Classes stir creativity: Arts council offers residents a way to get in touch with artistic side
By Amber McDonald
February 1, 2007
Due to a very flexible nature and consistent drying time, acrylic painting is a unique art medium, which provides many advantages to painting, but also comes with its own set of limitations.
According to Barbara Mowery, a local artist who teaches an acrylic art class, acrylics are a water based paint with no solvents and are very versatile.
"I have been painting with them about 13 years," Mowery said. "I have painted with watercolors and oil paints, and I think I like the instant gratification that comes from the fast drying acrylics. Also, with acrylics you can paint over and correct things, whereas with watercolor if you make a mistake, that's it."
Mowery said because acrylic paints are not corrosive, they can be applied to almost any surface. This is very different from water and oil paints. Oil paints are corrosive and can decompose canvas and watercolor paints must be applied to paper so the water can be absorbed, she said.
Artists can paint just about anything with acrylics, whether it is a bottle of wine, a view of the
Atlantic Ocean, a portrait or something abstract, she said.
Acrylic paints are used like a traditional oil paint. Mowery said there are also numerous acrylic additives and mediums that can be used to do different things with acrylics such as speed up or slow down the drying process.
When acrylics dry, sometimes certain parts are shinier than others, giving it an uneven sheen. Artists can buy gloss mediums or matte gel mediums to go over the acrylic and give it an even sheen, while also preserving the painting.
Working in a law office as her primary occupation, Mowery refers to herself as a "painter with a day job." She teaches an acrylics art class through the Worcester County Arts Council in Berlin, which welcomes artists on all skill levels.
"I'm always trying to come up with a new project to push the students out of their comfort zone," she said. "I try to get them to be inspired by different subjects, and to notice different aspects like lighting and coloring."
Photographs by Peter J. Casey for The Daily Times, January 2007.