top of page

How I Became An Acrylic Painter

Watercolor Beginnings

Jed Dorsey as a young artist sketching with his cat sitting next to him
Sketching as a kid artist

Yep, that's me as a kid. (And my cat, Midnight.) I grew up in a watercolor family. That was all I really knew. My dad, Jack Dorsey, was an amazing watercolorist, and he told me that watercolor was the most difficult (and the best) of all the mediums. Everything else was easy and, let's just say, "not as wonderful." Now I don't know exactly what words my dad used, but somehow I knew that watercolor was best. My mom, Ann Dorsey, also had chosen to paint in watercolor, and when my brother, Jason, and sister, April, got into painting, they did too. Needless to say, watercolor was all I knew and practiced. 

Then Music Happened

Jed Dorsey artist, with guitar
Me with my guitar, early 2000's

My life took a turn when I was seventeen. I got a guitar. I didn't touch a paintbrush for 8 years. My artistic family mourned my musical apostasy. Just joking. But they did think I was lost forever to music. Until ...

Anniversary Vacation

Jed Dorsey, artist, with wife, Renae, in Whistler, BC when he started painting again and got started in acrylics. Acryliclikeaboss
Renae and I in Whistler, 2001

My wife, Renae, and I were on our two year anniversary and had traveled to Whistler, BC. When we weren't hiking on the mountains, we managed to make it into a few of the galleries there, and in one I saw the most striking and beautiful paintings. But do you know what? They weren't watercolors! They were oil and acrylic paintings. I could not stop gazing at them with their vibrant colors and incredible use of light.

I went back the next day.

And the next.

I explained to the gallery owner how all that I had ever done with painting was in watercolor but how I really wanted to paint like like the paintings that were in front of me. The gallery owner suggested that I try acrylic.

A New Passion

Jed Dorsey's wife, Renae, when he was starting in acrylics, standing outside of art store in Whistler, BC. Circa 2001
Renae standing outside art store in Whistler

I went out that very afternoon and bought my first acrylic paints. (And I also asked Renae to pose in front of the store to mark the special occasion.)

Then I began painting that day - right in our hotel room. It was so absorbing that I lost track of time in my attempts to re-create the beauty that I had seen in the gallery. What I liked so much about the acrylic medium right away was that I could more easily correct mistakes than with watercolor. I was hooked.

That trip to Whistler was 17 years ago. I became a full-time artist two years ago now. I still feel like I'm a long way off from the excellence of those paintings that first inspired me. But one step at a time, I am getting a little better each day, and that is good enough for me.

"To you I make this promise: You will experience a great surge of enthusiasm when you realize that for each day you put in you are improving... even if by only one grain at a time." - Harley Brown

Thanks for reading. Check back again. Next time I will write about why I STAYED an acrylic painter! #acryliclikeaboss #acrylicpainting

457 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page