Why I use acrylics

I love painting in acrylics and the main reason for that is their versatility.

Easy to use

I use acrylics because they allow me to get going quickly and don’t require any lengthy preparations .  Using acrylics I don’t need to prime and gesso canvases to protect them. Unlike oils where I do. This means that I can paint directly on to any medium, canvas, paper or board.

Speed

WIth acrylics I can move quickly because they dry quickly (sometimes too quickly but they can be slowed by adding retardant). This is in marked contrast to oils that can take days or weeks to dry. This allows me to make more rapid progress.

Its all about the colour

Using acrylics means that what I see as I’m painting is what I will see when its dry. Acrylics also keep their colour over longer time scales unlike some oils which can be prone to yellowing.

Plastic fantastic

One of the great things about acrylics is that they are so flexible. I can apply thin washes, or work thickly with a pallet knife without fear of them cracking as they dry (a problem for some oils).

Odorless (they don’t smell!)

Unlike oils acrylics have the great benefit that they don’t smell. I love the smell of oil paints, the linseed, the turpentine the paints themselves but for my small attic studio in my small house its just not practical. Acrylics don’t smell and are probably better for your health as a result.

What works

I know acrylics and they work for me. I’ve used them for the last 20 years and hopefully I know how to get the best out of them.  

How about you?

If you’re a fan of acrylics (or want to put the case for oils, watercolours or crayons) get in contact and let me know.

How do you choose a frame that works for your art?

Framing artwork can be a difficult subject to get our heads around.  In this blog I’m going to be exploring ideas around framing paintings and pictures and try to give some advice on which frames to use when and why.

Frame both enhance and protect, however choosing the right frame it is so much more than that. In fact, it’s a whole art and science in itself.

Protection

From a purely practical point of view frames provide protection from dirt dust and scratches caused by everyday life while some mediums require UV protection. Watercolours for instance could become faded if they left in direct sunlight without the UV protection that glass provides.

Acrylic on paper

Oils and acrylics are more robust than water colours or drawings however paintings or drawings in any medium, which is on paper or card will require a suitable mount and to be protected behind glass. The Mount lifts the glass away from the artwork surface both for protection and allows the viewer to appreciate the artwork more clearly. It will also provide an extra border further framing the artwork within the frame. (This must be taken into consideration when purchasing and preparing your new artworks ready to hang as it will reduce the area of the work visible.)

Acrylics and oils are long lasting mediums and do not require the same UV protection as water colours and pencil drawings in fact they look better when you can appreciate the colours and texture directly without the barrier of glass in place.

Choosing frames

Once a decision has been made as to whether to mount behind glass or open to the elements the next decision is what type of frame to use light or dark thin or heavy floating or fully encapsulated.

The decisions that you make will be based on the type of art personal preference and the interior design in which your precious objects will be displayed.

When choosing frames the golden rule is to let the artwork speak for itself and to remember that the frame is intended to just that, frame the work. The colour of mouldings can be either complementary or contrasting, matt or high gloss.  They key though is that whatever the choice they should enhance and complement the artwork and not detract or draw the eye away.  

More classical landscapes, portrait or still lives often are enhanced by the heavy gold and scrolled frames in which they have been traditionally been mounted. In this case the very weight of the frame contributes to the overall importance of the piece and enhances the view is experience.

Conversely contemporary works typically benefit from the clean lines and modern styles whether the smallest of borders floating away from the canvases edge or a more fulsome encapsulating frame. Between these two extremes are all manner of possibilities, dependant on personal preference. Which is not to say that you can’t make bold choices and pair heavy guilts with pop art or oversized frames with very small paintings.

Visualise

The best advice is to picture the painting in your home and to decide whether it works in harmony with the interior design in which it will sit. I would advise using one of the many apps available online to visualise the painting within its frame before you commit to one particular style and also to experiment with cropping the photo into a picture of the room in which it will eventually sit.

Don’t panic

Finally, it’s important to remember that nothing is fixed and there are no hard and fast rules. Life is all about choices and if you want to offset at your abstract masterpiece against an antique frame you are free to do so safe in the knowledge that you can always change Your mind later!

The main thing is to enjoy the journey and have fun experimenting with new styles.

if you have any thoughts or advice on framing art please leave your comments below .

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Why art and interior design are so closely linked.

Who’s art is it anyway?

When we think of art we often think of galleries or grand art exhibitions, but the fact is that most of our contact and experience of art is in a much more domestic setting. Few of us have the opportunity to set aside whole rooms for the display of art and as a result the art in our collections, the pieces we love, have to sit alongside all of the other components that make up our homes.

Curate your space

In the quest to design interiors that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional, original art and fine art can provide a stunning focal point and can be a key element in setting the tone and style of a space, whether formal or modern, relaxed, cosy or irreverent. Interior design creates the space and the right art can elevate a room from ‘nice’ to sensational. Art plus interior design have the ability to elevate the mood and make you feel good.

The choices we make

Of course not all art works in all situations and choosing the right art needs careful consideration.

A formal design style might work with gold framed old Masters where a modernist style might suit the sharp lines of some abstracts or op-art.

Pop art could complement a relaxed and vibrant interior but a more homely look may require rolling landscapes or verdant floral designs.

Or perhaps your space is bold and radical enough to handle cutting edge contemporary art pieces.

You might even say that a room is “not finished without art, it’s what designs the space” [Andrew Martin].

Why is art the key factor

Art shows your creative side, adds colour, texture and sets you apart as an individual.

Of course art can extend beyond the walls to sculpture, ceramics and even dioramas or kinetic art.

The key question is does the art fit the design or dictate the design. Certainly choosing the right art can help define your style and guide your decisions for every other element of the room.

Equally a strong design could produce a room for which you need to find the perfect piece and so begins a hunt through galleries, art fairs and individual artists.

Whichever route you choose to arrive at your perfect interior design, original art can provide the wow factor that brings it all together.  

If you have used art in your interior design projects please leave comments below.

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