Learning Acrylics

I’m continuing to work through the 50 lessons in  Learn to Paint in Acrylics with 50 Small Paintings by Mark Daniel Nelson. I’m working on #32, and sometimes itching to branch off and do ‘my own thing’, but also wanting to complete all the exercises and learn as much as I can. I’m really enjoying the immediacy of the paint, and the way it forces me to be bold and unfussy. Each painting takes me about 30-60 minutes.

I’ve been experimenting with different brands and types of paint, but think I’d better stick to one for now and learn its characteristics, so I’m using Winsor & Newton Artist Acrylics. The consistency is between soft and heavy body, the colors are bright, and they claim that there is no color shift on drying and that they stay wet just a little longer on the canvas. I cannot see a color shift, but I’m not sure about the drying time, as I re-use my paints from a Masterson Sta-Wet palette, so they may already be slightly changed by the time I use them.

I’m also keeping up with my daily Art Journal in watercolor. Maybe that’s why my progress in the 50 acrylic paintings seems slower than I’d like.

4 thoughts on “Learning Acrylics

  1. Hi Mary, I have also been doing a lot of dabbling about with Acrylics, off and on, over the last couple of years. So I’m finding your progress in this medium VERY interesting. I assume that the W & N paints that you are using are the ‘pro’ series and I will be interested to hear how you get on with those…I only have a few tubes of that stuff at the moment and am actually finding myself favoring Golden Heavy Body as I transition from my cheap and cheerful W & N Galeria tubes. If you do find yourself wishing for a longer drying time, you might try one of two different things…either invest in what they call “open” acrylics (specifically designed to take longer to dry) or else get some acrylic medium such as Golden Acrylic Glazing liquid or some kind of retarder and add a little in as you work to slow the drying down.
    Sorry for being long winded! You caught my interest! Best wishes with your adventures in Acrylic, it’s a FUN and versatile medium, isn’t it??! 🙂


    1. Hi Hilda,

      Thank you for your comments and suggestions. Yes, I’m using the W&N professional series. I’ve tried open acrylics and find they become very runny in the sta-wet palette, and actually then I think I like the fast drying properties of the W&N paints.

      I very much like the faces you draw. They have lots of character and interest. I think faces and portraits are the most fascinating and challenging subjects for painting, and it’s my goal to see if I can paint good portraits in acrylics. I’ve just bought a course from Art Tutor on the subject.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hear you about sta-wet palettes making the paint go runny! They do that even for regular paint, if you try to keep it viable for too long (and you find yourself dampening with a spray bottle!) and that’s a really good point about open acrylics (I don’t have any open acrylics as, so far, I have not really felt the need to try them)
        Thanks for dropping by and paying my blog a visit – I’m glad you enjoyed MY faces and it’s nice to find a kindred artist spirit – I agree, faces are most fascinating. I hope you will post about your Art Tutor course as I am constantly looking for resources online to learn and improve my skin tones and general portraiture and figurative technique 🙂


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