Golden Acrylic Neutral Grays

Golden Heavy Body Acrylic Neutral Grays, plus Black and Titanium White
Stillman and Birn 8.5x11" hardbound Epsilon Sketchbook

Those of you who have been following me for awhile have probably seen my setup for value studies in acrylic. I love doing monochrome studies this way. The Golden Paints Company makes it so easy; there's no color mixing --- just dip right into the value you want. It's been awhile since I did some of these value studies, so I pulled the container off the shelf figuring I'd clean it out, refill it, and put it to use, but the paint in it is still perfectly fine! That seal around the top of my container worked better than I thought it would. The binder and pigment separated a bit while sitting, but I sprayed in a little water, mixed it up again with a tongue depressor, and the set was good to go.

I was thinking of bringing it to open studio life drawing the next day. The longest poses in that session are only 20 minutes. I wasn't sure I could accomplish enough with acrylic paints in that time frame, and also wasn't sure I'd find the heavy body acrylics blendable enough for portraits and figures on paper. In keeping with my desire to brush up on portraiture, I decided to test drive the idea in my Epsilon sketchbook, working off an old black and white photograph of pianist Maria Teresa Carreno. She was a child prodigy who lived from 1853-1917.

As I thought, the paint didn't blend as well as I'd hoped on unprimed paper. Although I'm not necessarily unhappy with it as a study, it would have gone better with a primed surface and some of that delicious Golden AGL (Acrylic Glazing Liquid), which extends the drying time enough to blend a bit. I didn't use the AGL because I was thinking that in a sketchbook, extending the drying time might prove to be a bad idea when you need to turn the page to start the next pose, and I probably wouldn't want to bring my studio hair dryer into the life drawing session.

So, the next day, I brought traditional black and sepia dry drawing media with me to life drawing instead, and I totally bombed! I may as well have brought these after all and given it a go, so that's what I'm going to do next week. Maybe. Unless I change my mind! I think I'll give a few pages a coating of Golden Matte Medium so they won't be quite so absorbent, just in case I go through with this plan. 


  1. It looks as if you did remarkable well with the acrylics, and on an Epsilon. Thanks for sharing your experience(s).

  2. beautiful portrait, Jamie.