Category Archives: Acrylics

Do You Use Canvas Boards When Painting With Acrylics?

I do.

And you should consider this as well if you’re painting with acrylics.

This morning I received this question from one of my Australian students wanting to know if besides cave walls, had I used canvas boards, my opinions and what types of preparation do I use in order to paint on this structure.

I like using canvas boards for practice with acrylics. I still love canvas for commissioned and exhibition works. But for everyday painting and practice with acrylics, canvas boards are my top choice.

Here’s why …

Acrylics are self leveling. This means that no matter how thick or thin you apply the paints, as they dry, their relief properties fade so that the painting surface is leveled. Not so with oils. If you have chunks of oil paints on your canvas, they will dry as dried chunks of oil paint. But with acrylics they seem to melt down so that the entire surface is flat and smooth.

This has the advantage of being able to put six or seven paintings one on top of the other as you practice away through the day. You may be able to get more than six or seven paintings, but be on the lookout for crumbling, flaking and other surface degeneration of the acrylic paint on the canvas board.

The only special thing I do in preparing the canvas board for painting is to make sure the surface is clean and to paint the surface once with Black or Gray geso if I so desire a darker color. Otherwise, I just wipe the surface cloan and start painting.

For my better works and commissioned painting, I still like canvas. I like the feel of the brush against the canvas. And one can use a canvas for practice just like canvas boards. Paint five or six practice paintings on the canvas and the last one would be a commissioned work.

Can I Substitute Black Acrylic For Black Gesso….?

Hi Darrell, Can I substitute black acrylic paint for Gesso? I want to paint the tulip picture but I want to sub acrylic paint for Gesso. Can I do that? Is the affect different? It looks like the gesso mixes with the oil paint for a very nice affect. I’m referring to the sky in the tulip picture. I love my flower DVD set. You make learning fun and easy to understand. Thank You so much.

Sarah Angulo

Hi Sarah, You certainly can substitute black acrylic for black gesso. This is true for oil painting or acrylic painting.

I think one of the main things I’d like to ensure you to understand is that the gesso does not mix with the oil paints. You must allow the gesso to dry thoroughly BEFORE painting over the canvas. Same with acrylic.

Think of the acrylic/gesso as an under painting or primer that must dry before you continue. Just like doing the walls at home. We first prime the walls with a coat of primer paint, than when dry, we paint our chosen color over the walls. I use Gesso as a primer to allow me to have the kind of underneath coating to help accentuate the colors I’m layering over the acrylic/gesso.

I’m glad you like the floral DVDs. They’re really quite popular.

Darrell

Questions On Switching From Acrylics to Oils.

Hi Darrell, my wife and I received the DVD Basic Techniques of oil painting. You have done a nice job shooting them and we have enjoyed looking at them. We started out with Acrylic paints but have now went out and bought oils.

We see that it’s some what easier to work with oils, for us anyway, as we are still slow at painting and the paint doesn’t dry on us. However we still have some questions.

1. Do you thin the oil paint or use it as thick as it comes out of the tube.
[DARRELL] IT ALL DEPENDS. IF I’M DOING BASE COAT PAINTING I PRETTY MUCH USE IT AS IT COMES OUT OF THE TUBE. IF I’M HIGHLIGHTING I THIN THE PAINTS. IF I’M HAVING DIFFICULTIES LAYERING PAINT ON TOP OF PAINT, I THIN THE PAINTS.

2. We hear you talking about medium, is that to thin the paint and make it flow better? What do you use for a medium?

[DARRELL] THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT MEDIUM IS. THE THINNER PAINT “STICKS” TO THE THICKER PAINTS. I USED MANY KINDS OF MEDIUM DEPENDING ON WHAT I’M PAINTING. LANDSCAPES, SEASCAPES, FLORALS, PORTRAITS. I USE DIFFERENT MEDIUMS FOR EACH SO THERE’S NO ONE BRAND I’LL RECOMMEND. I DO COVER WHAT I’M USING
IN EACH OF MY VIDEOS.

3.What and how is liquid white used?

[DARRELL] MEDIUM WHITE IS USED TO WET THE CANVAS TO BEGIN WITH AND THEREAFTER TO THIN PAINTS. THIS ALLOWS THEM TO BLEND TOGETHER WELL WITH OTHER PINTS.

4.With Acrylics we just painted over our practice canvas with gesso and were ready to try again. How do we reuse our practice canvas with oils?
[DARRELL] NOT SO EASY WITH OILS. BASICALLY IF YOU DON’T LIKE YOUR PAINTING, SCRAPE IT OFF AND REDO IT. BUT THIS IS ONLY IF THE PAINTS ARE STILL WET. IF THEY’VE DRIED, DOUBT THAT’S THERE IS MUCH YOU CAN DO. MANY FOLKS HAVE TRIED OVEN OFF OR SOME OTHER REALLY SERIOUS CHEMICALS. I THINK ONE IS BETTER OFF MAKING AN INSTANT DECISION AND GETTING THE OLD SCRAPPER OUT IF THE PAINTING IS NOT GOOD.

It seems so easy when we watch you paint and are determined to practice until it becomes easy for us as well. We hear you say “just like that” in our minds but our hands haven’t gotten the message yet.

[DARRELL] AFTER YOU PRACTICE, IT WILL BECOME SO SECOND NATURE TO YOU THAT YOU’RE JUST CONCENTRATING ON WHAT YOU’RE PAINTING AND NOT HOW YOU’RE PAINTING.

My First Lesson Was Great, Except I’ve Got Holes!

This is my first use of oil paint ever. I tried your techniques today and all went well until the end of my session when small holes appeared all through the areas I had painted and now i can see the black acrylic. What do you think I did wrong???

Darrell,

a) The acrylic was painted on a week ago.
b) The clear was “syrup” like in consistency, I lightly wiped off the excess. (Not well enough perhaps?)
c) I applied a thin (watery like, perhaps too much solvent?) application of Prussian Blue.
d) I then started painting.

Can you help?

Thanks, Dave

Hi Dave,

You made perhaps only one mistake.

1. Paint on acrylic black or gesso black and let dry (normally 1/2 hour is about all it takes to dry)
2. Cover the canvas with medium clear and yes, you must wipe the excess off so that only a very, very, very thin coat of clear remains.
3. Cover the canvas with with a light coat of prussian blue (no medium or thinner used….paint only) From your letter, I think this was perhaps the error you made.
4. Start painting.

The separation you experienced is probably due to one of two items……

A. Too much medium clear on the canvas when doing step #2. By not wiping the excess off, the clear will run leaving holes in your painting as it dries.
B. Using thinned prussian blue with a thinner based medium, or just thinner itself. This causes a chemical reaction with the medium clear and holes will appear in the paint as the thinner reacts with the medium.

Darrell

Absolutely, Kim, Absolutely!

Kim writes ….

Darrell, is there any way that I can purchase the 2 painting projects (not the mountain stream one or the all blue lighthouse scene) , cause I have those, but the seascape and the Lighthouse one with the red cabins on the side of the lighthouse. How much? You should put those out for those who have your collections and dont want to get the acrylics as I like oils instead. SOOOOOOO is there a chance? You can answer in yuor yahoo group so that all others who would like those be able to purchase them only also.

Absolutely Kim. We’ll be making individual DVDs available on or about 8/16/2009. They’ll be at our normal price of $24.95 which includes worldwide shipping.

Great Question. Thanks.

What Acrylic Supplies Did You Use?

I know that you gave the list of brushes on the acrylic set, but i could not get it. Could you please give me the entire list of brushes and the makers? Also where can you buy the paint and mediums that you used? I have some Fliud retarder by winsor & newton, and some flow aid and gesso by liquitex. Can they be used?

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Do You Use Canvas Boards When Painting With Acrylics?

I do.

And you should consider this as well if you’re painting with acrylics.

This morning I received this question from one of my Australian students wanting to know if I’ve used canvas boards, my opinions and what types of preparation do I use in order to paint on this structure.

I like using canvas boards for practice with acrylics. I still love canvas for commissioned and exhibition works. But for everyday painting and practice with acrylics, canvas boards are my top choice.

Here’s why …

Acrylics are self leveling. This means that no matter how thick or thin you apply the paints, as they dry, their relief properties fade so that the painting surface is leveled. Not so with oils. If you have chunks of oil paints on your canvas, they will dry as dried chunks of oil paint. But with acrylics they seem to melt down so that the entire surface is flat and smooth.

This has the advantage of being able to put six or seven paintings one on top of the other as you practice away through the day. You may be able to get more than six or seven paintings, but be on the lookout for crumbling, flaking and other surface degeneration of the acrylic paint on the canvas board.

The only special thing I do in preparing the canvas board for painting is to make sure the surface is clean and to paint the surface once with Black or Gray geso if I so desire a darker color. Otherwise, I just wipe the surface cloan and start painting.

For my better works and commissioned painting, I still like canvas. I like the feel of the brush against the canvas. And one can use a canvas for practice just like canvas boards. Paint five or six practice paintings on the canvas and the last one would be a commissioned work.

Oh My……I’ve Forgotten The Rule….oil over acrylics….or the other way?

Darrell, I forgot about the rule with oil…… I also do acrylics. what is the rule about painting over oils. is it you can paint acrylic over oil, or oil over acrylic? Evelyn.

Hi Evelyn. The rule is you can paint oil over acrylics. You cannot paint acrylics over oils. One of the things I like to do is first paint a background or base structure on the canvas with acrylics. I may do the painting of a house, a barn or a lighthouse. Sometimes, the entire background will be done. When I paint Tall Ships, I paint the base sky and water in acrylics, and then finish the painting with oils. Darrell

My Acrylic Ships Are Dull

I’ve received a few emails over the summer of students who are discovering one very important truths about Acrylics.

Acrylics dry dark.

Now how beautiful the painting or color you’ve just added, as the acrylic dries, the paint color darkens. I find myself constantly brightening my clouds and especially the sails of my tall ships.

The good news is acrylics dry quickly so it isn’t a long wait to discover just how much darker your dry painting is. So be prepared to go back over highlights 3-4 time until you achieve the brightness you’re seeking.