Having resolved, just two or three weeks ago, to complete a painting in time for this post I failed to paint at all for several days and then made another of my famous changes of direction. So, rather than a finished portrait in oils as anticipated, I am including here a few sketches in acrylic. Yes, acrylic! “What is the man up to?” I hear you ask. Well, it goes something like this.
The weekly painting group continues but I had reached a particularly difficult stage in the current portrait and felt unable to make further progress with it for the time being, especially at the group meetings. So I decided to give it a rest and to try a different medium by way of a change. Of course, what I should be doing is improving my drawing skills, which are not good. OK, to be fair, they are not bad either, just terribly slow. So I played around with pencil sketches, watercolour paints, watercolour pencils and even my old acrylics and had a lot of fun and a few surprises too, especially discovering that my drawing ability has been improving. It’s obvious really (though not necessarily to me!) that if you use a pen, pencil or brush more frequently than at any time previously, and perhaps especially if you adopt an accurate, realistic style rather than the looser, more “painterly” style of painting or drawing, then your hand/eye coordination is likely to improve. I am guessing that hand/eye coordination and the “muscle memory” (mentioned by Shoreacres in her comment under my previous post ) are very close allies.
I used my old Finity acrylics for this quick (and rather rough) self-portrait and discovered that they had deteriorated and become a bit lumpy in some tubes. In any case they had been superseded by Winsor and Newton’s new range of Artist’s Acrylics which, it was claimed, eased or eliminated some of their defects. It was claimed that the Artist’s Acrylics stayed the same colour whether wet or dry, remained workable a little longer and consisted of (mainly) stronger colours than the Finity range. All three improvements appealed to me and I decided to try the new range. My very limited trial (to date) confirms these claims. Both of the rose sketches shown here were painted with the new acrylics. The first one is on heavy, textured watercolour paper. The second is on a piece of thin MDF, gessoed and cut to fit a spare frame
Despite being very busy with garden work during the recent weeks of fine weather (and therefore quite tired by the evening) I have moved on again with the current oil portrait and made some progress. I expect to continue using the Artisan water-mixable oil paints, mainly at home where it is easy to handle wet paintings for as long as it takes for them to dry. I still prefer the feel of the oil paints. In the longer term I will have increased the speed at which I can paint and draw and also learnt a lot about colour mixing which might enable me more easily to meet the challenge of the acrylics, which still dry quickly despite a clear improvement in the Artist’s Acrylic range. By that time I might even like acrylics.