I was determined to celebrate May 1st by completing this painting of the Hawaian Geese. It was in danger of going off the boil because I’d diverted my attention to other work. Part of the trouble was that the ripples in the water – that I considered were an important element in the composition – took me out of my comfort zone. So it became Acrylic to the rescue.
When I show it I suppose I’ll have to describe it as ‘Mixed Media’. I hate that designation – because it covers a multitude of sins – and would much prefer to use ‘Water Media’. I‘ve tried using my preferred designation but it just confuses people.
That said incorporating Acrylic into my working method creates a wonderful sense of freedom because it extends your range of choices. Traditional watercolour places its own constraints – notably transparency – which in its way is what distinguishes the medium and what most people look for.
The watercolour tradition however encompasses greater diversity. I remember Ken Howard RA wrote somewhere that, when using watercolour, he liked to play off opaque passages against transparent ones. This is a property that becomes possible by using traditional Chinese White. Acrylic offers even more opportunities to exploit expressive brushwork in a painterly rather than realistic fashion.