Javier Hermida

Free acrylics

Beethoven Árbol de ribera Almeces al sol Alma en pena Árbol enano Árbol luminoso Árbol medusa Baobab Acantilado al amanecer Belle époque Belleza rusa Castillo y pinos Dama renacentista Hidalgo De compras Desván Estatuilla romana Estatuilla griega Estatuilla china Estratos I Estratos II Flecos frondosos Gran ola Homo Sapiens Meandro caudaloso Nubes negras en la playa Orilla Piensa en verde Pino concreto Pinos blancos y negros


The same book mentioned earlier didn’t say anything about the technique of “acrylic paint.” It’s only natural—this technique emerged in the middle of the last century and would have been an adventure, a mystery, or perhaps even a nonsense to our J. Bontcé. All art students in the 1980s learned the virtues of oil paint, the most academic way of painting, and in a certain sense, the only acceptable and enduring technique. However, we were allowed to use pigments mixed with some sort of binder (white glue, fish glue, or rabbit glue, or encaustic wax) for sketches or preliminary attempts at a painting, and even for some final works.

As a painting technique, acrylic paint represents freedom. It’s diluted and cleaned with water, the most accessible and inexpensive resource; it dries quickly, unlike oil paint, which can take days; it allows for a wide range of treatments, overlays, and techniques (rubbing, sanding, dilution, impasto, layers, touch-ups, washes...); and it can be successfully applied to almost any surface—canvas, paper, cardboard, plaster, wood, plastic, etc. Acrylic paint invites exploration, breaking free from traditional rules, and the enjoyment of unrestrained creativity. It can also lead to failure, but that’s a matter of skill: You can do anything, but not everything is satisfactory. A discerning reader might notice the unease in the phrase “essential principles,” as if it were a common concept known and valued by every artist and agreed upon by every viewer. And they would be right to argue that such a thing does not exist. Esteemed disciplines such as Art Theory, Aesthetics, Art Criticism, or Art History strive to create some sort of theoretical framework to explain the value and relevance of both “Las Meninas” and Duchamp’s “Fountain.” This endeavour has constantly failed, so I will not be the one to solve it now, but I will venture to name the principles that guide my work as a painter: authenticity, beauty (a contentious term), self-criticism, and diversity.

The freedom that acrylic paint offers, with its lack of strict rules (unlike watercolour), can create such an open and limitless horizon that it might overwhelm or collapse the artist’s intention. But therein lies the beauty of it: inventing new methods, techniques, and approaches to expression, and adapting them to one’s own message—exploring without measure, throwing, dripping, scraping, imprinting, texturing... and then harnessing the resulting abstraction to suggest a comprehensible message for the audience and, above all, creating an image that satisfies the artist and justifies their principles.

The acrylics included in this collection are the result of these principles. They all share a similar format and, for reasons I do not fully understand, are mostly vertical, with a few older exceptions. The subjects are, naturally, diverse, as they emerge from the initial abstraction and are thus subject to the anarchic design of a stain. However, one cannot deny that such anarchy and diversity are not absolute, as certain themes prevail over others, and personal inclinations inevitably come to the fore. They are the product of readings, contemplations, experiences, or visions, as the Mexicans say, “ni modo.”