Taking the Slow Road - OPEN Acrylics

Trying Out OPEN Acrylics for the First Time

This last week I was able to splurge a little [not really, I found some old gift cards!] and bought some paints I've been wanting to try for quite some time now - Golden OPEN Acrylics - Slow-drying acrylic paints. I have been using Golden paints for a few years now and have found them to be of exceptional quality. The Open Acrylics are a bit expensive, but luckily I purchased mine from the UC Davis University Store where most of their paints and supplies are 30% cheaper than other stores - so, for 4 tubes of paint it was around $34. They will last me quite a while though so it is worth it.

Colors: Titanium White, Ultramarine Blue, Naphthol Red Medium & C.P. Cadmium Yellow Medium 20140830_113405-01

First Attempt

I started playing around with them by painting over an older painting I had laying around. I figured it could use some more life by way of brushstrokes and color and I did my best to make that happen. The image to the right is the improved version. 20140828_212051-01

Ripe Banana Still Life

Fruit is a food that I always have on hand in large quantities which makes it an easy subject for a still life. This time it was a bunch of bananas. This still life was different for me due to the fact that I tried some different lighting other than what I normally use. I usually use about 3 daylight light bulbs, which are a bit on the cooler side. But for this still life [and the one below it], I used 1 warm light bulb.

Intuitive Color Mixing

I found that this warm light made it more difficult for me to capture the highlights and other light areas while still keeping the color strength. At the same time I was worried about keeping the correct value structure - this was difficult because I needed white to change the value but I also needed some saturated color to keep the light warm. Intuitively, I had to mix in more yellow & reds [luckily my subject was already yellow] into the mixture to create the effects of highlights while still keeping some saturation, since adding white to any color dulls it.

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Richard Schmid's "Alla Prima" In an interesting coincidence, I started reading & skimming through Richard Schmid's book "Alla Prima" - which is a great source of painting knowledge. He states in some part of the book that for warm light, more yellows & reds should be mixed in - which is what I was intuitively doing for the banana still life earlier in the day. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you trust your gut feeling and just go with it. You may not know why you are doing it or how it all works, but it doesn't mean that you can't learn it later. Although, this is a rather simple example seeing that yellows & reds are generally warm colors - so it only makes sense. But I wanted to make that point. I recommend you check his book out if you ever get the chance - it is a little pricey on amazon but your local library may have it.

Apple, Basil & Grape Still Life

This one I painted a few hours after the Banana Still Life. I will say that I have enjoyed using these slower drying paints so far but it did take a little while to get used to them. These also give me more time & control over my edges, which is nice - and for those wanting to know how long they stay wet for: both paintings have dried 24 hours later. Of course, this also depends upon how thickly you paint - I don't paint super thick but lately I have been painting thicker than usual - at least in some areas of my paintings, usually highlights and such. So, to recap - they dry quicker than oils but slower than normal acrylics, which is just about right for me.. for now. Stay tuned for more paintings.

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Have you ever used these acrylics, and if so - what has been your experience with them?