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Doors Open for Acrylic Paint!
I’ve spent twenty-five
years painting with acrylics on canvas and other gessoed surfaces. Three
years ago, however, I discovered an entire new approach to acrylics when
I found Ampersand’s White Pastelbord. This new surface allows me
to expand the already versatile medium of acrylic paint.
|Step 1: Starting
I begin a painting, I first lay in washes of color. This establishes my
composition, values and palette for the painting. I prefer not to use acrylic
mediums with the acrylics because I've found I can achieve my desired paint
density by mixing my paint with water alone. This use of pure paint gives
me pure clear color and a rich surface texture that can get lost by mixing
in too much medium. With Pastelbord, the pigment is absorbed deeper into
its clay surface than on a traditional gessoed surface. This allows more
resonant color and also keeps my washes wet much longer, permitting me to
achieve the wet on wet effect of watercolors with my acrylics! This technique
allows me to retain clear concentrated color.
|Step 2: Using
Dry Brush Techniques
I lay in my washes, I have to decide what to use as underpainting for my
dry brush techniques and what to leave untouched as part of the finished
painting. Pastelbord plays an important part in this stage of my painting
process because the sandy surface tends to grab the brush more which shortens
my strokes and pulls off more paint than I am accustomed to. At first, I
was not sure how to deal with this because my past painting surfaces lent
themselves more to blending rather than leaving an active brush stroke.
By using shorter brush strokes, I am able to bring more life into my paintings.
|Step 3: Layering
clay surface helps me achieve a richness of color not found in other surfaces
I’ve worked with in the past. I begin layering complimentary colors
of similar value and allow much of the underpainting to show through. I
alternate layers of washes and drybrush to establish the continuity of colors.
In this painting, I used Quinacridone Gold to unify and smooth the layers
|Step 4: Blending
the Final Stages
not totally covering the Pastelbord with an opaque layer of paint, the final
washes continue to absorb into the board and tone the other layers of paint.
I continue this process until all the colors get along. The fracturing of
the dry brush technique and the unifying effect of the glazing creates a
visual blending and luminous depth of color. Using this process as a starting
point, I allow my emotions to take over, just as a musician draws from his
technical ability to improvise in the hopes of creating a resonant and provocative
effect. I encourage you to try using your acrylics with the white Pastelbord
and see what doors open up for you. For more information about Ken Muenzenmayer,
please visit www.coconutgrovegallery.com/muenzenmayer.html.
© 2001 Ampersand Art Supply Inc.