Acrylics over watercolor?

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jlward posted on 17 Oct 2008 7:52 PM

Hi,

I've never really done a serious painting with watercolor, but I love how easily the colors blend and how very workable the medium is; that being said, I don't really care for how difficult it is to obtain a hard edged line, fine detail, or strong saturated colors.  I've seen people who can pull all of these off, but, at present, I am not one of them. 

In an attempt to make up for that shortcoming, I'm thinking about glazing acrylic over an underpainting of watercolor.  I feel that this would allow me to have the best of both worlds.  My thoughts are to spray the watercolor with a fixative before layering the acrylic paint on top. 

Has anyone tried this?  Does anyone have thoughts on the subject or reasons why it wouldn't be advisable?

Thanks,

John Ward

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Hi John, some watercolor pigments bleed easily: ie warm reds like Windsor red, and also viridian.  I glaze acrylic over WC all the time, and usually don't have to fix it first, but if you if you feel that fixing it is safer, by all means - go ahead.  I've done that too with great results.  Glad to see that you are experimenting.  If you come up with any new ideas and want to share them, I'd be delighted - as this is an area (WC and acrylic) that I am extremely interested in.

Thanks! Lori

 

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Oh forgot something.... using acrylic over WC works best for me with heavier paper like 300lb.  I've tried it on 140lb and it began to pill early on. I do like to kinda scrub in the opaque acrylic at times and the heavier paper can take it.

It's the weekend and I feel guilty being on the PC Tongue Tied

www.loriwords.com

 

 

 

 

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Hi John,

You had mentioned that my watercolors are intense with color, and I get that color by repeted glazing with separate colors in order to achieve a color.  In other words, I don't mix yellow and alizarin to get a peach.  I first glaze a flower with yellow - let it dry completely and then glaze (with lots of water) with alizarin - the result is a cleaner peach than if I had mixed the two colors together. I wrote up an entire article on this method for last Fall's issue of Watercolor Magazine.  The resulting painting is my aviatar for the Watermedia group.

Let me know if this answer need further clarification.  It's easier to understand if you see it done.

Lori

 

 

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Hi John, some watercolor pigments bleed easily: ie warm reds like Windsor red, and also viridian.  I glaze acrylic over WC all the time, and usually don't have to fix it first, but if you if you feel that fixing it is safer, by all means - go ahead.  I've done that too with great results.  Glad to see that you are experimenting.  If you come up with any new ideas and want to share them, I'd be delighted - as this is an area (WC and acrylic) that I am extremely interested in.

Thanks! Lori

 

www.loriwords.com

 

 

 

 

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Oh forgot something.... using acrylic over WC works best for me with heavier paper like 300lb.  I've tried it on 140lb and it began to pill early on. I do like to kinda scrub in the opaque acrylic at times and the heavier paper can take it.

It's the weekend and I feel guilty being on the PC Tongue Tied

www.loriwords.com

 

 

 

 

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I haven't experienced that, but I've always been so paranoid about destroying the watercolor that I've always fixed it before hand.  Watercolor is an amazing medium, but it is also very delicate.  So, I treat it tenderly. 

I was reading your posts about layering different acrylic mediums as a type of varnish last night.  I've always wondered about doing that.  You made some really great points and one day I want to try that technique as well. 

Thanks again for the advice.  I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one trying off the wall combinations with watercolor looking for something that works.

All the best,

John

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Using artists watercolours in tubes or the cheaper White Knights watercolours in pans you can get very bright and vibrant colour and great depths of darks without the need for acrylic glazes.

Is it simply the paints you use that you aren't happy with?

I also often glaze with veils of coloured pencil in small areas to add vibrancy. allowing the underpainting to come through but creating a haze of another colour over it - polychromos work brilliantly for this and I often use them in my work.  (You can see examples in my blog - link below) 

 

 

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I'm not sure if it's the paint or my technique.  I am very new to watercolor.  I've only experimented with it.  I have seen paintings where people have achieved very intense color.  I guess I need to keep fiddling with it until I learn more... isn't that always the case?

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Hi John,

You had mentioned that my watercolors are intense with color, and I get that color by repeted glazing with separate colors in order to achieve a color.  In other words, I don't mix yellow and alizarin to get a peach.  I first glaze a flower with yellow - let it dry completely and then glaze (with lots of water) with alizarin - the result is a cleaner peach than if I had mixed the two colors together. I wrote up an entire article on this method for last Fall's issue of Watercolor Magazine.  The resulting painting is my aviatar for the Watermedia group.

Let me know if this answer need further clarification.  It's easier to understand if you see it done.

Lori

 

 

www.loriwords.com

 

 

 

 

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Hi Lori,

That's exactly one of the things I have wondered about.  I mix colors before painting and once the colors dry I leave them alone.  It seems that going back into the colors destroys the underlying layers.  Apparently, I'm not letting them dry enough.  This was actually what caused me to try to experiment with using acrylic over the watercolor.  I'll have to mess around with this some more. 

One of the things I enjoy about glazing in acrylics (using the glazing medium) is that the suspension of the pigment in the medium creates a depth to the painting.  Is there a way to do this i.e. create that appearance of depth with watercolor?  Can you do it with water alone? 

Thanks again for the advice everyone.  I appreciate your time.

John

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Well, it's kinda complicated if you can't see what I'm talking about but if you go onto www.aawatercolor.com and look under tips, I have a visual (3 slides) of how I do a glaze.  I use a kolinsky sable because of the way it holds and releases water.  Then I work on a grade so I continuously have a bead of water at the bottom of my wash. I just coax the pigmented water down over the previous - fully dry color.  By dry, I mean that it does not even feel damp to the touch. 

Also it depends on what surface you're painting on.  As far as I know, glazes seem to work best with highly sized cold pressed paper like Arches 300 lb cold pressed.  The pigment seeps into the paper fibers, and while the pigment is suspended in water - as you gently glaze over the surface of the paper, the pigment particles sink to the bottom of the valleys in the paper while the water flows over the  tops of the bumps - leaving a luminescent result.  The paper lets the light through and that's why you'll need to suspend your pigment in plenty of water.

OK... now you're probably really very confused.  I'll see if I can find the link to the example on the Watercolor Web page.

http://www.myamericanartist.com/2008/07/watercolor-tip.html#

try that out.  If it doesn't work go to www.myamericanartist.com and click on watercolor.  The latest tip will be in a box in the middle of the screen, and you can hit "more tips" at the end of that tip for the one on glazing.  I can't find the visual example.

 

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Hi Lori,

Thanks again.  I'm actually going to be away from my paints for a couple of weeks.  So, don't feel like you have to be in a rush. 

I read the article you have linked to and between what you've written here and the article, I think I understand it... at least conceptually.  I'm sure it'll take a lot of practice.  The paintings that are displayed in the article are amazing.  I would never have guessed that watercolor paintings could look like that.

I do appreciate your help.

John

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There is a great video on glazing on this site - by Jean Dobie I think.

I use acrylics and gouache on watercolour paintings to fix mistakes!

 

catherine

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I plan on getting started back into painting and the thought came to me about painting acrylic over watercolor and I thought it would produce a 3D effect possibly.  I think all that would be necessary would be for the watercolor paint to dry first before applying the acrylic paints.........I am poetic and mentioned to my pastor that I plan on getting back into painting.......I used to do watercolor, but I would paint too thick and then when the medium dried it started to cake up and break off......I believe the addition of the acrylic paints overlay would eleviate this problem

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TOOLEGITTOQUIT , there is no problem painting over water color with acrylic.  As to the drying time, it would to what effect you want.  Try it on a small scale an see what happens.

Charlie Gunn

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what happens if we do watercolor over acrylics?

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sky—

There is no problem painting watercolor over acrylics if you handle them both as transparent washes. I have been doing it for years.

In doing so you must think of the painting as a two step process. The first step is transparent acrylics at about 50% of the final color intensity. I keep all  large washes as watercolor only. It is an involved process that requires preliminary planning. Light acrylic washes in darker areas only, allow you to maintain your drawing. Full strength acrylics can seal the surface of the paper.

Fluid acrylics are best for this. Recently, I saw that a manufacturer is producing watercolors and fluid acrylics that are matching in colors for this sort of mixed media approach.

Paul

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