Why use OPEN Acrylics for portraits?
by Cheri L Faline
If you want the best of all worlds then I recommend starting your portraits with OPEN Acrylic paints by Golden. If you love painting portraits using oil based paints then you can finish off your work with your favorite oil paint on top of any of the work you have done using OPEN Acrylics. There is no one or the other except you cannot start with oil and then paint with acrylics on top of your oil work. But put that in reverse and you can have it all!
When I first started using acrylic paint for portrait work it was very frustrating and disappointing. The problems were that regular acrylics dry very fast and then as if that isn’t frustrating enough when your trying to blend them they dry too quickly and then once they dry they are darker than the color you wanted! They tend to darken overnight so that your perfect skin tone is suddenly Bob Barker California Sun Tan burnt sienna! Regarding the quick drying problem, everyone said you could use a retarder to slow that down. Yes, you can but it adds a shiny slick look to your work. So then I was advised to use matte medium by any of the leading brands. That was a big improvement because it left your paint just perfect and did extend the drying time. The problem with matte medium is that it too dries fast and you are only given a few strokes before it creates a very nasty blistered area.
During my first year of learning to paint portraits most of my time was spent testing different mediums and paints trying to find the perfect “recipe” for skin tones and glazes. This took me many hours and my skills for realism and drawing suffered because I was too busy just trying to get the basics right. I had never painted anything before so I basically had to start at the beginning and I knew that there had to be a better way to achieve my goal of painting portraits without using oil based paints.
Of course, I am not going to tell you all these negatives without solutions but for now let’s start at the beginning and move through some of the lessons I’ve learned over the last 18 months. That may not sound like much time but I basically paint or study at least 40 hours a week consistently, just like I would if I was going to work at a job. I am very fortunate to be able to spend this time without worrying about an income because I am retired. Not everyone has that luxury and that is why I started this blog, so you could bypass all the trials and errors I had to go through and get right to the best part of being a portrait artist which to me is painting portraits and honing your skills. By the way, once I saw the word “skills” I knew that I could learn to paint portraits. All it takes is practice and the right paints, mediums and mentors.
Please share you own journey in the comments area, I would love to hear it!