Thursday, 26 November 2015

Ways to Learn Acrylics… Painting Project No. 4 & 5

In the first three projects of Mark Daniel Nelson’s bookLittle Ways to Learn Acrylics: 50 Small painting projects to get you started” I didn’t use a round brush. I used either a filbert or flat in all my previous paintings, because it seemed easier. However, in these next two paintings I took the advice of the author and used a round brush. It was nice to use something different and now I’ve gained a better understanding of round brushes.

Project no. 4 ‘Simple gradations: Deep blue sea’ looked easy enough, but of course it wasn't. It took me four tries: the first wasn’t bad but the canvas wasn’t completely covered, the second time I needed to go back to a previous layer but didn’t save the colour, the third time I remembered to save a little of each colour but when the layers dried there was a visible line between layers. The final painting wasn’t perfect but after four times and a lot of wasted paint…I gave up.

In project no. 5 ‘Using the white of the canvas: Rowing boat’ it was difficult to create clean lines; possibly because the whole canvas was white. The blue for water is lighter because I used paint from project no 4 and the yellow was darker in value from the book because I liked it better. All in all it looked pretty good and now it’s my second favourite painting from the book.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

'Abstracts 50 Inspirational Projects’ Study 1 – Expressive Painting Style

Besides doing the exercises in "Vibrant Acrylics" and "Ways to learn Acrylics…" I’m now trying out another book by Rolina Van Vliets. "Abstracts 50 Inspirational Projects" has enough lessons to keep me busy; it’s very similar to her other book "Painting Abstracts ideas, projects and techniques" that I reviewed a while ago. This book has 50 studies, each on a different topic with images to use only as a guide. Rolina says it's better if you don’t have images and simply work out of your own imagination. That however, only works in her classes where she can observe and be there to answer questions. She has included some of the paintings from her students and it makes the book more interesting.

In the first study ‘Expressive painting style’ the work sequence was not for me; I didn’t like making scratch marks. I made a few changes with a putty knife and dripping paint; obsessed over it for a few days then decided the final painting was pretty good.  The assignment was to create a painting that was spontaneous and the stroke directions projected action and variation. I think I achieved that:))

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Ways to Learn Acrylics... Painting Project No. 3

'Little Ways to Learn Acrylics: 50 small painting projects to get you started’ by Mark Daniel Nelson is a great way to practice painting with acrylics.

System 3
Of the first three projects, this colour mixing pasture scene was my least favourite. Getting the lines clean when dark colours met lighter colours was really difficult. The hues weren’t very inspiring either, but for some reason I painted a second version.

The Atelier Interactive paints are meant to stay wet longer and to enable the painter more time blending.  There was a visible difference between the two paintings. The first painting (in System 3 acrylics) needed three layers of paint before it looked finished. With the Atelier only one coat was applied and although a second layer would have made it look better… I lost interest.

This post isn’t very encouraging; for archival purposes I felt it necessary to post it. Sorry, dreary day, sombre mood.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

‘Vibrant Acrylics’ Fifth Painting Exercise - Antiques and Tennis Ball

Can’t believe it’s over a month since I painted the roses.  The fifth exercise ‘Antiques and Tennis Ball’ from Vibrant Acrylics by Hashim Akib looked really awesome but also difficult; that’s probably why it took me so long to finish.

I have a definite problem with perspective and it keeps cropping up every time I try a still life or building. I’ve had classes on perspective, read articles and watched You Tube videos and they always makes sense, but when it comes to drawing or painting…I don’t know what happens. Anyway the painting came out nice enough, except for the dog statue, which BTW was supposed to be a lion:)). Hopefully the next exercise will be finished sooner, but no promises.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Ways to Learn Acrylics… Painting Project No. 2

The second project from ‘Little Ways to Learn Acrylics…’ is about applying coloured paint depicting a sunset. The first time I did the project was on 8”x8” canvas paper and it was so nice I decided to do another.

The second painting was on acrylic paper, size 10” x 10”; I wanted to compare canvas with paper and see what a larger study would look like. The 8”x8” canvas was the better; the acrylic paper didn’t blend as well and the larger size didn’t look as nice. The sunset on acrylic paper was only one layer and if a second layer was put on it probably would look a little nicer.

The assignment instructions were to dry each layer before putting the next layer on, it was easier for me to blend if I kept the previous layer wet.   It was a good exercise and the finished painting was pretty.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Art Materials Live – Birmingham NEC

Art Materials Live on Friday the 6th of November was worth the trip. It was interesting because the event was combined with craft and gift items, which seemed larger than the art section. Although small, the Art section took most of my time and I participated in four hands on art demonstrations.

The SAA had the biggest area with two sections for art talks, two for hands on demos and the middle area for products sales. It was a much smaller version of ‘All About Art’ in London.

At this event, I painted a snow scene in watercolour with Matthew Palmer, then of course bought two lift out brushes.  Next was a session on pastel painting with Jeremy Ford where I proceeded to buy a pastel kit :).

Linda Matthews had her own small demonstration area and I tried my hand at using permanent ink and watercolour; it was my favourite painting of the day. Linda has a variety of classes teaching different mediums both in the U.K. and abroad.  She is very easy going and personable and I want to take a painting class with her; hopefully sometime this summer.

Finally, the Chinese Brush Painting Society gave a small hands on lesson; it was very useful to learn how to  mix the ink, hold the brush and remove excess liquid properly. We also were able to practice making marks on cartridge paper and just for fun how to draw a cat and mouse. I was really impressed and bought a brush at the stall and ink from the SAA.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

New Book ‘Little Ways to Learn Acrylics: 50 Small painting projects to get you started’

Past experience with my ‘3xWeekly’ acrylic paintings was invaluable, however it was difficult to keep up. I’ve decided to make things a little simpler for myself with this great book ‘Little Ways to Learn Acrylics: 50 Small painting projects to get you started’ by Mark Daniel Nelson. The book goes back to basics and all the decisions are made for you; the only thing to do is paint.

As usual supplies had to be purchased. On my favourite art supply website I found 8” x 8” Loxley canvas boards(box of 60) for £53.78. Because shipping was free I had to buy some new acrylic paint colours; viridian hue and alizarin crimson. They weren’t available in System 3 heavy body so I bought Liquitex and can’t wait to try them.

The first painting assignment was a black and white study. Even though it looked simple, I did learn something.

  • Waiting for layers to dry can make things easier
  • If you need clean lines, use a wet wipe and/or your finger to clean if you let one side of the paint dry (see 1st bullet)
In the past, I would have attempted to paint the moon and highlight on wet paint. Just proves…it’s never too late to learn. The book, by the way, is fantastic and there will be more paintings to come.