Tag Archives: acrylic painting

Rose painted by Lynnette Horn

Contemporary Rose–Final Touches

You know how when you are done painting for the day, the painting doesn’t leave you. It’s still on your mind even when you sleep. Well that was me yesterday. I kept looking at this Contemporary Rose and thinking something’s not right. I had already decided to extend the shadow farther out away from the rose in the lower left corner, but I was using Phthlalo Blue, which is pretty intense for fading out. And as beautiful a color as it is, I found it competing with the rose. By morning I decided to cool it down with a brush mix of Ultramarine Blue and Carbon Black. Ultramarine Blue is less saturated and, at least for me, easier to fade out for an extended shadow. It has the added bonus of being cooler than Phthlalo Blue.

I don’t think it is as distracting from the main attraction now. And I am happier with it. I didn’t remove the Phthlalo Blue, but glazed over it to cool it down.

Today, I also went back to clean edges and add a little more definition between petals. For the most part I used Quinacridone Violet for this. While doing this, I danced around the rose, adding emphasis to small details here and there. I don’t think the average person would notice the difference, but for me these small touches make the rose look more realistic and complete.

All in all, today’s tweaks took about an hour. Really I feel like I can piddle and piddle with it until the cows come home, but there comes a time when an inner voice sets off an alarm, “Stand away from the canvas….eeeeoooo, eeeeoooo (siren)…stand away from the canvas!” I’ve learned the hard way how important it is to obey that alarm after many overworked paintings. So this is the final photo.

All that is left is signing, sealing and varnishing. Now that you’ve seen the final product, let me know if you would be interested in a painting pattern for this. What I’ve shared here is a general summary of the painting process. But a painting pattern would include the line drawing, step by step instructions and photos (more than here) along with tips to achieve the same look.

Now it’s on to the next…

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Contemporary Rose, with Glazes by Lynnette Horn

Contemporary Rose–Glazes

Today, I set up downstairs in the breakfast room of our hotel to paint while Al was sleeping (remember–nightshift). I don’t have to use the crutches anymore so I can actually carry things again. It seems like such a luxury now. So anyway I got started on the glazes for my Contemporary Rose.

First, I dressed the canvas in extender and thinned Warm White with a touch of extender also. I painted this over the petals to help blend the shading a bit better. Because I used extender I could still see the grisaille. Once it was dry I started in the center and worked my way out with glazes.

My darkest glaze is DecoArt Traditions Deep Yellow. As you can see in the painting I used this in the center and around the base of the center petals. Next came Indian Yellow, which is an orangey transparent yellow. My last glaze from this hue is Hansa Yellow. From the looks of it I really poured on the glaze, but actually I took my time applying layer upon layer of very thin glaze to build up the color.

Next came Quinacradone Violet for the pink glaze. Each petal was painted first with shape following strokes around the edges. Then I used a small mop to soften and pull in towards the base of the petal. In a later layer, I went back through to add lines and irregularities along the edges.

There is still a lot to be done with glazes, additional details and anchoring the rose on the background. So stay tuned…

Grisaille Rose by Lynnette Horn

Contemporary Rose

Today, I want to share with you the progress on my latest painting, “Contemporary Rose.” It’s based off of a photo I took of a rose in my garden last summer. When the first warmth of spring hit, I remembered this photo and wanted to do something very in your face and springy. My palette evokes spring and makes me smile. I can’t wait to share it with you, but you’ll have to wait for another post.

I base coated this before the tornado took out my house. It was sitting on the kitchen counter when the tornado hit, and surprisingly survived when most everything around it was destroyed, so no matter what I had to finish it. At first, dealing with our temporary living arrangement was getting the best of me. I though it was impossible to paint and I know you heard about my frustrations. But when it got to be too much I found a way. So here is my painting so far and I’ll keep you posted on the progress. I may make this into a downloadable painting pattern if there is enough interest. So please comment if you would like to see this in a painting pattern.

The painting is on a 12″x12″ canvas. After my usual canvas prep, I thought I would experiment a little with the new DecoArt Chalky Finishes. This line of paint is suppose to work on any surface, though most people think of chalky paints for furniture or wood pieces. I wondered how it would do on canvas. I painted one coat of Serene, which is a light blue, with a sponge brush. Coverage was great, but it left some brushstroke marks. It only took a light sanding with an ultra-fine sand paper to bring my canvas back to smooth.

Once it was dry, I transferred the outline of the rose to the canvas and painted it a base color of DecoArt Traditions Opaque White. It took two coats to achieve solid coverage. Then I transferred the rest of my pattern. The next step was to set in the values. Sometimes it is easier to create form when color is not a factor. That’s what Grisaille means–to paint form without color. It is painted in different values of gray. I tried to paint my grisaille in grey values but it looked heavy and out of sorts. It could be because I had already introduced color to my background (light blue). So I wiped it off and started over, brush mixing only Opaque White and Blue Grey for a variety of values. This worked so much better. I deliberately did not create all the value changes I intend to have in the finished painting, because the color glazes will further adjust the values.

I’ll seal this in the morning with a mixture of DecoArt Traditions Multi-Surface Sealer and Glazing Medium. Then it is on to the transparent colors. Stay tuned…

Artist Mops and More

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that mops are treated differently than other artist  paintbrushes. First of all mops, with a few exceptions, are not meant to apply paint to a surface but to smooth and soften what you’ve already applied. They also can be used to blend the line of separation between one color and another. They come in several sizes and shapes. Their hairs may be synthetic, camel, squirrel, hog , goat or a synthetic blend. Most are soft, but some are purposely stiff.

When you use a mop you will not wet it with water or extender first. Usually you will want to make light crisscross strokes over the wet paint. But there are times the smaller mops can be stroked or pounced, always lightly. The mop is going to move the paint around and pick up some of it. If you are too heavy handed you may create holes in your work, taking off more than you intended.

I never clean a mop while I am using it. Instead I vigorously stroke it on a shop towel to get most of the paint out of it before using with a different color.  When I am totally done for the day I can clean it. For the large fluffy mops, I prefer not to use water for cleaning. I rub hand sanitizer in the hairs that still hold paint. It evaporates quickly, leaving the mop still soft and floppy. I’ve tried washing my earlier mops with hand soap and water, but they were never the same afterwards. They lost their softness.

Hand sanitizer works well for all mops and is the best option. If you are concerned about drying out the hairs you can use soap and water but the lather can get out of control. Cut the soap down to a minimum and  be sure to rinse thoroughly.

Hopefully, I’ll have some demonstrations on how to use mops, as well as others down the road.

Photo of tornado damage to home

Gone With the Wind

A couple days ago I promised a blog about paintbrush care. Unfortunately, I had to take a few days off because of unforeseen circumstances. As you can see from the photo, we encountered a slight bump in the road. We are all safe. The rest is all stuff. It can be replaced. Most of the art was saved. I’m banged up a bit but nothing serious. I’ll be typing with one hand and hobbling around for awhile but each day is getting a little better.

Now for some brushcare tips that I promised. First, lets look at the parts of a brush. The hairs or bristles are called the head of the brush. The very tip/edge of the head is called the chisel. With an angle brush, the long tip is called the toe and the short side, the heel. The hairs are glued to the handle or shaft and are kept in place by a metal piece called the ferrule. So now that we have the terms, it will be easier to discuss care.

When you first buy a brush, run your finger along the chisel to break up the sizing, and then wet the hairs with water and soap or brush cleaner. If using soap, go for a mild bar or liquid and avoid harsh detergents. There are some fantastic brush cleaners out there, too.  Personally, I use liquid hand soap. Squirt a small amount into the palm of my hand and stroke the brush back and forth in it to get it worked into the hairs, rinse thoroughly. Reshape the head and dry flat.

If there had been paint in my brush, I would repeat the soap and rinse steps until all color is out of the brush. Then continue with the drying. Once dry, dressing the brush head in extender or retarder will keep the hairs from becoming brittle. I use DecoArt Extender Medium.  I put a few drops of it onto a waxed palette, dip my brush into it and stroke back and forth on a clean spot of the palette. Then I pinch wipe out the excess with a folded paper towel,

Acrylic paint, no matter what brand, is very hard on the bristles. The extender will act as a barrier, protecting the bristles. You can use it in place of water to help the paint to flow through the hairs. And, having extender on your brush will help the paint to release during cleaning.

When I paint I usually do not clean my brush between colors. I simply pinch wipe and pick up the next pigment.  The extra bits of color will add harmony throughout the painting. But, there are times when you’ll want to clean paint build up out of the brush before continuing. When this happens, do not set the brush in a water pail or scape it across a ridged pail bottom. Keep the brush shallow and swish it around in the water. Pinch wipe between paper towels and redress in extender, pinch wipe again and you are ready to go.

Try to avoid getting water or paint into the ferule, which could loosen the glue and flay the hairs, so the head will no longer have a sharp chisel.

Mops are a different beast altogether. I’ll try to get back on tomorrow to cover them.

If you find this post helpful, please share with your friends. And, if you have any questions about care and use of brushes, please comment and I will get back with you.

 

Value Study painting by Lynnette Horn

Paintbrushes for the Acrylic Artist

One of the biggest mistakes I see beginning artists make is to short change themselves when it comes to supplies. They go on the cheap, buying a packet of assorted craft brushes and buying student grade paints. And then, they wonder why their paintings are not as they should be. Well, duh.

First of all, let me state that there are no magic brushes that will make your brushstrokes a thing of perfection. But, a good quality set of brushes will help you along your journey and won’t wear out nearly as fast. My rule of thumb has always been to buy as much quality as you can afford.

Just a side note about student grade paints–they contain more solids and filler than artist grade paints. If you are following a dvd or a painting pattern, and using student grade paints you will not be able to achieve the same look as the instructor’s. It will appear duller. If you don’t realize it is the paints, you may get discouraged and give up. Always use a good quality artist paint.

The next issue is deciding what type of quality brushes to buy. There’s so many to choose from–hog bristle, squirrel, synthetic, synthetic mix and nylon. No matter what they are made of, what is most important is the degree of softness. In the store, brushes will always feel a little stiff. they have sizing in them to help them keep their shape in shipping. brush your fingers along the chisel (which is the edge of the bristles) to break up the sizing, before you check for stiffness.

Oil painters usually choose the stiffest brushes that will allow their brushstrokes to be seen. Acrylic artists generally want softer brushes that will paint flat, yet have enough resilience to bounce back to their chisel point. Watercolorists use the softest brushes of them all. Personally, I use DecoArt Traditions Brushes, which are high quality brushes specifically made for acrylics. The Traditions line of brushes fill all my needs with a wide variety of liners, rounds, filberts, flats, angles, mops and blenders. If you are interested, they can be purchased from http://www.artapprenticeonline.com. By the way, I don’t receive a penny for endorsing them.

Not matter which manufacturer you go with, the cost may be prohibitive to buy the whole line. So the beginning artist should concentrate on buying the workhorses that will form the foundation for future purchases. Here is my list–stripped down to the bone essentials:

  • •big fluffy mop
  • •3/4″ or 1″ oval brush
  • •#3 round
  • •#4 filbert
  • •#6 filbert
  • •1/4″ angle
  • •1/2″ angle
  • •#10 dome blender
  • •3/0 liner or 0 liner
  • One step beyond bare bones is a #1 mini mop–I just love this brush and couldn’t leave it off, but absolutely necessary, well…

If I had to, I could get by with only these brushes, yet I rarely paint larger than 16″ x 20″ canvases. If you plan on painting mostly larger canvases, you might want to up the sizes a bit. As you learn different techniques from various instructors, you will want to add to this list. I recommend that you just go slow and only buy as needed. If you take care of them, they will last your a very long time. Tomorrow I will cover taking care of your brushes.

Do you have a favorite brush that would be on your bare bones list?

How to Prepare a Canvas to Paint

I spent the day prepping canvases. So that means I’m between paintings right now. I have several ideas in various stages of development and for me, that is the perfect time to get ‘er done–while I’m still in the thought and sketch mode.

I know many beginning artists dislike prep work. They want to get on to the good stuff with the brushes and pigment. But, if a canvas is not prepped properly it can ruin an otherwise beautiful painting. I didn’t like it at first and tried to create shortcuts, but they never worked out and my art suffered for it.

Somewhere along the line, I made peace with it and can honestly say I enjoy it now. How much prep your canvas needs will depend on your own preferences and sometimes on the technique you choose to use. For instance, if you were painting impasto, which is a technique using thick, textured paint (think Van Gogh), you could get by with just applying primer and sealer. But if you are anything like me, you’ll want a smooth canvas with hardly, if any, weave showing.

There are many products out there and many ways to prep canvases, but I’m going to tell you what works for me. Since I like a very smooth surface, it takes time and it’s easier to prep a number of canvases at once. Prepping will take several days.  I encourage you to comment with your favorite or unique way to prep surfaces, if they differ. The more information available the better it is for beginning artists.

First, I use a medium length palette knife to scoop out a large dollop of DecoArt  Acrylic Gesso and spread it over the canvas.  If the canvas is large, I may use a drop or two of DecoArt Traditions Extender and Blending Medium to keep it pliable longer. Then I use the knife to smash the gesso into the weave of the canvas, scraping the excess as I go.  I wipe the excess onto an area not yet covered and smash and scrape again. Continuing until the whole canvas is covered with a thin layer. (Some prefer to use an old credit card or a paint spatula, instead of a palette knife for this.)

Don’t try to fill and hide the weave with one layer. This is a multi-layer process. Each layer must dry thoroughly and then be sanded before the next layer is applied. If you apply another layer over a layer that has not dried completely, you risk cracking the gesso. But it won’t happen right away. It may wait until you have your beautiful artwork on it.  For that reason, I give my canvases a long dry time. Pending on the season, I may dry then in the shade outdoors. Some use a hair dryer, but I don’t trust that a dryer is getting below the surface.  This is why it takes me so long.

Okay, let’s talk about sanding. I use a fine sandpaper that is meant for wet sanding. Get the sandpaper wet and move lightly over the surface. I use a circular motion and spend extra time on any areas that appear thicker than the rest or any ridges. I take my time to make each layer as smooth as possible. Then I use a clean shop towel to wipe it clean.

I usually use 3 or 4 layers in all. When the last layer is dry and sanded I seal with DecoArt Traditions Multi-Surface Sealer. I let is cure for 24 hours before I would start painting on it. I’m probably over cautious, but hey, I want to make sure this baby’s good enough for my finest work.

Well, that’s the nuts and bolts of prepping. If you found it helpful, share it with your friends. And if you have an even better way to prep, please let me know.