2020 Acrylic Painting Adventures

acrylic painting unfinished work Jan 02, 2021

I usually paint with watercolors but this past year I’ve been working on  a few acrylic projects too that I want to share .


I haven't had a lot of experience in acrylics and in some ways I felt like a beginning painter as I worked in this unfamiliar medium. It’s like apples and oranges with watercolor and acrylic. While both are good, I’m used to a medium that does a lot of the work for me. Watercolor flows and mixes across the paper creating beautiful color, edges and texture as it goes.


Acrylics take more work from the artist to blend and they don't do a whole lot of flowing. The good thing is it's easy to paint over mistakes and start again when you completely mess it up. You can't do that very well with watercolors.



This piece was a commission. I thought about painting it in watercolor but didn't want to mess with a mat and glass. At the time I hadn't yet started the process of sealing my watercolors and putting them in a floating frame. (This is something I do now with all my watercolors and I love it. Soon I'll post on that and link here to it.)


Acrylics seemed like a great medium to paint it in. It was a little struggle. I fought with the acrylic process I wasn't used to. That was especially true in painting the water. Thank goodness for the opportunity to redo and cover mistakes. In the end, It was a good experience to use a medium that took me out of my comfort zone and I learned a lot.  




This acrylic is a little 11x14 painting of a blacksmith that was working at an old west festival a few years ago. It's finished except that I still need to paint a tool in the blacksmith's hand to let viewers know who he is and what he might be doing. When it's painted I'll post the finished piece. 


I enjoyed painting this. It was especially fun to create the lost and found edges in the lower half of the painting. Lost and found edges are one of my favorite things about watercolor and was glad to learn the process with acrylics.



And finally the bane of my acrylic experiences this past year. Actually I would be lying to say that I started this painting in 2020. It was started summer 2019 and by the end of 2020 it still wasn't complete. It has been neglected for months at a time and it's been over six months since the last time I painted on it. In fact I haven't painting on it at all since COVID changed everything in March.


This is 48 x 60 painting from a photo of a place in the Narrows, a water hike, in Zion National Park Utah. It's my favorite hike ever.



I loved how this painting started. It was loose and very expressive. As I painted I lost that and it became stiff and unnatural. Have you ever had that happen in your painting?


I'm not at all happy with the edges or the color. At one point I painted over the whole piece with a thin layer of white gesso hoping I would paint loose as I brought it back. That didn't happen so it's still "on the drawing board".  


One of my main goals in this painting was to let the viewer feel the grandeur and scale of the towering rock walls on this hike. Honestly they're huge. If you've ever been there you know. I haven't worked on that yet but plan to achieve it with a couple of figures that I'll paint in at the end of the painting.


I have a goal to finish this by April and post the finished product. I'll post both The Blacksmith too when it's finished and now that I've posted both of them here, I'm kind of committed to finish them.


It's been a fun change to play with Acrylics a little this past year but watercolor is still my favorite.



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