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Contemplating enduring color.

April 2, 2018

 "Contemplation" 36"X48" acrylic and alkyd painting © DMR 2018


Technically, this is a mixed media painting. I started drawing with watercolor pencil, and then poured acrylic washes into my drawing. While I had a general idea of what I wanted to accomplish, those half-circles of dripping paint on white primed canvas determined it's final direction.


I intensify the colors or define the shapes with alkyd paint. Alkyds are made with an alkyd resin binder and modified with a non-yellowing drying oil for optimum color retention, excellent durability, and rapid drying time. Think of them as fast-drying oils. I use alkyd paint when I want to intensify color, and make sure the acrylic paint color stays true.


I went to see a show of the The Washington Color School artists some years ago at the Corcoran Gallery  I was dismayed to see how some of my most favorite paintings had faded! Vibrant color fields had dulled. This was because artists had poured and dripped on unprimed canvas, had failed to varnish to protect finished paintings, or had thinned the acrylic paint to the point that it had become brittle and  had flaked off like colored chalk-dust.

Today we know more about the durability of acrylic paint. Paint technology continues to evolve, and artists continue to play with mixed media in all it's forms. I love how acrylic paint can mimic watercolor paint, but it can also fade like watercolor.  I use acrylic polymers to thin my paint and make every effort not to over-dilute (more than 50% water). Glazes with alkyds and finishing varnishes follows best practices so that patrons don't wake up to faded paintings in future years.



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