Open Studios: Questions that people asked Part 2

By Sally Pudney on 17th October 2015

‘Is this oil or acrylic?

‘What kind of acrylics do you use?’

‘What do you paint onto?’

Lots of people asked these questions. Here are the answers.

I never use oils, all my paintings are acrylics. I use them completely undiluted and mixed straight out of the tube onto a Windsor & Newton ‘stay wet’ palette with a palette knife.  I think because the paint is thick and brush marks can be seen, they can easily be mistaken for oils, though, so I’m never surprised when people ask.

I mostly use Windsor & Newton Acrylics, and Golden Acrylics, but also have a few Daler Rowney ‘Cryla’ heavy body acrylics – I think these are quite old tubes, and I’m not sure if this is still available. I have them sorted into three plastic boxes, one for neutrals – the greys, umbers, siennas, whites, browns; one for all the blues and greens; one for the reds, oranges and yellows, including some odd colours like ‘potter’s pink’! The three boxes sit on a little table that fits underneath my easel.

Q&A from OS 2

I have to admit I have far too much paint! Usually I only use six or seven colours plus titanium white for any painting, but I can never resist buying a new interesting colour!

I also use Daler Rowney FW Acrylic Ink, in a few neutral colours. White is particularly useful as it is a very intense white, but is, of course, much more liquid than the paint, so it can solve specific problems of applying a bright white accurately to a small area. I use the white acrylic ink a lot in the dinghy paintings.

Recently I’ve also started using Sennelier Oil Pastels, mostly for landscapes, but also in some of the ‘From my Garden’ series. They are useful for adding flecks of clear colour over an acrylic background; I used them in the trees of ‘Essex Field Path II’ and on the buttercup fields in ‘Cymbeline Meadow’ and ‘Summer Afternoon on the Colne’, for example.

Q&A from OS 3

I keep them in a little box on a stool beside the easel, loosely sorted into colours – although what that bright red is doing where it is I have no idea!

I use an assortment of different boards to paint onto. Mostly it will be Windsor & Newton Canvas Board, which comes in a good range of sizes. It comes primed, but I always give it one more coat of Acrylic Gesso Primer, as it gives the surface a bit more ‘tooth’ which I like. I also use hardboard, and sheets of thin (3mm) mdf, both of these mostly for larger paintings, or unusual sizes. The mdf needs two coats of primer, but I find the hardboard generally needs three to get a good surface.

Next I’ll be answering questions I was asked about brushes and other tools.

Hope you are enjoying the weekend whatever you’re doing. 🙂


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