Your Acrylic Paint Primer
monochromatic.jpg Monochrome if black is not to your liking, raw umber works and mixed with a blue, Ultramarine or Prussian the effect works quite well to produce a blackish or darkened shadow or shaded effect.

complimentary.jpg Complementary, this example carries black and white also. the shading it seems can be the mixing of complements with a bit of black added. This would of course increase the darkness of the shadow.

analogous.jpg Warn and Cool, to my eye this is almost mono chromatic and definitely monotone. there is a bit of tinting and shading added to increase the darkness and lightness.
I would ask you to not only examine the cool/warm and vise versa but also the warm/warm and cool/cool, such as orange and yellow or red and yellow and even cool yellow and warm yellow. the effects produced are very entertaining to the eye. This effect can be seen in watercolor as a result I suspect of the amount of water added to the watercolor or even the separation of the water and color where the artist is painting with just water. See below

apple and pear 100dpi.jpg shaded with complements and black or raw umber.

Examine the complementary painting for acrylic and watercolor. What difference do you see?

Acrylic Paint

Invented by Leonard Bocour and Samuel Golden

Made from acrylic resins, 1934, company Rohm Haas, Philadelphia.
Magna paint as it was called by Bocour and Golden was first used as paint in the 40s. The paint was still a petroleum product-mineral spirits.
Aquatec, by Bocour was available in the 50s as a commercial paint. By now it is water-soluble.
Sold as latex for house paint.
The history of the actual paint we use goes from Mexico and Ohio, two separate companies both trying to do the same thing. ! 950’s. Painters and tradesmen start experimenting with this Latex acrylic plastic, water soluble paint. Manufacturing finds way to make it cheaper while also destroying what made it good. In general, more filler and binder less pigment. There were also different fillers and binders being used which lessened the nature of being a good fine art material. 100% acrylic is still the best house paint and the best fine art water-soluble paint.
Acrylic is fast drying.
Has many mediums that can be mixed in to change the nature of the paint by changing the viscosity, body, drying time even the weight of the paint while not reducing the pigment that much.

Basically there are two grades, student and artists’ grades. This is a matter of economics and filler.

Mediums are additives. They change the character of the paint or the viscosity and body. One affects the other,

Paint already comes in certain body types, regular (toothpaste) and heavy body (really thick toothpaste).
If we change the body we affect the viscosity. The heavier the body, the less viscosity. So besides the regular and heavy body paints, companies make fluid paints.
Fluid paint flows. This stuff has no body to speak of. It is not water, but it is not toothpaste either. It is a little less thick that cream and it does flow off the brush.

Golden now makes Open paints. They are of a regular consistency and have a slower drying time. These actually kind of mimic oil paint.

Then there is the craft line. These paints are used for covering craft projects of paper to wood to ceramic. They tend to dry matte. And are great for faux finishes. They usually are not 100% acrylic so I would not use them to paint with.

To cover all the mediums would take more time than I am giving to this article. Suffice it to say that if there is something you want to do with your paint then there is most likely a medium that will help you do it. If you want it heavy, thicker then heavy gel or extra heavy gel or modeling paste. And this also come in light modeling to heavy (concrete) modeling. This stuff tends to pastel your color. Gel tends to make the paint translucent. Mixing either needs to be a priority.

Drying time a problem, not any more they have a retarder though it can thin and matte your color dependent on the mixture.

And there are more.
Water color and acrylic and both affected by water. some acrylics are used with or like water color and watercolors 4 basic techniques can be applied to acrylic paints

2f46d9d29edef29a5d25c31c413885a7.jpg Watercolor with pen

I will skip realism in favor of showing you the more extreme uses of acrylic paint, mediums and painters.The date would be late 40's to the 2000's
Morris Louis used Magna paint and mineral spirits based paint with Acrylic resins.
morris lewis 2.jpg

Morris Louis


Ken Noland used Acrylics and rollers as well as brushes. His paint was applied very wet/thin.

Ken Noland


Larry Poons, was constantly experimenting with viscosity, mediums, ways to apply his paint until now he is back to brushes. Below his paints are poured and thrown at canvass tacked to the walls. Before these they were pooled on the floor. The one above was painted very thin and mapped out, planned according to his color scheme. The poured paintings were the result of LETING the paint do the mixing or work.


Above Poon's Studio during the poured paintings.
Poon's latest work and his studio


Jules Olitski and Poons seemed the most daring early on in the color field school. Both worked thin and then Olitski started to spray. the paint was very thick almost like drips. The nozzles on the spray guns would be drilled out. The painting began to "WORK" when the strips of color were added to the sides.


Olitski a thinnish spray painting
below is an example of a very controlled wet on wet technique early in his career. This would not have been possible with out acrylics as oil would have yellowed the bare or raw canvas. it was important that the color embedded itself into the canvas for flatness.

One of Olitski's puddled paintings, using lots of gel and medium.



Late in his career Olitski returned to painting by hand, as seen above, the paint was very thick and batter like. you can see in the picture the container he used to mix in.Some color was then sprayed on top of the textured paint to obtain to my eye a shadowed affect. See below.

Below, critiquing a painting with the critic Clement Greenburg who was a pivotal character for a lot of successful painters in the colorfield school.

Crating one of Olitksi's large scale paintings.
One of his paper paintings to show brush marks

Olitski's late paintings. What has transpired?
Sam Gilliam used a dying or staining technique

These painting and collages are by Larry Zox. you see staples and paper, canvas and acrylic paint of varying bodies
below a very "neat" Larry Zox

Pollack used latex (early acrylic) oil, enamel, and whatever else he could afford. His painting took for ever to set up and dry and during this process many things happened like expansion and contraction when one type of paint layed over another.
Staining and pouring was Helen Frankenthaler technique. this was achieved with the Magna paints and acrylics. These painting would not have happened with oil.
The affects of gel and modeling paste

using stencils and staining

a medium addtion.

images-2.jpg heavy bodied gel

Obtaining a gritty sand like texture.