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Mike Barr Interactive Discussion

Mike Barr is an award winning artist from South Australia who has recently started using Atelier Interactive. I was interested to see what such an accomplished acrylic artist thought of the new slow blending techniques available with Interactive.

I have decided to use Paint Talk to share our discussion with a wider audience and allow other artists to join in.

Email To Mike


When I saw your paintings knowing that you had moved from the “old” Atelier with its quick drying habits to the “new” Atelier Interactive with unlimited blending time, I wanted to ask you a few questions:-

Your “old” paintings have such a degree of finish that it would be easy to mistake them for oils. The only way I know of to do this is by using multiple thin layers, always set tonally lighter to try to anticipate the tone drop when they dry, and if they do happen to dry too light, they can be set back in tone by a thin wash.

It takes a high level of skill to develop the control necessary to do this, and you could be forgiven for not trying the new extended blending possibilities. Never having had your skill or patience my “old” acrylics need to be finished in oils, and I can now finish in Atelier Interactive.

I wonder if you are finding Atelier Interactive easy to adapt to and are preferring the new blending techniques?

There are several other highly skilled artists I want to put this same question to. It is difficult to pick up nuances on low resolution images (please everyone send as close up image too!)

I feel that in my own paintings I have more control of tone. I get a softer more painterly effect and I think this would be most noticeable with figure painting which, in “old” technique, usually has a stilted photorealist look compared to an oil painting of the same subject

I would like to ask all of you who do figure painting to comment.

There are (4) Comments, Comments are now closed for this discussion?
  1. comment_1_5561

    Mikeb commented on Avril 20, 2008, at 7:40 pm.

    Hi Jim
    I have found that with acrylics, speed and a big brush go a long way in overcoming some of the perceived drawbacks with this medium, wether we are using the new interactive capabilities or not. No washes or thin layers were used on the small "Rain on Currie St" painting. It was completed in less than an hour and has all the hallmarks of a plein air work. Thats not to say however that certain parts of it didnt need going over. The highlight in the pavement for instance took a few layers of thick, almost white paint to get it right - but thats one of the beauties of acrylic - there are no problems in going back almost straight away and adding more paint in incriments to get things right.
    "Shadows on Goolwa Beach" is a large paintiing 150x100cm and I did use washes of white and blue to set back the distant sandhills - it worked a treat. Try adding a glaze to an oil painting an hour or so after laying down the same sandhills!
    I have used the interactive paints without using their capablities for quite some time but have found recently that I can keep my palette moist all day with the occasional mist of water and have kept a palette moist for over a week by covering it. I use disposable plates and if i need to keep the palette overnight of for a few days I put another plate on top of the 'palette' as if protecting food. A light spray of water before the plates come together will keep the humidity right for quite some time.
    As far as blending on the canvas is concerned the Interactive comes into its own when paint has to be added again. For instance if there is a spot of blue that needs redoing in a seascape, the new blue can be blended into the old blue with out the harsh lines of a new colour - particularly handy when cutting in around and object of figure that has been added on top of a larger background.
    Im of the opinion that the interactive is much better on figurative work, were blending is paramount. Again quickness and confidence is still a key but things are helped along by the paints ability to blend even when touch dry. I have attached a painting completed recently that I was quite happy with. The painting is called "Calling in sick".

  2. comment_2_5561

    Coonradt commented on Août 21, 2008, at 4:27 am.

    It was interesrting to read your comment about losing the hi-lites in your painting "Rain on Currie Street." I have experienced the same thing on many occasions which can become very frustrating. A painting I feel is finshed to my satisfaction has to have hi-lites added again after it has sat over night. Is that a result of my painting method or is it because of the paint? The paint I have the most trouble with is white.
    I love the Interactive Paint. I use it almost exclusivly and am very happy with the results I get. Do you have any suggestions on how to over come the hi-lite problem other than constantly re-painting it?

  3. comment_3_5561

    Jennifer commented on Août 22, 2008, at 11:27 pm.

    Hi Diane,

    All acrylics darken as they dry, and in some brands this color shift is HUGE. This occurs because the binding agent in acrylics is white, but dries clear. Interactive was designed to have as minimal a color shift as possible, but you can notice it when you use lots of Titanium White in your palette. I find that for my highlights, I mix them very light on my palette, because I know they'll dry a bit darker. I can always adjust them by mixing in more white, just hitting them with pure white or glazing with Trans. Yellow or Trans. Orange to make them pop again.

  4. comment_4_5561

    Mikeb commented on Septembre 4, 2008, at 5:18 pm.

    With white highlites - use a dry brush and use paint that has no medium or water mixed with it. It also helps if the underpainting is reasonably dry too. And of course dont be skimpy with the paint!