Tag: acrylic

Painting 1, Assignment 1

still life part 1 uni


photo uni still life
Photo of set up for still life

For this assignment, it was recommended I was to keep it simple and do either a still life, landscape or interior. My painting was to be representational and proceeded by preliminary drawings looking at line, colour and tone.

I chose to do a still life; I love the work of Javier Mulio and after a few drawing of fruit and pots decided to do a painting in a similar fashion.

After the initial sketches, I decided to go with a form of Chiaroscuro, my attempt wasn’t that brilliant but it did show light and dark.

Acrylic is a totally new medium for me so I am learning how to apply it at the same time as producing the painting. It is not as unforgiving as watercolour, but to get the polished finish I was wanting it took many layers as it doesn’t go on smoothly. Well at least I don’t find it easy, my control of the medium is poor and I feel the finish bitty. I have found it easier to use in a looser fashion when practicing so maybe I will adapt to using both types of application within the picture adding a little texture.

I ran through various options and then decided on the above setting, and as mentioned wasn’t sure whether to go for light or dark background but felt a dark ground would give more atmosphere.

To get the lighting correct I chose a darkened corner and put a black paged photo album as a backdrop. It was then lit from the side. I had initially been looking at red wine, but decided on white in order I could bring a thread of a different colour through the picture.

The watercolour paper was first covered in a dark ground made from a mix of Paynes Grey and Raw Umber at the top and then Raw Umber and Alizarin Crimson below. I put two different shades to begin with as it would be easier to produce shadow if the base was already near to the under colour. I then used a pale ochre watercolour pencil to draw in the picture. I found this much easier than using Charcoal, it gave a better outline and it overpainted without any problem. As the picture was to be a smooth rendition it was painted in many layers rather than using a spatula. Still I found it very difficult to get the affect even with the use of an extender medium and diluting with water. I have never used oil paints but from observation they do seem to be more suited for this delicate method of painting as they look to go on smoother. However, the drying time is difficult for me as I have very little space to store the paintings, so Acrylics fast drying time is better.

All in all, although in the realms of things this was a quick painting, I was pleased with the outcome, yes the skill level wasn’t great which can be seen by the bitty application, but I did manage to produce a picture which resembled the actual set up. Also, the Chiaroscuro affect was helped by doing the tonal sketch on dark paper and gave a style I would like to look at further at a later stage.


Colours used were, Paynes Grey, Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Light Hansa and Alizarin Crimson Hue.

Part 1, Exercise tonal study on white ground

Part 1, Exercise tonal study on white ground

still life paint053
Quick Limited Palette Still Life

still life 5052 tonal

For this exercise, I had to find a few simple objects to hand which are plain and un-patterned. A jug vase and some fruit would be ideal. Place them so that they are lit from the side, either by natural alight from a window or by lamplight.

A soft tonal drawing medium was to be used to do some simple studies of my objects in my sketchbook, to ascertain the best viewpoint and angle to use for a tonal painting.

I then had to use a board or sheet and using my drawing to help work on a simple tonal study. Work directly or lightly sketch in outlines with charcoal. I had to only use two colours and white – at least I think that is what was meant, I didn’t find that clear.

I did start with a charcoal sketch but I am not keen on this approach and may try the blue pencil or a plain carbon or graphite pencil. The Charcoal even when brushed off does show through light applications and can mix and taint the paint. The sketches were useful when deciding on the tone and grouping of the objects as I have found in the past what looks good in a photograph doesn’t always look good on paper.

The colours I chose were Burnt Sienna and Ivory Black as I didn’t have Payne’s Grey as suggested. Black was never used on its own always mixed with Burnt Sienna to create the shade wanted mixing with white when necessary and mixing was done by eye as I put down various layers in slightly different tones.  I started with a dilute wash of Burnt sienna on the walls and base, the walls were my sketchbook, base a table cloth, there was a little artistic licence removing the pattern to keep it simple. I then laid down thin layers of dry brushstrokes and wash, to keep the background and base simple but interesting. I decided to do this to give the negative area some interest. I love Georgio Morandi since my tutor told me to take a look at his pots, his use of pastel colours I find very soothing. The remind me of the pastel painted  houses in Greece so bring back happy memories. The day I painted the picture my objects were illuminated by both natural light and a table lamp, the shadow very deep so I felt the group of objects were balanced more if I used the shadow as balance and set the objects to one side. I enjoyed doing this tonal painting though I need to get some extender for blending in future. I think I managed the tone well, better than I handled the paint, which I found patchy and temperamental. Maybe I should put more colour down next time. the picture in various layers, a hang up from watercolour painting. I have never used Acrylic paint before starting this course and find it a great learning curve. I usually use pencil or watercolour.

Colour tone is still difficult I forget that acrylic paint dry’s darker and forget to compensate and need to keep that in mind when painting. Overall for a quick painting though I was surprised how well it came out and although the photograph below shows the tone of the teapot to be lighter, this is due to the light. I painted the picture from real life and not a photo, the photograph being taken the day after in different lighting conditions,  for some reason the teapot looks much lighter possibly as the daylight was poor and the pots were illuminated mainly by lamp.


Part 1 What Paint Can Do, Opaque colour mixing



For this exercise I had to choose 3 of my previous washes and try and duplicate it mixing with white. Then compare them side by side, the exercise was to help me think of ways these different ways of using paint can be worked.

I found this a difficult exercise not only because Acrylic dries darker than seen when painting but its behaviour is also different.  The white used within this exercise was Titanium White.

The top yellow and blue just didn’t mix in the same manner, so I found it impossible to duplicate there was a less subtle exchange of pigment and the colour mixed with white was far more solid, it seemed to hold less light, the colours used were Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Yellow. Although they did produce the expected green as I kept the acrylic wet it was a much more linear exchange.

The second was Ultramarine Blue this worked better and although I didn’t get the colour exact it worked well, unfortunately again things looked great when the paint was wet but the lighter parts of the picture dried too dark and it is something I am going to have to get to grips with and practice. I am not used to acrylic and this is a great learning curve.

The third is a mix of Cadmium Yellow and Alizarin Crimson to create orange, this I felt was the most successful not because I manage to get the colour correct I didn’t, I had fallen into the same problem as before and the colour was too dark. However the gradation was much smoother. Rather than keep the paint moist I worked hard at mixing the colour with white on the paper at a greater speed. I was pleased with the result even though the colour was still not a match.

Finally I had to look at the various ways in which the two types of application would work together. There must be numerous ways in which they can be used. Washes over a dried opaque mix could offer a tint of a colour. Opaque mix over a wash could cover up mistakes underneath. Many tints can be made with wash and white incorporation. The wash is far more delicate and can show underpainting so a good use would be for areas where a more delicate touch is needed in flowers, sky, water, tinted washes. Where the opaque mix will be good for solid items within the painting that need statement, and for covering areas which I may wish to erase.




Basic Paint Application – Applying paint without brushes

paint wob 1
Application with palette knives, credit card, nail sharpener, bottle top and ordinary knife.


paint wob2
Application with, sponge, cloth, fingers, small brush and bubble wrap.

For this exercise I had to try out various ways of applying paint. I chose to use acrylic paint, in part because it dries quickly and secondly I couldn’t afford oil paint as well. Watercolour would not work well with the criteria given.

Experimenting with technique and mark was great fun and gave a great awareness of the use and ways of applying paint in order to gain a specific look. Some of the thicker applications were Impasto and the texture could add something to the detail. One thing I was really taken by was the way a thin application of paint could glow on the paper the pigment pure, a second application of a thin colour would show the one underneath altering the top hue.

White made everything opaque and it was obvious at this stage to use the paint effectively it would take a lot of experimenting. It was also fun to put a base colour under an opaque one then scrape of the top to expose the colour beneath. I think experimenting with its use could take a lifetime of knowledge before you could become an expert.

Part 1, Exercise 1 Getting to know your brushes.

Landscape From Memory
apple scan

I was to start by exploring my brushes making a range of marks and shapes that can be made with them. Use flats, rounds, filberts. I tried various marks and also had a quick go at some seed heads. Someone had given me a pad of canvas so I painted them on that. I just had fun and tried various thickness of paint and different paper. The first lot was painted on A1 taking notes as to which brushes were used and what they were best for. Grass worked really well with a dry brush which I found out unexpectedly whilst exploring.

Next from memory I had to draw a small simple landscape about A4 in size, using large brushes so I am not distracted by the urge to include detail. Concentrate on the possibilities and patterns made by the bush marks. Then after the experimenting I was to draw a piece of fruit using the techniques, taking care to set the fruit in direct light to help define the form.

I don’t mind admitting anything from mind scares me. My brain doesn’t have the ability to recall landscape I haven’t done them enough, however I had just drawn a wood for my final piece in Drawing 1 so I decided to draw one. I used a large one inch flat and a filbert to do the piece, not my best piece of work, but it was great fun. I dry brushed grasses and washed the background colour using the paint in various thickness throughout. My strokes were varied and it was a fun piece.

Watercolour is the only paint I have used so this is going to be a huge learning curve. Acrylic was my chosen paint and I first watch some videos and read up about how to use it. Not an easy task to use, but oil would be difficult as I don’t have a good place to leave wet oil paintings to dry, without my animals deciding to add to the look. Acrylic dry quickly and I tried to look at the problems before I began. The brushes were great fun, I had only used rounds and a big flat I didn’t realise the shapes and line you could make, nor how fine a line can be done by using the fine side of the brush. Some beautiful shapes can be got by turning the flat brushes as you use them.

After trying out the brushes not only with changing mark, I altered the surface and the thickness of the paint. I tried my landscape, I don’t mind admitting anything from mind scares me. My brain doesn’t have the ability to recall landscape I haven’t done them enough, however I had just drawn a wood for my final piece in Drawing 1 so I decided to draw one. I used a large one inch flat and a filbert to do the piece, not my best piece of work, but it was great fun. I dry brushed grasses and washed the background colour using the paint in various thickness throughout. My strokes were varied and it was a fun piece.

For the fruit I chose an Apple and decided to paint it on a sheet of canvass which I primed in Gesso. Part way through I began to panic as it looked more like a Pepper but after various layers of paint it began to look like an Apple and I was pleased with the end painting.