I bought my first acrylic paints in over 20 years about a week ago. I painted in acrylic for about 10 years, then switched to oils for another 10 years or so. But when I moved from my live-in studio to my home with my wife and cats I felt I really couldn't safely use oils and their solvents in the house.
Perhaps I could have switched back to acrylics but there was a problem with that too. No room was big enough for the really large abstract paintings I used to do. Since I switched from abstract to naturalistic about six years ago it made some sense to do my paintings in watercolor. It is traditionally used at a smaller size than many oils and it's pretty safe to use at home.
So I've used it, more or less starting from scratch, for the last six years. As much as I love watercolor and as much as I think I've improved with it there are still moments when I miss the freedom that acrylics and oils offer. So that was the impetus that got me to buy those acrylics recently.
I've spent a lot of time recently looking through photos and old sketches trying to find the subject for my first acrylic. The Bic pen sketch at top seemed like it might work as a painting. I could see myself finding a lot to play with in the water and foreground sand and rocks.
But last night I finally became a member of the Manayunk Roxborough Art Center Artists Coop. And there is a group show in less than two weeks! All of a sudden I started thinking about what I could include in the show.
Rather than undertaking a painting in a medium I haven't used in 20 years it seemed better to return to small watercolors. So that is the second image at top, a breeding male Kildeer seen at the wetlands pond at Morris Arboretum this spring.
Those orange washes on some of the feathers are just irresistible. I may touch this up a bit but I've already gone overboard with the background and lost a bit of the sparkle of untouched paper. So I'll do very little more.
I had thought I would use kildeer on my way to my first acrylic painting. Instead I ended up with a surprise watercolor painting. But I can't complain. Unless I turn it into complete mud there is always something appealing about watercolor. Acrylic will have to wait a bit.