Many artists dream about painting in Italy. Now, as retiring baby-boomers are increasingly taking up “brush and pallet knife,” more than ever, painting in Italy is the “thing.” Every day, a new “Artist’s” tour of Italy crops up in travel sections of the newspaper and on the Internet. But there still remains a majority of artists who prefer to “go it alone.” They are independent in their artistic styles, and prefer to be independent regarding their travels in Italy . This blog intends to target these free spirited artists who still need guidance to the best places to paint, especially those idyllic gems that are little known and less traveled. Certainly, independent travelers who are not artists will also benefit from this blog.

With a few exceptions, this blog is not a guide to restaurants, lodging, rental cars, or shopping, (except for art supplies.)

Sprinkled among the posts are: my paintings, and a few Italian proverbs and poems written by notable Italian authors for whom I work as a translator.

Please visit my website to view my original art:


Giclee prints of my paintings, ranging from greeting size to poster size, can be purchased at:


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Plein Air Painting With Acrylics

For plein air artists who are new to acrylics I’d like to offer a few suggestions gleaned from many a frustrating outing. Someone recently asked if I recommend painting en plein air with acrylics. My response was, “yes and no.”
I know that sounds like a lame answer, but let me explain.
A few of the pros to painting en plein air with acrylics are: They dry fast, the brushes clean up easily with water, there are no toxic mediums to discard, and quick color washes can be applied to capture tone on days beset with fast moving clouds.
Some cons to painting en plein air with acrylics are: They dry fast not only on the canvas but also on the pallet. Drying retarders can help, but I find them to be gooey and leave an unnatural sheen on the canvas. And if you use the retarder on some areas but not on others, your canvas ends up spotted with glossy patches. Flo-aid is a must for a wetting solution and works better than retarders to keep the paint on the pallet moist. But be careful not to get too heavy handed with the flo-aid or your paint won’t grab properly to the surface of the canvas and a subsequent wash will pull that underlying color off the canvas.
Whether painting with acrylic, oils, or watercolor, painting en plein air can be fun. I don’t claim to call myself a plein air artist; I refer to myself as a "fair-weather" plein air artist. As long as the day is warm, dry, sunny, and wind-free, I’m all for it. If it’s cold, windy, or damp, I’m content to sip hot chocolate and schnapps while painting in my heated studio.
My favorite acrylic paint: Brerra by Maimare (Italian made of course.)
The bicycle painting above is an unframed 11”x14” acrylic on canvas board that can be purchased on my art website:
It was such fun painting my first bicycle scene, and just as much fun selling it, that I decided to paint it again. This time the background hues are a bit warmer and the stones are slightly rearranged, so as not to be identical to the first painting.
La bicicletta in sopra è un’originale acrilico su tela 28x36cm senza cornice. Si può comprarlo sul mio website d’arte:
Mi ha piaciuti cosi tanto dipingere il primo quadro con la bicicletta, ed ho piaciuto anche vendere il primo quadro, che ho deciso dipingere un altro. I colori sono un pò diverso siccome non volevo averli uguali.

1 comment:

  1. Bello il dipinto con la bicicletta,
    complimenti ed un abraccio,


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