June Flint Hills #2, acrylic, 36×36, ©Chris Willey

This is my latest work. Here it is summer and the ground is almost as brown as winter.

This is done in acrylic, which can be a tricky medium. I used regular acrylics for the beginning work and finished with Golden Open acrylics. Regular acrylics can get thick and painterly. They dry fast and that allowed me to move on to the next thing, correct, refine, etc. Golden Open acrylics allow for blending and have much more of an “oil paint” feel, but it is recommended that one not go too thickly with this paint. Regular acrylics are pretty bulletproof, without too much worry about fat over lean, etc. The Opens have a few rules. As long as you follow them, you should be happy with the combination. Generally, one doesn’t have the same concerns about cracking or yellowing that one does with oils. Acrylics are a great studio material — they keep my space pretty solvent free. They are also great in a classroom for similar reasons. As we all spend more time indoors with our conditioned air, it is important to protect the air quality and your health and acrylics seem to be a good solution.

I still paint with oils. I still really like oils. But when I paint in oils, I have to worry about the fat over lean principles. I can’t just endlessly paint over canvases. I have to worry about yellowing and cracking. They paint beautifully. I’m not giving them up, but every year I find that I can do more and more with acrylics. It is good to have an arsenal of materials and be able to pick the one that works best for the specific painting. For this painting, acrylics (regular followed by open) were a great solution.

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