Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Oct 28 - The Acrylic Question, Open/Interactive?

Many of you are awaiting my take on the Interactive (Atelier) and Open (Golden) acrylics--those paints that increase working times so that one can change or rework a passage of paint well after the traditional drying time of "normal" acrylics. I went to the workshop at the Art Expo in Pasadena last Saturday, and in the company of a couple of friends painted with these acrylics.

This post will be rather long as I go into my impressions, and I hope you'll bear with me. If you're not an artist, perhaps you'll skip to the end for the information about these two paintings.

I first got ahold of the Atelier Interactive acrylics, at the booth for Atelier and with the palette of the artist doing the display. I pulled out a pre-textured canvas (fiber gel) and after asking permission, painted the landscape with the fence (second image, left on the bottom). It is 7 x 5 inches on textured canvas board.

The Atelier Interactive colors were not nearly as bright--although I must admit that Atelier didn't have available my Color System Twelve, and I was working with two blues, two reds and two yellows--the popular idea of having primaries in "one of each temperature"--which is NOT my System--and the painting shows the limits of using that formula. This painting is bland, to say the least.
The colors available to me in this quick, out-of-my-head study (kneeling by her chair, painting in my hand) were:
Thalo Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Napthol Red Light, Napthol Crimson, Cad Yellow Light, Arylamide Yellow Deep. No earths, no greens. All that you see mixed there are created from these six colors plus white.

With these Interactives, one has to use a mister of water and/or an "Unlocking Formula" mister to reopen the paint for working on it again. In other words, it did dry, and this was the HUGE drawback for me--I didn't know if it was dry, and thus would put a layer on top of it, and without unlocking or rewetting it, the Interactives would mislead me into thinking they were wet, or dry, or who knows what. I was looking for the re-working phase and length of being able to work the paint. Didn't find it, as I had to spritz BEFORE I painted--an extra step for this artist. Even though this painting is bland because I didn't have my Color System colors at hand, I was very dissatisfied with the working structure of these acrylics in having to add a second mister bottle to the mix.

Now, on to the Golden Paints "Acrylics Like Oils" workshop, where I spent a much longer time working with the colors, and was able to assemble the entire Color System pigments before beginning work. I did three paintings during the session, and the one above was the second. You can immediately see that the Color System comes through in giving the brilliance of the cadmiums a place to "play". But I'm not comparing the colors here--both manufacturers have a full range of the pigments. However, I liked one feature of these Golden "Open" acrylics--the device to increase working time was contained in a little bottle that was dripped on the palette, just like any medium. No spritzing, although a spray bottle of water can be used if one needs to thin paint. The "Thinner" which is what they call it, allowed me to really work the paint WAY beyond normal drying times after making my mixes and applying them to the canvas. Glazing with thin paint over semi-dry passages was fantastic. Blending was outstanding on wet passages. The paint stayed wet on the palette longer, too. It was more what I'm used to using with oils, and the handling of them is more equal to that medium.

So, to compare: I prefer the Golden Open Acrylics, because it is based upon a firm platform of current knowledge in how to handle paint. Only limit--no thick impasto passages (thicker than a penny, e.g.) because thick passages take a longer time to set up. Had I had the full Color System with the Atelier, I might have had a different opinion, but the need for another spritzer bottle was a major turn off.

I've filled out my System colors with the Open Acrylics, and in the weeks ahead will be painting in more traditional oil-like fashion with these new acrylics. Ought to be interesting! But first I'll finish up the horses in landscape tomorrow.

Both of these 7 x 5 inch acrylic paintings are available for $100 until next weekend, when the second one will be going into the Riverside Art Museum's Show, "Off the Wall". The second one is also a small study for the next larger landscape painting with horses.

And Chiron the Andalusian is HERE! Such fun to have a young horse around. Pictures with my next post!

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Anonymous said...

The first one has a much shorter value range than the 2nd one, and it doesn't look like any colors were used at their full saturation (right out of the tube). The 2nd one looks fantastic though. Have either of these been altered in photoshop?

Elin Pendleton, AAEA, WAOW said...

Yes, I was mixing triadic combos, and the limited palette of the Atelier available to me really made getting good darks difficult. I wish I'd had an opportunity to use the full Color System palette to do a creditable comparison. And no, there was no color or value manipulation in Photoshop. Thanks for writing.

Joyce said...

If you smudged your colours in the second painting, it would have looked more like the first painting, I think. You are obviously using a different technique in the second painting.

Happy Lark Art Studio said...

Beautiful work, but the first painting would be improved if you used the same amount of Chroma colors as you did Golden in the other painting. I like your loose expressive style in landscapes. You are talented!
Too bad you couldn't get over having to use a mister: it's the key for me. I work with all brands and types owning an art supply store/studio. However, personally I absolutely LOVE the Chroma Atelier, because unlike Golden, I don't need two types of paint (Heavy body & Open) to really get the full effects. To me Open is really nothing more than glazes. Atelier's colors are beautiful when you actually use all the ones they offer. It seemed you had a lot more Golden colors than Chroma. I really don't see this as a comparison, more like a Golden commercial. Which when you ADORE a brand, it's easy to do. I will admit when I find something I love, I use it over and over. It's easy to promote something you love!
With that said, your paintings are beautiful, and I'm glad you found your personal favorite in Golden, as I have found mine in Chroma Atelier. As a working artist and studio owner, I love that Chroma Atelier gives me a full line and work-ability in one paint; without having to purchase both heavy body & open. I personally love the Mister as I can get water almost anywhere I go. I don't have to carry Golden's Open Flow bottle, mix it in thoroughly with colors and hurry before it gets tacky. The ultra-fine mister is portable, and water is plentiful.

Happy Painting,