Trying OPEN Acrylics, Number 27 of 52 Portraits

Well, now that I've checked that my blog displays the cookie notice for my European readers, let's take a look at the 27th portrait!

I thought it would be cool to play with Golden's OPEN acrylics. I enjoyed dipping my toe into the oil painting world, but I didn't like the smell nor the flammability. So I bought myself a starter set, and a few other colors.

I didn't use all of them in this portrait. One each of the reds, blues, and yellows, titanium white, carbon black and raw umber. Daniel Smith's gold gesso for the background. It glows...

Lucy Chen teaches an online, introductory class for oil painting, so I used her steps in creating this portrait.

First I sketched the image from the reference photo and then transferred it onto a page prepared with gold gesso. (Gold gesso was suggested by someone from work who does oil painting, Lucy used gesso.)


In the first oil painting I did, the background was tinted and then shadows were put in using Raw Umber. That was from Annie Hamman's class -- you know, the one that kicked off this mad scheme to do 52 portraits in 52 weeks.


Isn't that glow just fabulous? This has to be my favorite stage of the painting. (Which doesn't bode well as it's also fairly early on in the painting.) It was also the source of my first mistake. I used the OPEN Thinner to do the glazing and while I thought, sure, it'll be like water and weaken it, not like their acrylic glazing liquid, but I could handle it, no worries.

Um, well, you'll see.


Added in highlights and accidentally made the eye smaller. Struggling with hair as per usual.


Ok, now she's starting to look human. Squinty, but human. But look at the bridge of her nose and just to the right of her nostril and under her chin. Those darkish spots. There are also other less obvious spots. That, my friends, is what we call lift. When the paint isn't fully dry, it comes off, taking the layer underneath that with it, and because I used the Thinner instead of the glazing medium, the paint films were weakened even more in addition to not being fully dry (because, hello, these are made to be slower to dry). I had to get up and walk away. I think I ended up waiting 48 hours before coming back to it. I was still unable to fix one of them. Grr. Maybe if I was more patient... but, you guys, 52 paintings in 52 weeks! Even if I am ahead of schedule...

I added inktense and prismacolor pencils into her hair, and the words are made using an ivory Posca pen and a Faber Castell Pitt pen. The quote is from Presiding Bishop, Most Reverent Michael Curry from the Royal Wedding.


When I wiped off the white charcoal words, some of the background glazing came up with them, which you can't really tell in this edited picture (tweaked for more brilliant color as my scanner is a bit meh when it comes to saturation of color and the shiny). Anyway. Yep. Lift.

I am feeling like the whole painting is basically unstable, so now I will have to spray some workable fixative on it and then a coat of matte medium or soft gel or wax or something. I scanned it before deciding.

Live and learn! (Wait, was that my primary school motto??) I am not giving up on OPEN acrylics however. I will have another go at it. This time, leaving the Thinner alone and using glazing medium instead, and I will try and be more patient as I go onto the next layer.

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