Thursday, 25 March 2010

Spot The Difference

Watercolour painting

I've spent the last couple of days playing with paints. The torrential rain this week meant that I felt justified in doing this - how could I be doing those important outdoor jobs when the weather was so awful? I have for a long time been feeling the need to get the acrylic paints out and try and remind myself how to use them. It has been MANY years since I used acrylics, and I have to admit to being way out of my comfort zone. But you know, it was great fun, although I have mixed feelings about the results. It went through 'the Uglies' pretty badly in the middle - I thought it was going to need to be binned, but I persevered and the final result is the painting below. I was definitely hindered by having only large square brushes - I couldn't bear to sacrifice any of my precious, dearly beloved watercolour brushes. The colours are slightly muddy, not as zingingly clear as my usual watercolours, but I suspect that is simply because the acrylic paints are very cheap unbranded ones, whereas my watercolours are top of the range, professional quality. Still, wondering how they compared , I decided to repaint the image exactly using watercolours ( the top image). There are qualities I like about both mediums, and it was a fascinating little experiment. Which do you prefer?

Acrylic painting



The rain lessened for a brief moment, becoming that soft rain that I associate more with autumn than spring. I visited a friend, and took a walk to the top of her hill to gaze outwards. When I was a child we used to dare each other to climb the hill to the cross in the dark, telling ourselves ghost stories on the way. It never really scared us though - there is such a friendly feel at the rocky outcrop here. I noticed today that there is a tiny crescent shaped pool in the rock up here - a moon puddle.

29 comments:

Lori said...

I think I like the color in the top one. Using the brighter colors makes everything pop. The other is more quiet and subdued.

Maia said...

So lovely, you are an inspiration,

Terra said...

I prefer the top rabbit painting, it is a bit more bright, and that is a lovely cross that you visited.
I walked the way of the cross in Jerusalem one Easter many and many a year ago, and humbly appreciate the gift of Jesus which the cross symbolizes.

Amo House said...

Lovely paintings, but then I have a thing for hares, especially Moongazers. 9 at last count. The acrylics I like for texture too, especially on fur. Beautiful.

A mermaid in the attic said...

Both are beautiful, but I also really like the acrylic one for the texture in the fur!

Gail H. Ragsdale said...

Definitely the watercolor! Yours are as pure as any I have seen!

FairiesNest said...

They both have things that I like. The water colors are brighter and more eye catching, but the rabbit looks more "real" in the one done with acrylics...the fur more furry! :)

Jessie said...

How uncanny! I could have written that first paragraph! I think I'm just about over the 'ugly phase' with this painting and getting onto the more enjoyable bit. It's been 2 years since I've painted with acrylics and I had no idea how terrible my brushes were until recently, to think all those years I was using them in that state!xx

Dan said...

Hi Danielle
I like both pictures, but think I prefer the acrylics more for the texture of the fur, and I think the slightly muddy colours are more atmospheric.
The view from the top of the hill looks gorgeous!
Best wishes
Dan

Carolee said...

These are both beautiful!

Difficult to say which I prefer, but probably the watercolor for it's glowing quality. It's funny, I'm the opposite here - I work in acrylics all the time and it's been ages since I've used watercolors (although I do have all the WN paints and series 7 brushes, so suppose I should really use them, hehe)...the wrong brushes are a hindrance in either medium, but you're right not to ruin sables with acrylics - yikes! Have you tried the Loew Cornell synthetic watercolor brushes? I use them for acrylics, and they're inexpensive enough I can replace a couple every month. :)

~ Carolee

Yarrow said...

What a magical little place, on the hill. You do live in a wonderful place.

I've been playing with acrylics this week too, and can appreciate the comfort zone thing! I prefer the watercolour hare for illustration purposes and I would expect any cards or prints to be as clear. But I think the acrylic one would look warm and soft hanging on a wall, and so for that it's the one I most like.

It's a great experiment, and don't give up with the acrylics :)

First Draught Farm said...

Acrylic for me -- touchable!

Julia Guthrie said...

If I hadn't seen the watercolour version I would have said "What?? This was the painting you thought had gone wrong?? are you mad?" LOL
But I can see that the watercolour one is sharper, clearer, more vibrant...however I do think the acrylic one has it's own beautiful energy.
Not a 'wong-un' at all!!! :)

Madeleine said...

There's more light and transluscency in the first and the mood of the hare is clearly different. However, the second has a darker, more sombre mood and that goes with the much older, perhaps tired and care-worn hare.

I think the first painting looks more accomplished as far as the 'feel' and 'look' of the colours and, I suppose, brush-work/density and control of the paint.

SWo there you have it...an English teacher's wordy comments!

Like them both because equally effective moods created. Keep on with both types of paint.

Trekky said...

They are both great! I prefere the colours on the first one, it is bright and looks full of life. The second one has a bewitching feel to it.

Merri said...

I like the watercolors slightly better, I guess because the colors are brighter. however if I had only seen one picture and not both, I'd have thought it was great!
- The Equestrian Vagabond

HollyM said...

I think the watercolor. He is happier, less menacing somehow.The sun has lit him up.

Danielle Barlow said...

Thankyou everyone :) Isn't it interesting that everyone feels differently about them. I love the way you all tell me so much, and I really appreciate it. Personally, I prefer the watercolour for it's clarity, but feel I need to master the acrylics, and that ultimately, that is where I could achieve the vision I have in my mind's eye. So now, I will invest in some smaller brushes, and continue the learning process. Perhaps I'll try oils too?

Clare Wassermann said...

My daughter and I have been ogling over your hare for a couple of days now. Beautiful...

Mary Ann said...

It's like asking which child do you love more! The light in the watercolor, esp on the tummy of the hare is more moon-glowy, but the acrylic hare is just as beautiful, but in a different way. It's wonderful that you can channel these images from your imagination through your hand to the paper--a talent I am trying to cultivate.

Monique said...

Great experiment. They're both great. Acrylic hare is more solid and he's giving the viewer an eye..I agree that the texture in this one is great. Watercolour hare tones are more jewel-like... more ethereal, magic let's say. I guess it depends what Hare has to say.
And what a gorgeous crescent moon hilltop you walked to..Green, green.

phaedra96 said...

I think I like the watercolor better; brighter, clearer. JMHO.

KnitOneQuiltTooKristin said...

I much prefer the watercolors. It just glows! Interesting experiment though.

Coreopsis said...

Definitely the watercolor one (which I thought was your acrylic one, since I was reading what you had to say about the acrylics and looking at the picture at the same time--and thinking wow, I REALLY LIKE these colors, and they don't seem muddy to me). It is so LUMINOUS. But if I hadn't seen that one, I'd still like the bottom one. Great composition and colors.

Coreopsis said...

I sure know what you mean about the "uglies"--I have two drawings that have been pinned up in front of my art table for weeks now that I really need to finish. Most often, continued work pushes beyond that stage, but yes, sometimes, the only thing to do is throw it away.

Kath said...

I have been scrolling up..down...up...down and I can;t say I prefer either, although water colour has always been my favourite medium, because of the transparenccy and luminosity.

Carol Anne Strange said...

Fabulous paintings, Danielle, and I love both equally. What an inspiration you are and you'd never have thought that it's been some time since you've used acrylics. Love the image of the cross and I can just imagine the ghost stories in the dark. What fun! Hope you and yours are magically well. xx

Carrie Osborne said...

Hi Danielle,
I've been quietly following your blog for a while, but haven't commented before... I'm a bit shy!
I love your watercolours, so fresh and vibrant, and especially your transformation portraits...
I wondered if you used inks as well for some of those lovely deep blues in some of your paintings?
Anyway - a slight ulteria motive if you'll forgive me - despite my shyness I have decided to brave it and started an art and writing blog of my own...
I would be really chuffed if you found time to take a peek...?

www.wordhoards.blogspot.com

Best wishes
Carrie...

Aisling Kiernan said...

Definitely the watercolour! I think your acrylic is excellent also but here is no way you can get the same clarity and transparency with acrylics as many of the colours are opaque. The quality of the paint makes a huge difference. WN Finity range are really good and while considerably more expensive than WN Galleria range the quality is a hundred times better. The WN Galleria brushes are very good to work with and will last quite well. Have fun experimenting!

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