Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Oils and acrylics

Here's a question I've been asked a lot of times: "I'm working in acrylics and I wonder: is it any use to buy your videos since you work in oils?" Well, for me it's always useful when someone buys my videos, but I'm not sure the glazing technique I use can be translated one on one to acrylics. It's been quite a while since I used them, and to be honest, I wasn't much good at it. They dried to quickly for my liking. Since then a lot of new stuff has come on the market, such as acrylic retarders. I never worked with them, so you won't get a lot of information out of me.

 Great, eh? A blog article, that doesn't give you any answers whatsoever. Or maybe just this: when you google 'glazing with acrylics' you get a gazillion hits, so I'm pretty sure it can be done.

In my previous blog article I told you about the importance of email addresses. I planned to write a second one about it, but found the subject a bit to boring for two consecutive entries. Some other time.

In the meantime, if you have tried glazing with acrylics, let me know!

No title yet, oil on panel, 85 x 150 cm


  1. Just one more thing to add to my previous comment: The medium mixture I have is about the consistency of cream soup.
    (I don't see my first comment posted yet. Let me know if it doesn't come through -- perhaps it might have been too long!)

    1. Hi Gayle, I'm afraid your first comment didn't get through indeed. Could you please post it again, or maybe mail it to: Thanks!

  2. I'm an acrylic painter and have purchased one of Janhendrik's amazing videos. It helped in so many ways such as understanding the big shapes in clouds, not to be afraid to paint BIG clouds, underpainting colors and establishing gradual blends of colors, understanding where shadows are and how to paint final highlights. Here are my tips to keep the acrylics flowing, while following Janhendrik's process.

    When using acrylics and especially for larger painting, you need generous piles of paint on the palette (and lots more white), a spray bottle that gives a nice even mist (not droplets!). Fill with distilled water (cheap to purchase at pharmacy) and add some acrylic retarder (no more than 20 parts water/1 part retarder). Also use a stay-wet palette (LARGE one for large canvases) and lightly mist over the blobs of paint every 1/2 hr to 45 minutes, or more often if in hot dry climate. Always put cover on when taking a break.

    In addition to this, I make my own mixing medium with about 1/2 distilled water, and 1/2 gloss gel medium (colors stay clearer than when using Matte) OR you can buy already prepared acrylic medium (but still dilute it with about 1/4 distilled water).. This should be the consistency of “cream soup”. ADD in a few drops EACH of acrylic retarder and acrylic flow medium. Keep in wide-mouth jar so larger paint brushes can be dipped in..

    I don't use plain water to dilute the paints (only to clean brushes). Before grabbing some paint on the brush, I dip the tip in the medium mixture (use more for transparent glazes) This will give a lot more working time if combined with regular misting. I mist from about 12 to 18 inches away (and same distance when I'm misting the palette). I use heavy body acrylics, so when I first set up a fresh palette and use above techniques, the paint piles will start to soften up (like butter that's been sitting in a warm place) but it's perfect for the underpainting and intial stages of the painting. Great for blending too.

    Another thing to try: if the area is very very large (over 6 feet) and on canvas (tends to absorb more paint), you could first brush in some medium directly on the canvas and mist as you go along, Then go back in with paint using above techniques

    At the very last stage of the painting, just about the very end, I'll squeeze some fresh paints for the final highlights and use then pretty much straight out of the tube, that is, I don't add medium, water, and don't mist as much. That way the highlights have more body.

    If the area you're working on starts drying too soon (feels tacky), best let it dry completely (about 20 minutes or less sometimes). While this is drying, spread some paint on the section next to it, but this time use a bit more medium to slow drying time even more. Mist over the newly painted section, then repaint the dried area and drag the paint into the 2nd area (that should still be wet) with feather-like gentle and varying short strokes for smooth blending of the two sections.

    No fear if this fails, just let it all dry and try again. Especially if you paint thin, Acrylics are very forgiving because you can put layers on top of layers without having to wait for a long time.

  3. Thank you so much for your comment, Gayle! Well written and very informative. It'll definitely bring some clarity to the questions I couldn't answer in my blog.