Category: Acrylic Painting

Up the Hill – Final, Finally

Up the Hill – Final Painting – Signed on Lower Left in Liquitex Acrylic Black Marker!

Finally! I am dee-oh-en-ee. I took the painting I thought was sorta done, talked with my teacher, and we decided to add a few more flowers. So, I did, and signed my name on the left. On the right I have my digital signature.

I really enjoyed doing this painting. It is on 12×16 Fredrix canvas pad, primed with gesso, and painted over about a 3-4 week period. It is a pleasant break from monochrome – but that is for another time. Today, let’s enjoy Spring as we go up the hill.

Up the Hill – Round 2

I asked for some criticism on this painting I did a few weeks ago. Below is the original scan.

Posted April 2022

Some opinions were that it was lacking in depth, and that the right and left sides needed to match better. So, today, finally got around to doing some modifications. Here is the new painting.

Round 2 – 5/2022

Let me know what you think. The newest scan is a bit more vibrant than the other, so keep that in mind. My class is tomorrow afternoon, so I will talk to my teacher, too.

Up the Hill

Up the Hill – Acrylic, 12×16

I started this painting a few weeks ago, at the first class at the local adult school with a new teacher. This is from a photo I took some time ago. I was at the bottom of a hill, looking up.

This painting has taken a lot of time – several hours – but the work has been worthwhile. I have been applying the various principles I am slowly garnering from hours at the proverbial grindstone, memorizing techniques, concepts, whatever. For instance, I think this painting actually has a nice sense of depth and perspective – something I have struggled with for a long time. The light on the trees also pleases me, as do other bits and pieces of it.

I have also learned just through doing how to get the heavy body acrylic paint into a more viscous and enjoyable mess to paint with, and that is a big help! It’s a combination of matte medium, water, and the paint itself. I dislike the plasticky quality so often that accompanies acrylic paints, so even thought my colors are bright, I think they moosh together fairly well.

I’ll ask my teacher’s opinion when I see her next week. Meanwhile, here is (to my eye at present) finished work. Below is the photo which is the basis for this painting.

Water Thaw – 4 (Final Version?)

Water Thaw 4 – Final Version??

The end! Or is it?

Anyway, as I mentioned yesterday, more blue in the lower front, some other touches, and then let it sit overnight.

This morning I took another look at it, and the only way I can describe what I did was to refine it. I increased contrast in some areas to create harder edges. Other things were designed to lead the eye toward the center of the painting, toward the whitish rock at the top of the water. I also looked for areas that just didn’t look right, somehow too symmetrical or distracting. In the end, little bits here and there made it better to my eye. But – that was during morning coffee when I was trying to wake up!

I have never worked on a painting – a watercolor – for this long a time period. Total time is probably 8-10 hours. Time was spent laying down frisket, colors, letting things dry. Then frisket was rubbed off. Water was sprayed at different times and salt sprinkled. Rubbing alcohol was also sprayed on. I think the last round of frisket took about 30 minutes to rub off, along with salt. The result, though, are transparent layers of color which I could not have accomplished otherwise.

While the perspective seems a bit off – or maybe we are looking down into the water from above? – I like this painting. It’s a new adventure for me in watercolor, and while bright, I don’t think it is overly so. I deliberately did not use any orange!! New ideas are coming to mind for painting in a transparent medium. Mood and impression work here for me – not realism, but suggestion. So, spring thaw, melting ice, new leaves.

In this final version, I cropped it and changed the perspective a bit in Lightroom. Post-processing artwork is much like post-processing a photo, an din the printing industry it is done all the time. You can see the uncropped version in the gallery below.

Arches 16×20 140# CP, acrylic, gouache, watercolor.

Across the Dunes

I enjoy gouache a lot because you can rework places and easily blur edges to soften them. That is a lot harder in acrylics. I decided to give it a shot. It worked rather well for the sky, but like gouache, the whites in the clouds darkened more than I thought they would. On the other hand, I did work on the sand a bit, using very thin water glazes for the shadows. That worked out pretty well.

I realize the key to “getting” acrylic painting is to just keep doing it, experimenting, trying. Each painting, successful or not, is a lesson.

Acrylic paint on unprimed Arches 140# CP. 9×12.

Royal Poinciana Tree

Another tribute to The Highwaymen of Florida.

The Royal Poinciana Tree is native to Madagascar, but because of its vibrant red flowers, it has been transplanted throughout the world. It prefers temperate to semi-tropical climates, so the heat and cold of where I live make it an unlikely candidate. However, we do enjoy the vibrant purple jacaranda tree!

That said, I gessoed Arches 140# CP paper and used acrylic paint this time. I spent hours on this painting, and attempted to do a rather more primitive approach, working for a type of simplicity I seldom employ. Not having painted for some time in acrylics, I needed to work at it. One thing I did do was not the default dabbing I seem to gravitate toward with acrylic. I saved that for the flowers and leaves, in the tree and on the ground.

I am so tired I have no idea if this is a “good” or “bad” or “mediocre” painting – but does it matter? This painting took a lot out of me. The scan, too, is poor – the colors are too extreme – the reds and oranges and greens dominating. Adjustments are not really successful in LR. So, here I think we are limited by the software and its interpretation of such colors in the scan. Still, it’s here for your perusal . . .

Road through the Hills

About six weeks ago I started this painting and then all the chaos of insurance and plan choices and lost mail brought most of my creative life to a screeching halt. It was emotionally exhausting in a lot of ways, but those details really are not important today. Instead, this painting is finished at last!

Details first: acrylic on gessoed 16×20 CP Arches 140# paper. Borders of paper taped down all the way. I probably spent about 10-12 hours on this painting.

There have been multiple iterations of this painting. In the original, a tree was in the right middle front foreground. That disappeared last night. Then the road, which disappeared dead center, was reworked and made visible through the trees this morning. The suggestions of vineyards in the background disappeared, too. Too many stripes – I was looking for a zebra.

To finish the painting, I decided to work in middle of the night last night, and from 10:30 pm to 2:30 a.m. I painted out nearly everything except the blobby middle that I knew was not what I wanted. My husband, who is no art aficionado, always has good advice on painting problems. He and I agreed on the issues. So, this afternoon, I spent a few hours working and reworking it until you see the finished result above.

I have not done a lot of painting in acrylics, but each painting I do brings new experiences. I still tend to be a dabber, but am working to think about how I move the brush more, such as long horizontal or vertical strokes, or suggestions of something with just a blob (not a dab!) of color. I need to work in acrylics more to build more confidence in my brushwork.

So, here you are, on a gravel road in the backcountry, enjoy vineyards and olive groves, somewhere in a Mediterranean country on a hot day in summer.

Trees, Late Afternoon

Third and last of a photo I took earlier this month in Independence, CA, before being driven back home because of Covid. I am not sure which of the three of these paintings I did of the same photo I like best (you can back track on this blog if you want to see them, or go to Instagram!), but this one, in acrylic, was by far the most time-consuming.

I used 16×20 Arches 140# CP paper and a variety of acrylic paints, but first I laid down a few layers of gesso to prep the surface of the paper. The first layer of gesso was thinned with water and brushed on quite firmly to work it into the paper itself. The paper warped as watercolor paper does, but I was really happy to see it flatten out with the second, thicker layer of gesso.

Most of my brushwork tends toward dabbing on dots, which is great for pointillism and impressionistic painting, so I worked at creating lines, as seen on the grasses in the background, along with using a flat brush and using its tip or sides to work paint in a more up / down, side-to-side manner. My next painting is going to include these types of brush strokes, just because. It never hurts to try things you don’t usually do.

Every type of media – watercolor, gouache, acrylics – has its own “language” – that is, the way you have to work with it. Acrylics are rather heavy on paper and I need to think ahead for what I want to do. I tried the slower drying acrylic paints, and just did not like them. As a result, the ones I use tend to dry rather quickly. Filling the palette with every color I think I might want to use is a waste of paint. Instead, I have to plan, not like a general, but certainly I need to anticipate what comes first, what comes next, and so on. I also have to think about brushes and brushwork. Painting can be spontaneous, but it also needs experience to allow for more success (however you want to define “success”) than failure.

One thing I considered for this painting, but did not do, was to lay down a glaze to unify it. Chicken! Maybe I will come back to it later. Now, two things are on my next painting agenda: buildings and no dabbing! And maybe a glaze . . .

Late Summer in the Olive Grove

I started this painting a couple of months ago at least, but because of life and cataract surgery, I didn’t finish it until today. There have been several iterations of it. The subject itself was inspired by van Gogh, and I had thought to try to copy his style of painting, but found that it was far more difficult than I anticipated.

The painting itself is done on an 11×14 canvas panel by Arteza I gessoed over its primed surface, in part because I like the process of preparing a surface for a painting, in part because I never like something already prepared by someone else. From there, the surface was neutralized with a pale underpainting of yellow ochre and burnt sienna, very thinly applied.

One of my primary issues in painting of ay type is depth of field. Easy to do in photography, but not in painting! Thus, this was a goal in this painting. In general, I think I made it, but had to work and re-work the surface of the painting. This is the pleasure of acrylic – once dried, I can paint over what I don’t like.

I used a variety of techniques, one being glazing to dull own areas by using a cool glaze, and to bring others forward using a warm glaze. It worked, but I realized I needed to go further by using a dullish grey-green for the tree on the left, and a brighter, warmer green for the olive tree in the foreground.

This is the first painting – artwork of any kind – I have done since I had my cataract surgeries in July and August. With new lenses, in my eyes and in my glasses, my sight is much better. However, I may still need a newer prescription in a month or so as it was hard to see what I was painting with my new glasses. Time will tell with this.

Altogether, I am pleased with this attempt. First, I like the painting. I am going to let it stew a bit before I apply any varnishes. So, letting it sit is “second” – already I can see areas which are a bit illogical. Finally, the entire process was fun to do. Acrylic, as with all media, has its good and bad qualities or frustrations, or whatever, but the simple doing it is delight. Painting just removes the outside world and transports me into another dimension which is pure bliss.