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Should I try acrylics?

Posted By DavidG4YVM Last Year
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DavidG4YVM
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I fancy having a bash at acrylics but will the different techniques I require spoil it slow down my progress with watercolours? Or Am i just overthinking this?

D
Daveyboyz
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It can't hurt to try acrylics, I can only see it adding rather than subtracting from your artistic abilities.    You may find it hard work in comparison to watercolour though, having just tried watercolour it seems so much more convenient, less changing/washing brushes...all the colours are there in front and available so less issues opening and closing tubes, mixing too much or too little paint etc.


RobertJones
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You're overthinking it.   In my opinion - though mind you, I think I'd have made faster and more uniform progress if I'd specialized in one medium rather than indulging myself in three or more.

If you want to try an acrylic that behaves, in certain respects though most definitely not in all, like watercolour, go for a liquid type - there are several, Chromacolour is one I like.   If on the other hand you want something completely different from watercolour, so that you don't confuse yourself, try Daler Rowney's Cryla, a heavy-body acrylic that I also like a lot.

But what you should be careful not to do is get your more expensive brushes mixed up with those you use for acrylic - it's very hard indeed on sable, if you have those, and will quickly ruin them.  Synthetics work much better with acrylic, or even hogs.  
SydEdward
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David as a long user of acrylics since the fifties heres my short well tried advice . I work in acrylics and watercolour and have no trouble changing from one to the other so you are worrying about nothing . Doing both will advance you in bothmediums but giving acrylics a go you may discover that you prefer them to Watercolour. If so I would advise that you use System3 colours which are not expensive and I still use a lot of that brand as well as more expensive WN tubes. System3 is great to paint with and i use Jacksons Black Hog brushes for acrylics.These are not cheap but are the best I have ever used and ive tried a lot......nobody I know uses soft sables but Black Hogs are soft brushes totally different from the usual stiff hog bristle which i dont recommend . If you have any questions on acrylics I will be pleased to help. Acrylics of course require different techniques from watercolour but they are easily learned with use . have a go........Syd

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RobertJones
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Well there you are - can't get much more experienced than that!  I am but a lissom youth compared to Syd, but I've been using acrylics since ca. 1965 and have been gratified to note the improvements in quality and colour ranges over the years; System 3 is a very good paint, by the same company that makes Cryla, and comes between the very liquid paints and the heavier bodied ones.   Yes, get stuck in - there are many, many additives, mediums, methods, types of acrylic, and few of the technical problems you can encounter with oils.  
aya
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Hey David as a new user to acrylics myself (4 weeks) I've found learning acrylic is honing my skills as a watercolorist, it makes me think harder before I paint as mistakes are not as easily corrected.
good luck =)

https://46779931-307408289626119236.preview.editmysite.com/uploads/4/6/7/7/46779931/aliensmall_orig.png


DavidG4YVM
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Thanks all.

I shall have a bash...

D
SylviaEvans
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Oh go on have a go...David.
They are easier by far than watercolour. Completly different kettle of fish or even palette of paint. True watercolour is easier to tote around ,clean up after and far more convenient to use.
W/ C to get beautiful results is difficult, but easy enough to just add a bit of colour to a drawing which I often do in my sketching.
But people often think watercolour is the easy medium cos it’s what you give to kids in a scrubby little box but thats not quite the case.
Acrylics yup all the fun of palettes , I use tear off paper ones , though there are the lovely trad wooden jobs that become a complete piglet to clean. You have had lots of advice on brushes and I know you have a box easel already. So choose your canvases carefully and go have fun.
One wee bit of advice . Watercolour you work light to dark , Acrylic dark to light as a general rule of thumb. But I’m sure the rules are made to be broken lot will say otherwise. But it actually makes sense if you think about it. AND big AND , Acrylics are easier to correct....go enjoy, have big fun.

Sylvia.
DavidG4YVM
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Thanks all
SydEdward
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David You have questions but not appearing here on my ipad. .syd

Syd Edward
SandraKennedy
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Syd, I've been wanting to ask you this for a while and here is a perfect opportunity. I would really be interested to know what attracted you to acrylics in the very early days (I think you've said that you've used them since the 1950s) and at that time they would have been a very new (and I think not particularly accepted medium at first ?). New medium, you would have been established in a different medium (watercolour?), so what was it? And then what did you like enough about them to continue, before the improvements in colour and quality that Robert mentions have taken place over the time? The artists working in acrylic that I know have all started since the medium became "mainstream" and a lot of the improvements had taken place, I've never known anyone who started with them in their infancy.
DavidG4YVM
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Then check your emails Syd

D
SydEdward
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Got your email . 75 ml tubes are the goods . Your colours are ok for now but remember that you are just trying acrylics . practice painting on acrylic paper which you get in a cheap pad and they are very good. Dont buy acrylic sets , that way you get someone elses choice which aint good so ignore that advert link. Please keep to this thread as i dont check my mail very much and i would miss your comment. that way.....Syd

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SylviaEvans
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Syd , have you seen Sandra’s post on here ? You may have missed it. She is asking an interesting question of our resident golden oldie 😊. And I would also like to know. Please .

Sylvia.
DavidG4YVM
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Thanks Syd.

Ok on that link. (for those who are interested it was a set of colours by System 3, cheap as chips as a set but as Syd says, their colours not mine.)

I'll have a bash.  I'll buy a couple of yellows, blues, reds, umbers and a paynes of black and a white.  Maybe not even that many...might be fun to try a limited pallete....Blues and white ho ho.

Thanks again Syd
D

EllenM
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David I’ve recently progressed from watercolour to acrylics. I found them strange at first but I really like them now. I took Syd’s advice with regard to the brushes, they’re really good. I also started with System 3, but now I’m slowly going onto artist acrylics, Winsor and Newton, as the System 3 begin to run out. I also use acrylic paper, from Jackson’s. I’m yet to try a board or canvas. I’ve gleaned a lot from Glyn Macey’s book...’Acrylics Unleashed’.

Ellen
DavidG4YVM
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I've got a basket full of goodies waiting for checkout at Jackson's...


I'v gone for w and n Galleria paper so far.

System 3 150ml tubes and a pack of black hogs.



Am I right in thinking that.mixing white is, for just that and titanium white is, for painting with? So I need both.

D
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SylviaEvans
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Yes to that last question David... it does what it says . 🙃

Sylvia.
DavidG4YVM
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Thanks.

That's what I figured.

The basket soon adds up. It's tough trying a new medium because of course I know I'm not really trying it, im doing it. So I might as well do it right because I know from my watercolours that cheap anything ruins the whole experience.

D
SydEdward
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SandraKennedy (24/03/2018)
Syd, I've been wanting to ask you this for a while and here is a perfect opportunity. I would really be interested to know what attracted you to acrylics in the very early days (I think you've said that you've used them since the 1950s) and at that time they would have been a very new (and I think not particularly accepted medium at first ?). New medium, you would have been established in a different medium (watercolour?), so what was it? And then what did you like enough about them to continue, before the improvements in colour and quality that Robert mentions have taken place over the time? The artists working in acrylic that I know have all started since the medium became "mainstream" and a lot of the improvements had taken place, I've never known anyone who started with them in their infancy.



Well I was working in oilsand attending art classes in them for a while and I liked them. What I did not like was the turps and linseed oil additives especially the turps fumes.And i did not like the cleaning up of palette and brushes and binning lots of good paint espec. after art class when the brushes got the whole dirty business of soap and water.I had read about acrylics somewhere ( when The Artist mag. was black and white?) so i bought a few tubes of acrylicwhich i cant remember the brand.and im 91.The colours were in some cases garish but iloved being able to paint without being very careful about making mistakes . I used Acrylic papers from a pad and when I got to saleable stuff after years of practice I used to stick the painting on hardboard and gave them to be framed by an expert , who made them gems as he called them. I gave away my oils and chemistry? and didnt use oils again until the Artisan WM oils came in but sometime I managed to start in watercolours which i still use in between acrylics ( artisan oils now put away for a long rest.)Acrylics have improved over the years and i have a lot of artists colours along with my ( non Artist )?System 3 which I still love. A thing ihave never experienced with the latter is taking the cap off a new tube of Artists colour and getting a huge globule of acrylic medium flowing out . This has happened a few times wuith me and i cant be a...d trying to sort it all out and I geta a tube of System 3 which never lets me down though there are a few hoary old aertists who run them down as being cheap and lower in pigment and similar old chestnuts. Thats all just now as my lunch is overdue and i hope i have aswered you Sandra to your satisfaction.....Syd.....PS
Send the offending tube back for a good one .? well theres the packaging uncluding note, then the taxi fares £14 total icl. tips for the there and back to the post office. Waiting in the cold for a taxi home . Nah ...Could you be bothered?

Syd Edward
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SydEdward
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David you have bought 150 mL tubes of System 3 ? You are really confident you will like acrylics. I have some of these in the colours I use most and they are monsters ! The mixing white is there because it pales the colour in mixes without altering the pigment colour . This is an old white colour which is quite weak compared to tit. white which would be prone to turn alizaron crimson into a sweety pink.! What tempted you to get a pack of black hogs ? They are usually little brushes but I could be wrong( and i hope I am )but they do this to keep the price down and you really need 4 , 6 and 8 to be of steady use and not small details. Once you get your colours play about with them using a little water with them to get them moving.getting lovely juicy mixes . Great ! get cracking . ....Syd 😋

Syd Edward
RobertJones
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I don't think System 3 are under-pigmented at all - and of all the people on this site, I'm one who's the first to moan about that.   I'd never used them until someone gave me a set (bought by an artist who was too ill to go on working, and has since, sadly, died) but I use them a lot now.   So Syd can consider himself endorsed.  They flow beautifully off the brush, too.  
DavidG4YVM
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Syd
Maybe I'll drop a size of paint tubes then.


Black hogs...you did. You said buy black hogs

D

I haven't hit the buy button yet so can change...

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RobertJones
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Get big ones, David.   And a few smaller ones as well, for the detail.  Black hogs are good brushes.

Oh ah, and while I think of it - big tubes are a good idea, stops you being niggardly, which is death to spontaneous painting.   Just remember with acrylics to ensure the cap is screwed back on properly, or it'll turn into solid plastic.  
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trying acrylics can only help your watercolours .  . ,before you begin painting ,think of your subject and what colours you  need to do it.
otherwise you may fill your board  and not use half of them .and waste a lot of paint . I would try the minimum  you need for the subject,  some like to use the three primaries 
 only plus white, swarfega  and a waterbucket is better for me to clean my brushes,,  turps gets dirty quickly ,,,and can effect the colours ,even when brushes  are wiped on rag. that stinks the place out ,,


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