Written by Raini Armstrong

Chaparral’s first-ever Paint & Sip event was hosted by Nancy Miehle. The event was fun, and the technique used to paint our subject was intriguing, because it was different, and dare I say, unexpected! Many of us knew before arriving that we would be painting with acrylics, and some of use even know that our subject would be a butterfly. Simple, right? The trick, however, was the actual goal; to paint in a watercolor manner and end up with a loose and semitransparent winged creature while using the acrylic medium. 

This might not phase the acrylic artists in the group, but for me, acrylics are treated as oils - cleaner, of course, but the basic rules apply as to starting with darks and building toward lights. I understand acrylics as the building of layers of paint, the blending of color, and the needed speed of application so that the paints do not dry before your scene has been completed. During the Paint & Sip workshop, we actually treated the acrylic pigments as if they were watercolors! 

We were to keep the paints were using liquidy, thinned with significant amounts of water. The initial application of water to canvas also helped to spread colors. With a simple sketch of the butterfly, we got to work mixing or just placing colors on the canvas to create the colorful butterfly. Little details could be built up, but ultimately the goal was to keep the acrylic paints as transparent and wild as watercolor paints can be experienced.

I am indeed a watercolorist through and through, however, this Paint & Sip with Chaparral Artists gave me a new outlook on what I can do with acrylic paint!

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