Ok, I'll try this again:
Hi fellow artists.
My name is Tom David. I retired in October of 2003 after a successful career as a public school administrator. In April of 2006, I retired from my second career as a senior warrant officer (CW5) in the Illinois Army National Guard where I served in the personnel field for over 36 years.
I began my formal training at Eastern Illinois University where I earned a B.S. in Education majoring in studio art with a concentration in pottery and sculpture. Following graduation I taught art in various public schools in east-central Illinois. After eleven years in the classroom, I was employed as a school administrator, serving first as an elementary principal for four years and then as an assistant superintendent for human resources during my last sixteen years in public education. During my years in the field of education, I continued to attend school earning an M.A. in Art Education and a Specialist Degree in School Administration at Eastern Illinois University and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Illinois. I recently completed my study of advanced figure drawing and painting under the guidance of Ke-Hsin Jenny Chi, Chris Kahler, and Robert Horvath at Eastern Illinois University.
You can view one of my Artist's statements, learn more about me, and see some of my work on my artist web cite at .
In 2004 I decided to retrain in the 2-d field. Interestingly for me though, some of my artist friends who have seen me paint tell me that I "carve" with paint. I work in oils, acrylics, pastel, pencil, and silverpoint. Lately, however, I have been working mostly in acrylics. A new product from Golden Acrylics is their "open acrylics". If you haven't used them yet, give them a try. The are a bit "soupy" but otherwise fell a lot like oils. I have found that I can mix a little of the traditional, fast drying acrylics to give them a bit more "tooth" or "drag" feel to them. I have been able to keep the Open Acrylics wet and useable for several days by putting them in an air-tight container. I often will put the paint on a plastic lid, put a bit of water in the lid's container and them snap the lid on the container, suspending the paint upside-down above the water. There probably is a better solution for a large quantity of paint, but this system works fine for small amounts. A retarder can be used to keep the Open Acrylics wet and fluid for even longer periods of time. A wetting solution is also available if you like to thin the paint to a water-color like consistency. Of course a spray bottle to mist your canvas helps at times to, depending on your need.
I have found that acrylic paint, unlike oil paint, does not cover India ink at all. It bleeds through. I suppose everyone knows that with acrylics artists do not have to be concerned with the fat over lean and thick over thin principles that are very important when working in oils. I also think another advantage of acrylic over oils is that you can easily include other materials, e.g., graphite, pastel, etc. and transferring images from print material is much easier with acrylics. Acrylics are less toxic as well. Something that too many artists don't take seriously enough. Handle oil paints and solvents as though they were rat poison.
A characteristic of traditional acrylics is that they dry so darn fast. For me, this is sometimes an asset because if forces me to work faster. Plus, if I don't like something, I can wait 30 minutes and paint over it. Wet on wet is much more difficult than with oils,; however, Golden's Open Acrylic addresses this problem quite well.
I sometimes find staring at a linen canvas to be somewhat intimidating. But painting on heavy paper (BFK, 140# watercolor paper, etc) that I have put on a couple coats of gesso have the opposite effect. Some of my best work is on paper.
If you haven't tried drawing with silverpoint, give it a try. Few artists work in this medium. Golden has just marketed a silverpoint ground that is very good. I have tried other acrylic silverpoint grounds as well as rabbit-skin glue grounds, but I think Golden has a superior product