Sunday, November 1, 2009

From oil to acrylic

I have always loved working with oils. The smooth texture, long open time, and they look fabulous. With that said, I have come to realize that I am far too impatient to work with them, even when working with various synthetic mediums that speed drying time. Since I paint intuitively, with minimal planning, my works often change direction on a dime, keeping some elements, painting over others, etc.

Plus, I like to work with a lot of wet over dry, transparent layers, which is VERY time consuming if you work with oils. Trust me, I have done it. Not a good time.

Anyway, from what I understand, one of the HUUUUGE no-no's of painting is that you are never supposed to paint with acrylics over oil. I believe it has to do with the fact that the oil paint's properties will be changing over the course of many years until the painting fully cures, and this creates an unstable surface with which to apply something that dries fully and stabilizes so quickly, namely, acrylic.

Every stage of this painting so far was done in oil, with the exception of the first image which began as a black drawing with an artist marker. As you can see the canvas is beginning to fill up, which means that additional layers will be the next step, along with whatever changes I will want to make. Soon it will be time to switch paintings while I give the existing layers of this one time to dry.

The above image shows this painting as it stood when I set it aside about seven months ago. I guess the reason for this whole rant in the first place is that I have not worked with oils since then. For reasons stated above, I just couldn't take it anymore. My new relationship with acrylics has since begun. Now, I have worked with acrylics before, and ironically, what I dislike about them is the fact that they dry so FAST (didn't I say I hated the fact that oils dried too slow?). Well, through a bit of trial and error, I have become much more comfortable with controlling the open time of acrylics through the use of various mediums and, at least for now, feel that the freedoms gained are much better for my creative process than simply being able to blend, combine and fade colors at will for hours, which was one of the qualities I liked about oils.

From oil to acrylic-

And here we are months after this work began. I liked some of the elements but it was just sitting, collecting dust since I hadn't worked with oils for just as long. Well, last week I was browsing through my collection of unfinished works and kept coming back to this one. After having this happen many times over the past handful of months I finally decided that it had been sitting around drying for long enough. And besides, all the layers were very lean and had been painted with Galkyd medium, so what's the big deal? It's dry!! A bit of sanding to rough up the surface, some layers of spray paint to cover rejected areas and begin the underlayment for some new elements, and acrylics, here we come.

I hope the damn thing holds up.