Painting plein air with acrylics often feels like a battle against their fast drying nature. In an arid environment they can dry on the brush between palette and canvas; not the relaxing “one with nature” experience I seek!
After weeks of happily gazing at iris (lesson # 20), I decided to try Golden company’s OPEN acrylics for plein air work by painting the iris fields at Long’s Garden . OPEN acrylics dry slowly – they stay wet longer on the palette and you can blend wet into wet (for a brief time) . Working with it is a bit like oil painting but without the mess, smell, and issues with proper layering of fat over lean.
The change of medium woke me up and calmed me down at the same time. I didn’t feel compelled to rush and remembered the joy of blending. Yet the piece was dry by the time I carried it home. To celebrate, I bought two new iris plants and set them up in the studio for a double portrait.
Golden Open has a thinner consistency than I like, so I added gel to all the colors – this led to greater transparency which led to multiple glazed layers.
Before deciding to pack these paints with my other ones for a summer on the East Coast, I needed one more test.
A single bloom from the garden posed three times as I worked on both canvas paper and watercolor paper.
The paints have been shipped and I will have them out next week in the Adirondacks at the Publisher’s Plein Air Invitational.
Right now, this slight shift in media has upped my passion, interest, and curiosity when I think of plein air painting. Always a good thing, don’t you think? You can’t prefigure what small shifts will do that for you, but you know it when it happens. Sometimes it’s fleeting and sometimes it lasts. Pay attention… you can’t follow your passion if you don’t know where it went.