Over the past four years I have sampled many brands of acrylics and had reactions ranging from mild (dizziness) to severe (throat closing off). I knew oils were not an option, so I pretty much gave up on having an opaque medium to work with other than gouache.
Around Christmas I bought some used art supplies, and in the box was a small set of Daler Rowney System 3 Acrylics. Before getting rid of them I thought I’d try a little test on some watercolor paper since I was curious about using acrylics on an absorbent surface. I put on a charcoal mask and neoprene gloves. I could still smell the acrylics a bit but it didn’t bother me at all. I waited a few days and decided to try them again, this time without the mask, and again I had no reaction. I even got some on my hands and didn’t have a problem which was very encouraging.
One challenge was the drying time. Since I live in a very dry climate, the paint was practically dry before I could do the next series of strokes! So I talked to my art store manager and he suggested mixing in a little of Golden’s Open Acrylics gloss medium to slow the drying time. I was very skeptical since I have severe reactions to Golden paints. But I was willing to give it a try. Again, no reaction.
I began to wonder if I was just getting over my sensitivities to some acrylic polymers so I opened a couple of other acrylic brands that I had and immediately reacted. So the bad news is I’m still sensitive to most acrylics, but the good news is that I have a brand and a medium I can tolerate. This opened up a whole new world for me.
My first painting was a mountain lion for a swap on the Southwest And Western Art forum on Wet Canvas. This was how he turned out:
It was so much fun! Next I decided to do a painting for my grandkids who love the Paw Patrol cartoon show:
This is my youngest grandson opening the package 🙂
It was great to be able to ship a painting without worrying about glass breaking. I found an acrylic varnish I tolerate as long as I use it outside with a mask, so I can do kid-proof paintings now!
More on acrylics in my next post…