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I recently went back to painting in acrylics, after painting solely in oil for about a year..Guess what, I was really disappointed with the results. I found that the pigment quality just didn't match up to oil. So where was I going wrong?
Firstly the texture felt weak in comparison to oil, so I bought a heavier body paint. This felt better in use, but still I questioned the pigment quality. After handling oil, I also felt I needed a retarder to slow down the drying time
I then realized the  brand I was using, which I have LOADS of, is just  one step up from student quality.Off I went again and looked up an Artist's quality brand.
Finally after three days in search of a synthetic version of oil.. I got pretty close , and am pretty happy with the results. But then again "pretty close", is no substitute to the "real deal"???

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Tried the Winsor and Newton artist quality acyrlics but just can't take to them either, ok for under coat perhaps but does not compare the feeling with oils - for me anyway
A lot of the Americans on Wetcanvas use a slow-drying acrylic called "Golden Open". Appears to behave similar to oil paint, but dries in about 15 minutes. I don't know if it is available this side of the pond though. I don't know either if it has the usual colour shifts when drying that most acrylics have ( a bit like watercolour, the darks dry lighter and the lights darker).

I had a very positive experience with acrylics about 25 years ago. Having produced typical muddy, amateur oil paintings for a number of years, I was suddenly able to produce stuff which looked much better. I probably did about 20-30 acrylic paintings over a year or so before reverting back to oils. Funny thing was that by then my oils had improved too. My conclusion is that working in acrylics gave me confidence and enabled me to develop a lighter and more controlled "touch". So I think it's a great medium for anyone new to landscape painting (and that definitely does not include you, Karen!).

The quick-drying property of traditional acrylic paint enable the beginner to paint "alla prima" without unintential disturbance of previous underpainting, but the downside is that the same property makes edge control/variation almost impossible. One of the keys to getting a sense of "visual reality" in landscapes is keeping distant masses and areas outside the main focus soft and fuzzy, much like a portrait photo shot with a zoom lense. This is not possible with traditional acrylics, so even if done well, landscapes in this medium tend to look more photo real than visually real. Nothing wrong with that of course, if that is your intention, and it is for many, but it would not be my preferred style.

If you find something like Golden Open that behaves like oil paint let me know, because I'm getting a lot of oil paint on myself and on the car on my way home from paint-outs these days! It would be great to be able to carry dry paintings home!
The newest version of Winsor and Newton artist grade acrylic which is replacing their 'Finity' brand and is called Artists' Acrylic, lays claim to retaining its tone upon drying thanks to a new, colourless binder. The older binders were whitish but dried clear and this caused the shift in tone on drying which you refer to.
I have to declare an interest here, for anyone who doesn't know me as I sell the stuff.

But acrylics generally have a similar problem as alkyds, which is. in comparison with oils, the binder just will not carry as much pigment, and so they tend to feel somewhat insubstantial if you use oils a lot. Note that the heavy body acrylics are not just ordinary acrylic with extra pigment.

There are a range of new 'Open' acrylics which stay wet for longer. Golden's are well known and respected brand and you can certainly buy them online in Ireland. However, the fast drying of acrylics relative to oils is a different problem to their having less pigment. W & N have not altered the drying time of their new artists' acrylic as they reason you can modify it with retarders if you want to but many artists prefer fast drying rather than find it a drawback. If not, you may as well use oils anyway?

Artist & Illustrator magazine did a good brand comparison in a recent issue which I'm sure I can find for anyone interested.
Hi Karen,
Have you thought of trying Chroma Artist's Atelier Interactive Acrylics? They are different from Golden Open in that they do not form a 'skin' and dry completely differently from other artist's acrylics. The website gives lots of info about the working qualities of Atelier Interactives, and several helpsheets and full painting demo videos. Well worth a look. I became interested in them because it is possible to keep them workable for a much longer time than normal acrylics, and they would be very suitable for plein air work because of their sheer versatility re drying times, which can be adjusted with several different interactive mediums. Or you can spray the painting with a fine mist of water as soon as it feels 'tacky' and keep it open longer. I just got delivery of a couple of tubes today, looking forward to trying them out.
Suppliers here are The Art Materials Co, and Bradbury Graphics, Belfast.
Btw, the painting challenges were a great idea. More please! They would be great for daily painting practise.
All the best
Thanks Phil....Thanks for all that information, I'll certainly look into them.
golden is now available in evans art supply shop in dublin. their acrylics are amazing. it's almost like painting with a completely different substance. went to a little workshop thing they were doing to promote them and got a free sample pack. hours of fun. they have stuff that's like ink, and then this other thing that makes your paint like honey *bounces up and down with enthusiasm...* yeah you should probably check it out yourself next time your up. i'm guessing what i look for in a paint is quite different to other people.

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