Is Mixed Media the Best of Both Worlds? Part 1

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The area of mixed media is seldom explored by artists. The great majority of artists tend to stick to their favorite medium, but how many have considered there may be a “best of both worlds?” The perfect medium has not been introduced into the market yet, but combing mediums can get you close enough to one. Let’s first start out with a general run-down on what the four main mediums have to offer and their drawbacks:

Very helpful comparison of art mediums! | ArtistsNetwork.com

Now that we have pointed out the advantages and disadvantages of each medium, let’s see how we can use mixed medium to overcome the latter.

Acrylics and Oils Combined

To avoid intermixing or slipping with oils, you can do the entire block-in with acrylics. This will cut down on your solvent usage. Winsor and Newton published on their website that an underlayer of acrylics is suitable to receive a layer of oils on top as long as the first layer is not thick and has completely dried. The final result will be cleaner, fresher colors. This way you can also foresee how light you want your highlights to be because oils dry identical when wet and will not darken once they dry. Due to the thickness of the vegetable oils in acrylics, I tend to have a problem creating very thin lines, such as twigs on bare trees, cracks in barn wood, thin fence wire, etc. I can successfully do this with acrylics on top of dry oil as long as the lines are thin. The water present in acrylics allows for more fluidity. Once you varnish the painting, all brushstrokes will be secured to stay. You can use the same varnish for oils and acrylic paintings.

Tips for painting with oil and acrylic, by Johannes Vloothuis | ArtistsNetwork.com
The blue-green water, gray-violet sky and the rocks were first blocked in with acrylics. The floating foam patterns, the eye of the wave and the crashing wave were done with oils. In order to achieve the soft foam with diffused edges, I added a very thin layer of Linseed oil over the entire acrylic block-in once it was dry. I was able to blend and thin out the mist to my heart’s content. The floating foam did not mix in with the wet blue green water. The very fine mist cannot be done in acrylics except with an airbrush. The highlights on the rocks were added with oils as well.

Tips for painting with acrylic and oil, by Johannes Vloothuis | ArtistsNetwork.com
The water reflections are pristine and the glistening, blue water did not blend in and lose its clean, fresh look because of the mixed media.

Stay tuned for the next post in this blog in where you will be able to see how to mix pastels and watercolors.

“The Complete Essentials of Painting Water” and other video courses are available at NorthLightShop.com. North Light has also just released a new eBook written by Johannes titled Landscape Painting Essentials. Join his online art classes at http://improvemypaintings.com.

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