Wednesday, March 28, 2012

91 More about Advanced Plein Air Acrylic

It was a lot of fun oiling up the acrylic painting in the field. I thought it might be useful if I cited a few benefits and drawbacks of this technique. One thing I probably didn’t emphasize enough in the video was that I had to wait for the acrylics to dry before I added the retarding gel. It was a warm day so that wasn’t a huge problem but it did seem to break my flow a bit. I had a chair to sit in and would critique the painting with my wife Debra while I waited for the paint to dry. So it was pleasant but it was a different pace from an oil plein air session.


To dry the painting quicker I placed the painting on the hood of our truck. Which worked well until it was time to leave. We loaded up our gear and drove off and like you might imagine I left the painting sitting on the hood. I was home and unpacked by the time I realized what I had done. Fortunately my painting site was only about a mile away so I drove back and found my painting lying face down in gravel at the side of the road. But since it was acrylic it was entirely dry and unharmed (if it had been an oil painting it would have been ruined).

In the interim between realizing I had lost my painting and finding it the painting had become in my imagination the best plein air painting I had ever done. Proof that our perceptions can often distort our judgement. I suppose you might call it the fish-that-got-away syndrome.

Brad Teare


10 comments:

  1. I won't address the issue of it being the best plein air painting you've ever done, but I'm pretty sure it was one of the very best videos you've ever made. I got a lot out of watching it.

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  2. Funny, I did the same thing once, never found the painting though.

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  3. Rob, would I be wrong to assume the lost painting assumed mythical status?

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  4. Thanks AP. I'm consciously trying not to care about the quality of my plein air sketches and just going for quantity. If I focus too much on doing a masterpiece I find I don't get out in the field. I'm glad you found the video helpful. I think if might be a popular one.

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  5. Thanks Brad, that put a big smile on my face :)
    I can just imagine what's going through your mind when you race back to the painting site.
    Great video by the way.
    Have you tried using Open Acrylics Medium instead of the retarder to paint into?
    The open acrylics paint is to transparent for me but I've heard good things about the open medium for using it with 'normal' acrylic paint. Haven't tried it myself though.

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    1. I have tried this and it is a bit too thin for me. I have had some success with adding chalk to the Open paints and medium though.

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  6. Brad, I've been painting for about 6 months. I tried your thick paint technique using acrylic by mixing some molding paste with a little retarder and then mixing the paint. This worked well but my technique was not too good because I wasn't using strokes of color but rather dabs of color. I now see what I need to do. First is to layout a design of lights and darks and then start adding the color. I'm wondering if I should discard my painting since it has a very rough texture or is there a way to add thick paint over the old and dry paint?

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    1. Since I wrote this I have found that I can smooth out some of the texture by filling in with acrylic molding paste. I have actually gotten some really great color and texture this way.

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  7. Eric, I have used Open Acrylics and I like them but they are a bit thin for my thicker painting style. I want to try them with some chalk added in the field to see if the chalk thickens the mixture without speeding the drying time.

    KBW, Thick texture is a problem with acrylics because you can't scape the dried surface to "oil up" and paint over the previous dry layer. I find I have to get it right the first time or at best use very little retouching.

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Thanks for your comments!

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