Friday, February 17, 2012

A Question on Transitions

by Eric Fortune
Hey Eric,

I had a quick question I was hoping you could help me with. You say that you use thin layers of acrylic washes, are you using regular acrylics, liquid acrylics or something else? I've been using regular Golden acrylics for washes but when I thin down the paint too much the pigment doesn't go down too smooth. Also, with whatever you're using, are you able to pull any of the color back up should you need to? I like using acrylic washes b/c of the muted tones I can get but have had to switch to watercolors b/c of the less than smooth washes and ability to pull color back up but am now getting colors that are way too bright.

Anyway, thanks for the help, hope I'm not taking up too much of your time.

I shot another video to try and answer this question. I put emphasis on experimenting and practicing. The more we practice the more we learn and refine our work, technically and conceptually. Another important factor to acknowledge is that these things can take a lot of time and patience. But if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. If you're not happy with how you're paintings are turning out perhaps you're not quite finished yet.

In this particular case it seems the person may be going back and forth between watercolors and acrylics. I have nothing against mixed mediums. So perhaps a combination of the two will suit you best. As for color, I usually keep a test strip of watercolor paper that I brush colors on to in order to see if the colors actually look the way I want them to. Test out your colors on a sample sheet of paper first. If it's too intense make appropriate adjustments. With my technique I would either tone it down with other colors and/or thin it out with more water. Hope this helps.


  1. Nice video! Thank you.

    The fine-art world isnt too happy about them, but I like using Americana acrylics. They dilute well & not too granular as they are already fluid, they dry rather matte but remain absorbent (to a degree) so big and small washes are still possible afterwards without the wash sliding around on a glossy ground. They are also super-cheap & a matte varnish will bring all the various sheens together at the end.

    How the colors will look after some 50 years of UV-attack? No idea but I'll be practicing playing the harp by then ;-)

    Some grain will always be there, as you said about the pockets in the paper. Its not a bad thing however.
    Acrylics dry permanent so lifting off color is not going to be possible. All mediums have their own advantages & drawbacks.
    Maybe Golden Fluid Acrylics will dilute better than their normal paints?

  2. Wow; excellent! I've watched a lot of your videos but missed, until now, getting quite how dry and pencil-like your detailing/rendering process is. Got caught in the terminology I guess, since this is the first time I'd heard you refer to it as scumbling instead of glazing, which seem like two very different approaches, wetness-wise, to this long-time watercolorist. And your opacity tour of Oliver Nocturne was definitely eye-opening! Very generous and much appreciated.

  3. What a fantastic video, thanks Eric! It's interesting to see how you choose different techniques depending on the object you are painting. Following the bead of the wet paint to keep things smooth seems so obvious now, I can't believe I haven't worked that one out already. Your breakdown of Oliver Nocturne is also incredibly illuminating (pardon the pun).

  4. I'm glad you find the video informative. Sometimes I go on tangents and feel like I'm repeating things people don't care about. Always happy to be of service. And always appreciate questions.

  5. Nico, Golden fluid acrylic is the paint of the gods. It does dilute well for washes and especially for glazes. Sorry for answering for your Eric but I'm in your mind.

  6. this video was really helpful and inspiring. Thanks for taking the time to put that together.


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