Friday, 20 August 2010

Jordan - a sticky wicket!

Jordan. Acrylic on 240g textured canvass paper
(7x10 inches)

This is Jordan, who has been a friend of mine on MySpace and Facebook a number of years now. Like many young girls of her age, she often posts photos of herself but this is the first one I ever saw of her without braces on her teeth. I guess they've gone now and she can really smile with the best of us.

Jordan kindly agreed to let me do this painting and post it. I thought I would try acrylic this time, but I really got myself on to a sticky wicket with this one. Regular readers will know that I have only done one painting so far in acrylics, so I am really on unfamiliar territory with the medium. While acrylics give you more time than watercolour, they are quick drying and boy do they stick to the palette too! Before I could get down to more detail, the whole thing (and the paints) started to dry out on me, everything including the brushes got really sticky, so I eventually gave up on it, hastily adding a bit of background colour.

While this is a little rough for my liking, Jordan seemed very impressed with it. To be honest, I really need some tutoring with this medium or a lot, lot more practice. Anyway, here it is 'warts 'n all', ready for all to pull apart!


  1. Oh!....I get to be the first to comment!
    Can I say, that you've got some great brush work happening - especially in the background.
    I think this canvas weave paper is good .... how did you find it ?
    The sticky problem is so frustrating, and water alone doesn't seem to fix it much. I found investing in some flow medium a big help and in the summer here I also use a retarder sometimes which slows the drying.
    The colours in your painting are great Frank - they reflect Jordan's happy nature.

  2. I had thought of suggesting ..... Alice has already done that. Never mind its a lovely work.

  3. @Alice - thanks for the tip, I will look into retarder. Don't know if you have WHSmith outlets where you are Alice, but this is their own branded paper, which is half the price of Windsor & Newton. It's really thick and has a canvass texture and feel to it.

    @AK - thanks for commenting, it seems you and Alice have the same advice.

  4. Very charming portrait Frank! I love the colors. She looks like a fun, free spirited girl :)

    And her jeans look awesome, great job on those too.

  5. Thanks Crystal, funnily enough, the jeans were the fastest part to do in this painting - couple of minutes tops.

  6. Have you tried the slow drying medium? It's a clear gel that doesn't dilute the colours but does slow down the drying time. A good tip though is to use KY Jelly! It does exactly the same thing for a fraction of the price! That's a tip I learned from the incredibly talented Artist, John Myatt and it does help! Just squirt a dollop of it in your paint and mix it in before you paint. You can also keep a waterspray next to you and spray the area you want to keep movable, though it still doesn't allow much more time. Flow medium is great too.

  7. Thanks for the tips Sandra, maybe with a little help from my friends, I'll be master of this medium yet!

  8. I'm glad I read this! This is the same problem that I had with my first attempt at acrylic! I can see that you had problems with the paint, but as for the portrait itself, I think you must have started with a great sketch. Thank you Alice for the tips!

  9. I'm glad you read it too, Raena - your input is always so helpful. I've taken Alice's advice and invested in some 'flow improver', which apparently can be used with watercolour too.