Artists ask me about using acrylics. Often or not, they are interested in trying another medium or looking for an alternative to oil paints and solvents. Many years ago, when I developed an allergy that forced me to stop painting with oils, acrylics were not available and I turned to watercolours. Year's later, I experimented with new acrylic products when they appeared in art stores and I quickly learned to appreciate their many benefits. At first it was all new to me. The painting skills that I developed, with oils and watercolours, helped me to make the transition. Still, I sensed that acrylics were not receiving the respect reserved for oil paintings by artists and the public at large.
But times have changed. Acrylic paint has replaced most of the traditional jobs in our daily life that were done using oil-based paint and any gap between the price of an acrylic painting and an oil has disappeared. I discovered that the combination of professional, light-fast pigments and the versatile, polymer emulsion make for an extremely flexible permanent medium. By some accounts, acrylics are now the most popular artist medium in the world!
Yes, acrylics do dry quickly, specially on a hot summer day, and they are affected by cold temperatures in winter, when painting outside. It's a matter of the artist adopting to the medium. There are a multitude of techniques applicable with this modern-day medium: dripping, pouring, glazing, air brushing and mixed media , just to name a few, achieving incredible effects applied to a wide range of supports. The work is dry in 10 minutes allowing for corrections and changes as the painting continues. Packing up to travel is easy and quick; the clean up with soap and water is a bonus.
Personally, I prefer good old-fashion brush strokes on stretched canvas, using professional grade heavy body acrylics, synthetic brushes, water and an acrylic glazing medium.
Time to get back to my studio and grab a brush. . . .
The Art of Charles Spratt