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Understanding Acrylics As A Medium Of Painting

By Moksha Kumar Last Updated On : 16th May 2020

In this piece, the uses of the medium as well as examples of painters from around the world will be covered to help understand acrylics better.
Acrylic as a medium is versatile – you can use it watered down for a watercolour like effect, or even as thick impasto strokes for the effect of an oil painting. The paint has a plastic base and often has a dull, shiny finish. It can also be used to create a base/sketch for an oil painting, so that the layering of the work is quite deep. For our contest ORA 2020, we include acrylic as one of the options for artwork medium, and thought it would be fun to give you a little more of an insight into acrylics itself. 
Thoroughly fun to work with, acrylic has been used by many different artists over the course of art history, so here are some examples to inspire you!

Suh Yongsun, Seoul 

Suh Yongsun, Working at number 41, Acrylic on canvas, Courtsey of Artsy.net

Suh Yongsun, Working at number 41, Acrylic on canvas, Courtsey of Artsy.net

Using deeply informed urban narratives and distorted figures, Suh Yongsun is our pick for figurative – post fauvist painting! His bright use of colour on the figures and the ability to highlight the larger problems of society, and the feelings of isolation was genius. The ‘Matisse’ like effect is unmistakable as the picture plane is divided into colour blocks and strong shapes. The effect automatically makes the viewer feel alienated by the rendition, and yet able to relate to the image given. 

Anthony Poon, Singapore

Anthony Poon, untitled, undated, acrylic on canvas, 223 x 295 cm. Photograph courtesy Sundaram Tagore Gallery

Anthony Poon, untitled, undated, acrylic on canvas, 223 x 295 cm. Photograph courtesy Sundaram Tagore Gallery

Moving past traditional canvases and using his secret techniques to create a 3D effect, Anthony Poon was truly an incredible artist! His works transcend the 2 – D plane quite beautifully and the blues deflect against each other, giving off a luminescent glow. The style is abstract geometric and is informed by a more mathematical bent of logic and practice. The shapes are clean, minimal and quite close to a design sensibility. Using graph papers to ‘plot’ his paintings – Anthony Poon was incredibly successful as an acrylic painter.  

Monique Orsini, France

 Le bruit de l'eau, Acrylic on canvas, Monique Orsini, Courtsey of Artsy.net

Le bruit de l'eau, Acrylic on canvas, Monique Orsini, Courtsey of Artsy.net

Abstract expressionist, lyrical, and full of a conscious light - the works of Monique Orsini are reminiscent of natural foliage, leaves, and winds that sweep through the trees. The strokes are deliberate and yet soft, making the viewer wonder about the airiness contained within the canvas itself. Highly gestural and informed by gentle texture, the mix of technique is highly complex and yet exquisite. The works are difficult to prise apart due to their abstract approach, but are nevertheless an incredible feat in acrylic. 
So there you have it! Three incredible approaches and examples from around the world that give us the artistic fervour that we truly need and want to forever be inspired by. 
Also view : The biggest online art contest - ORA

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