Painting Blog > Painting > Learning to paint Golden Open Acrylic

Learning to paint Golden Open Acrylic

Originally posted on February, 3, 2009

"Untitled" Golden Open acrylic on canvas, 46cm x 38cm, 2009
«Untitled» Golden Open acrylic on canvas, 46cm x 38cm, 2009

As I’ve indicated in recent articles about Golden Open Acrylic, my struggle with learning acrylic has gone on for some time. About 10 years ago I decided to dedicate one year to acrylic. For one year I would paint only in acrylic. Well, this program lasted for about 2 months as I recall. A lot was learned but it was not sufficient for me to become comfortable with acrylic. The word comfortable is used here in a special sense. For me there is always the element of struggle in painting. Look at it this way, if it was easy everyone will be doing it! I think that I may struggle more than most with the material.

The task of learning Golden Open would be easier if we stopped thinking of it as an acrylic (even though it is). Acrylic has in recent year become quite versatile within limits. With additives to retard the drying speed you could paint large paintings on canvas. However it was impossible to duplicate many of oil painting’s techniques because acrylic always dried so fast. Hard edges were a problem when watercolour techniques were attempted. A layered technique was possible but a direct spontaneous method of painting, as in watercolour, was not an option.

With Golden Open, oil painting techniques can be duplicated. The advantage being that you do not need to wait long periods for the oil paint to set-up. This is the primary thing that makes it so ideal as a medium for plein-air painting. A large part of the task is getting a clear idea of how you want your painting to look. In my limited past experience of teaching people how to paint I’ve found that most were so focused on short term results that they are very much “up tight”. And, here I am saying that it is important that you have a clear idea of what you want to do. More anxiety? I hope not. I hope that you can relax and enjoy the process of learning. If we continue to struggle that is okay as well. It is all part of the process. I wrote an article about learning watercolor that may be of help.

The painting above was for me on the struggle side of the equation. I took a long break after putting down the first layer. Too long, I signed it but I do not believe it is finished. I will let it do some drying and then see what I can do with it. I will re-photograph it and re-post it.

Published in french as Apprendre à peindre avec l’acrilique Golden Open

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