out now several times with my oils and there are a couple of things:
I wear gloves so I have clean hands when I get back to the car.
Vivien's baby oil works very well as well as baby wipes.
Even the aklyds seem to dry faster in a wind. I admire your efforts with acrylic. The oils seem to have just the right drying time for me....long.;>)

Ginny Stiles said...

Hi Jeanette...I have begun working with acrylics en plein air. Also google L. Diane Johnson's work and her web site and blog for more tips on acrylics en plein air...she uses them a lot and yes a "retarder" is a must. But a few drops into a spray bottle and continue to mist your palette and your painting through out. I love the new Golden OPEN acrylics for en plain air. They stay moist SO much longer. I am thinking I might talk about this on my blog too which you can find by going to http://ginnystiles.blogspot.com I have bookmarked this blog too...wonderful ideas and sharing. Although I am primarily watercolor...I LOVE acrylics.

muddy red shoes said...

You have captured the changing colour very well, I find that acrylics dry far too fast for me, misting the painting sounds like a top plan and may yeald some interesting effects too.

Jeanette said...

The jury is still out for me on whether or not acrylics will do the job. I like the instantaneous colour lay down but hate the fast drying. I may try some extender just for these plein air forays or go back to oils again.

Aside from pencil or pen there really isn't an 'unmessy' alternative, no matter what precautions and clean up are taken.

Anonymous said...

Golden has a new line of acrylics called "OPEN", which are supposed to handle more like oils, particularly when it comes to open time, hence the name. I haven't tried them yet, but Robert Genn says he likes them---reason enough for me to track them down!

Cate in Dundee

Kelly Marszycki said...

Try mixing the acrylics with a glazing medium, such as Liquitex; it makes you work faster and more loosely, which can be a good thing! It dries a bit slower and yet leaves a lovely transparency -- good luck!

Jeanette said...

Thanks for the tips. I'll try some of the Open acrylics and some extender and see how that works. Otherwise, its back to oils again for plein air!

Laureline said...

So nice to see these----and helpful, too, since I'm taking acrylics to Brittany as well and, though I've never been a plein air painter, I'm going to be one there! I'm going to try the Golden Open acrylics that Ginny mentions. That reminds me, I should get some and start painting with them now to see how they behave. There's a freshness to these studies of yours that one sometimes misses in oils. I continue to be inspired by your energy and dedication, Jeanette.

Laureline said...

So nice to see these----and helpful, too, since I'm taking acrylics to Brittany as well and, though I've never been a plein air painter, I'm going to be one there! I'm going to try the Golden Open acrylics that Ginny mentions. That reminds me, I should get some and start painting with them now to see how they behave. There's a freshness to these studies of yours that one sometimes misses in oils. I continue to be inspired by your energy and dedication, Jeanette.