The biggest challenges of painting with acrylics outdoors are created by their quick drying time. I've seen artists producing amazing work with acrylics outdoors, but it takes some dedication and determination.
To minimize your frustration, follow the tips below:
- Bring along a water mister to spray the paint on your palette periodically to keep it from drying. I spray the paint as soon as I squeeze it out, and keep spraying it systematically, even when I paint in the studio. You may also bring along some clear small containers that you can use upside-down to cover paint and trap the moisture in.
- Don't work in direct sunlight. Keep your painting and your paints in the shade, either standing under a tree or shelter or using an umbrella.
- Use an acrylic retarder and mix a small quantity into your paint. Be aware that it will make acrylic paint more translucent.
- Keep your brushes wet so the paint doesn't dry on them. Bring along plenty of water to rinse the brushes and for refills - it will get dirty.
- Try to limit the amount of paint that you squeeze out.
- Paint quickly. The more quickly you can paint and the less time your paint will be exposed to the drying effects of heat, sun, and air.
- Avoid painting during the middle and hottest part of the day when the sun is directly overhead and the strongest.
- You may want to invest in some of the recently developed acrylic pants with prolonged drying time, like Golden Open Acrylics. They stay wet longer and can be mixed with regular acrylics.
I hope this helps