Last fall I interviewed a number of acrylic painters for a special supplement in the December, 2008 issue of American Artist, and I was fascinated to learn how many creative ways artists can use these water-soluble paints and mediums. Washington, DC artist Franklin White was shown squeezing Liquitex acrylic paints from a pastry tube, Virginia artist Bruce Skillicorn explained how he duplicates the look and feel of oil paintings in his acrylic landscapes, South Carolina artist Phil Garrett shared his excitement about Golden Artist Colors’ new Open Acrylics that remain wet longer than traditional acrylic paints, and New York artist Mikel Wintermantel listed the advantages of using Chroma Atelier Interactive Artists’ Acrylic paints to create atmospheric landscape paintings.
Acrylics are perhaps the most versatile artists’ media because the paints can be applied in thin washes or thick brushstrokes; they can be combined with mediums that change their drying time or texture; and they will adhere to surfaces such as paper, canvas, wood, plastic, and fabric. Recently, manufacturers of acrylic paints have increased these creative options by expanding the range and types of colors, the method and time of drying, and the sculptural integrity of the materials.
Research indicates that a high percentage of people who read American Artist work with acrylics, and many of the artists who post photographs of their paintings on the magazine’s website are enthusiastic about acrylic paints and mediums. If you are among those who appreciate the versatility, water solubility, and fast drying time of acrylics, you might want to update your knowledge of the products and techniques available by reading what others have discovered.
And if you have found effective ways to use acrylics in creating your artwork, you might want to share information about the products and techniques that help you express yourself. For example, you might want to explain whether you use a fluid or thick formulation of the paints, whether you adjust the drying time or texture by adding mediums, or if your experimental techniques could only be explored with acrylics. I’m sure others would benefit from your discoveries.
M. Stephen Doherty