Founded in 2002, the Society encourages the creation of watercolor at all skill levels and promotes interest, appreciation and enjoyment of watercolor and watermedia. Please feel free to attend one of our meetings. Monthly meetings are held on the first Wednesday of every month, at 10 a.m. at the Cincinnati Art Club, 1021 Parkside Place, Cincinnati, Ohio, unless otherwise noted.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
PROGRAM - MARCH 1, 2017 - FLUID ACRYLICS AS WATERCOLOR
Program – Deb Ward
Acrylics as Watercolor
March 1, 2017
Claudia Taylor, Program Chair, introduced Deb Ward, our presenter for
the March meeting. Deb is from
Indiana. She started working in watercolors
in the mid 1990’s. She began teaching
her craft in 2004. As part of this
teaching, she holds seasonal classes for the Cincinnati Recreational
Commission. She also teaches in
workshops that she holds at her Indiana home.
She has been the Viewpoint chair and is a past President of the Greater
Cincinnati Watercolor Society. Deb has
her Signature Status in multiple watercolor societies such as Georgia, Ohio,
Pennsylvania, Indiana and the Hoosier Salon.
She has been juried into shows of these societies as well as the
National Watercolor Society Show. She
has been published in Artist Magazine, Watercolor Artist Magazine and Acrylic
Works among others.
Deb explains the technique used in one of her paintings (Poured Yupo Peony)
featured in the book AcrylicWorks 2
Deb began working with fluid acrylics several years ago and
subsequently was asked by the manufacturers of Chroma brand acrylics to test
drive their product. She has found that
she really enjoys working with this variation of the watercolor approach to her
paintings. One of the biggest
differences in her handling of fluid acrylics versus traditional watercolors is
that she uses watercolors in a traditional manner; whites are created by
leaving the paper unpainted. In her watercolors,
black is also usually mixed from a variety of color mixes. However, when she uses fluid acrylics she
does use white in varying degrees of opacity, from a thin glaze to full white
accents. While she may still mix black,
as she does in watercolor, she will also use black directly as a tint or full
color in fluid acrylics.
Fluid Acrylics are similar to watercolor in that they can be applied in
glazes, which is the process of layering applications of color to build up the
overall effect. In fluid acrylics, the
process works from light to dark, which is also similar to watercolor. The difference in this process is that once
the fluid acrylic glaze or color application is dry, it cannot be rewetted, lifted
or modified in any way, as one can in watercolor.
Deb illustrated her application of fluid acrylics by showing us an in
progress painting she is working on with the fluid acrylics. Deb is unabashedly in love with working in
great detail. Her portfolio is filled
with exotic still life paintings where she composes interesting elements
against very beautiful and textural fabrics and patterns.
Deb uses a variety of references in her work. She gave a good piece of advice in that if
one uses a “product” within a painting, one must get permission in
writing. As Deb finalizes her
compositions, she will transfer varying parts of her painting onto her paper by
enlarging her photo images and transferring the line work.
When applying fluid acrylics, it is important to remember that fluid
acrylic color holds as they appear as wet, whereas watercolor typically dries
lighter than it appears when wet.
Acrylic resin holds pigment color due to its binder. Acrylics can easily be glazed over with other
colors. Acrylics can be applied as thin
or heavy as desired. As Deb works during
her painting process, she often sprays her palette of colors with water in
order to keep the acrylic paints workable.
Since she can’t reconstitute the colors by rewetting, Deb keeps a record
of color mixes and dried examples of colors that she is using in her current
painting so she can recreate colors in her painting palette. Deb has observed that some fluid acrylics
appear to granulate.
Deb will evaluate the composition of the painting she is working on in
order to determine the order of her painting process. She will often paint parts of the background
first so she can measure the impact of her foreground elements against the
background. She will also utilize liquid
miskit to help control the edges of lighter elements or areas. Deb has noticed that some acrylics are
thicker or different consistency than others.
She admits that she has learned this through trial and error and
During her painting process Deb explains that she has dedicated some of
her paint brushes to acrylic use. Once a
brush has been used for acrylics, it cannot be used for watercolors again. Deb cautions that it is very important to stay
aware of the dryness of paint on one’s brush during the painting process. Acrylic paint needs to be cleaned from the
brush immediately after use. Once it
dries, the brush is finished. A tip from
one of the club members, Helmut Kientz, suggests using Purell to help clean
brushes is very effective. Deb uses a
brush made by the Silver Brush Company, called “Black Velvet. This brush is a mix of synthetics and
Deb stated that acrylic additive mediums can be used with fluid
acrylics. Fluid Acrylics can be broken
down to a 100:1 dilution and the paint will still adhere. Different fluid acrylic brands can be mixed
together without any detriment. The
range of fluid acrylic colors matches the range of colors available in
As Deb continued working on her painting, she showed a variety of
techniques. She applied paint color
directly in a “drawing with a brush” application. She also utilized a sponge to dapple her
color in order to simulate the fabric texture.
She applied color wet-in wet for her egg shapes. She did confirm that acrylic colors can
result in “blooms” when working wet-in-wet, if one tries to apply color before
it is dry.
Deb emphasizes that as in watercolor, when working with thin acrylic
glazes, one needs to do a lot of pre-planning to organize the process of
layering the glaze colors. Deb explained
that she also pours with fluid acrylics, although she pours selectively with a
spotter in controlled areas, saving whites with miskit or tape. Deb encourages glazing as a wonderful way to
introduce depth in color within a painting.
Shadows in paintings should be created by utilizing a mix of colors that
are already present in the painting, so they don’t stand out or look foreign to
the color palette. Deb extolls the use
of “dirty” water to help cut the brightness of a color or whites. She also likes to mix her own
grays/blacks. One of her “go to” mixes
is Ultramarine Blue with Burnt Umber.
It was enjoyable to watch Deb work through her process of painting
incredibly detailed yet freshly engaging colorful paintings, that are her
hallmark. We also learned a lot about
the similarities and differences between watercolor and fluid acrylics. Thanks Deb.
Deb then spent time critiquing paintings that members brought in for
her review. All members are welcome to
bring paintings in for Critique at the conclusion of each monthly meeting.