A face, using different mediums

I really want to start pushing my techniques a bit, if only to try new things and learn something.

I recently bought a starter pack of Golden Open Acrylics in ‘Modern’ colours. They’ve been sitting in their packet for a while, so I thought it was time to give them a try.

I sketched out a face onto watercolour paper using water soluble pencils. As this was just an experiment I didn’t take too much time checking the balance etc – and actually this is an error I usually make, to dive straight in and think it doesn’t matter because it’s a throw away piece. One day I’ll end up regretting it!

I then did an under painting using the open acrylics. As there’s no black in the set I had, I mixed blue, green and red for a dark colour.

The red colour is mainly from the water soluble pencil.

I then used red, yellow, white and the remainder of the dark mix to paint in the flesh tones. I really liked the texture of the Golden Open Acrylics – so smooth and creamy. An utter joy to work with. I realised as I painted that working on watercolour paper probably defeated the purpose a bit as it grabs the colour quite easily. Still, the paint didn’t feel so ‘sticky’ when being blended as my normal paints do. I decided to leave him a bit rough, like this:

The next day I was inspired to push things a bit further after reading this post by the wonderful artist Gillian Lee Smith, where she talks about oilsticks. I remembered I had some Shiva Paintsticks that I’ve hardly used, so I found them and started to go over the acrylic portrait. Now, Gillian gets a lovely atmospheric texture but I’m guessing a combination of the relatively smooth watercolour paper, the thin acrylic layers and my own style meant my layer of oilsticks just smoothed things out. I soon lost my detail and was puzzling how to get it back as the sticks are quite large and not precise, and I think I’m right in thinking you shouldn’t use acrylic over oil.

I then remembered I’d bought some water soluble oil paints, so I rummaged around for those and used the black, green and white to touch up.

This was the result:

I am quite pleased with the result, given that it was a quick work (probably under two hours in total) and that I wasn’t thinking too hard about it.

What did I learn? A couple of things:

1) I’m now motivated to explore the Open Acrylics a bit more. Next time, I’ll use primed canvas board or acrylic paper and see whether this combination will be the answer to my blending frustrations.

2) I really loved the hands-on technique of the paintsticks. I liked the control of laying down a solid colour and blending with my fingers, although this was much harder in smaller areas and I lost detail.

3) The water mixable oils over the paintsticks was a joy. I loved the way they went down on the paper and blended. I’m definitely going to explore this paint more, particularly as it’s available locally.

4) I need to work on pieces for longer if I want to develop the atmosphere and style that I admire in other artists’ works. I stop before a piece is even done to a basic level, let alone allowing it to develop.

5) Painting is fun!


One thought on “A face, using different mediums

  1. Hi Jenny! thanks so much for mentioning my blog and art and the links to my post. This is a wonderful piece!! i love the boldness and the character in the face!! I always use acrylics first and then go in with oil sticks and add pencil and pastels for details so stick with it – you are finding your own way! Brilliant

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