-By Eric Fortune

The reason I’m emailing you is because I’ve been recently trying out using thin washes of acrylics.  Before I would do most of my work using oils or digital.  I’m still experimenting with my art and seeing which media better suits me at this time and I keep dabbling with acrylics.  I know you’ve posted numerous videos and images of your process but I’ve always wondered whether you completely work your paintings from light to dark just like watercolor or do you sometimes add lights with perhaps more opaque paint?  I’ve attached a small sketch I did today.  I understand your process requires numerous layers of washes and this just at a playing-around-point, but I was curious to your thoughts. Thank you.

For the most part I am moving from light to dark in a traditional watercolor like technique.  However, I have become more comfortable painting in opaquely or semi-opaquely when necessary or more efficient.  For example, when there is rim lighting or perhaps the highlight of an eyeball.  I try not to paint large sections opaquely if possible.  If the entire piece is mostly transparent and one swatch is opaque it may not come off as cohesive.  I’ve considered working a little more opaquely in general just to experiment but I haven’t really made time for that just yet.  If you’re using acrylics in a thinner application be sure to not just add white to gain opacity.  If you do everything can become quite chalky looking.  Have your photo ref or color comp close by and take careful note of the color and temperature shifts happening.  It also helps to have a piece of scrap paper to test your colors on before diving in.

Hope this helps some.  Of course, practice makes perfect.  You may spend years of your life perfecting a technique and still have more to learn.  Maybe that’s just me.

Here are some progress shots and a more recent pic of a piece that I’ve been working on for what seems like way too long now.