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Continuing To Explore Acrylics

October 13, 2017

I’m slowly beginning to find my way with acrylics. The only similarity I’ve found between gouache and acrylics is they both dry very fast. Beyond that, it’s a whole new ballgame. Fortunately, much of what I’ve learned about painting still comes into play, but there are some dramatic differences between the two media and I’m learning by trial and error. What I’ve posted here are the two latest pieces, still not complete, but far enough along to share.

Along The North Fork 900

Along The North Fork, 16×20, Acrylic

Both of these are views taken on the San Gabriel River that passes near our home. It’s a short walk, which affords me the opportunity to take lots of reference photos, which these paintings are taken from. Along The North Fork looks downriver from the landing below the RV park, and is a view we see often

A walk downriver takes us to this spot, and I’ve selected the view looking back upriver. I chose this scene because it’s more complicated and I needed the challenge. It’s allowing me to develop new skills and techniques in a new medium.

The painting size was requested by my new gallery.  I’ve chosen to use acrylics because the finished painting doesn’t require any special treatment, whereas gouache called for either varnish or mat and glass.  I did have to pull the french easel out of storage, because my Easyl Lite doesn’t work well with 16×20.

Morning on The North Fork 900

The rocks in the paintings are limestone, found in abundance here in central Texas, and a standard part of most Texas landscapes.  As part of my education, I’m going back and studying some historically famous Texas painters, such as Julian Onderdonk and Porfirio Salinas as well as more contemporary painters like Bob Wygant and James Robinson. Of course, there are always things to learn from western artists like Howard Terpning, who has always been a favorite of mine.

At 73, open heart surgery has given me a new lease on life and I’m moving forward with new work.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Kathryn permalink
    October 13, 2017 10:40 pm

    Beautiful work, Ralph. You are not just becoming a great Texas landscape artist, you ARE one. Your work matches the quality and authenticity of the landscape artists you mention. Bravo!

    • October 14, 2017 7:53 am

      Thank you for those kind words, Kathryn. I appreciate it!

      • Kathryn permalink
        October 14, 2017 12:00 pm

        I recommend this hardcover book/catalogue: Julian Onderdonk, American Impressionist by William Rudolph; Dallas Museum of Art & Yale University Press, Copyright 2008. You will see many works from private collections you may never have seen before.

  2. October 14, 2017 9:36 am

    It’s good to see you painting again, and having a gallery behind you. I’m packing up pieces for a Christmas in the Country sale with a Local gallery, and surprised myself to find gouache pieces almost equal watercolor. Quite a change. Good luck with your larger pieces!

  3. October 24, 2017 4:55 pm

    These are lovely. I too love gouache and they are most definitely different. I still struggle with acrylic tho am finding my way by using more water[little bit more] in the paint and sometimes a sta-wet palette. I prefer no palette and just the paper on my table[yes, messy]. 🙂

    • October 25, 2017 9:47 am

      Thanks, L’Adelaide. I’ve realized I need to try using a wet paper towel or something to make the acrylics wet a bit longer.

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