Basics of Painting: Acrylics.

I’m starting this series with advice on painting. I love it just so much and I could really do that all the time. My lovely friend Jie (https://sweetartworks.wordpress.com/) suggested this series and I really liked the idea, so let’s get started, shall we?

Painting or drawing or… What to do?

Our art teacher gave us a test, what is better for us, drawing or painting.

Draw a garden. Some flower patches, just an overview, a map of a beautiful garden.

Now look at it. (1) Are there straight lines and everything is ordered? (2) Are there curves and circles?

  • If (1) – you should work graphically, take a pencil and go.
  • If (2) – you should paint. Get some nice colours and start.

I’m the second type and that is why I want to offer you some suggestions and tips about painting.

Which art supplies do I choose?

  1. I use really normal acrylics, they should come in little tubes. I always need a huge amount of white, so maybe you should buy another white one. For beginning I would really suggest acrylics, it’s so much easier than oil colours and they dry ridiculously fast. Oil colours… Nah, you got to wait 2 weeks to be able to paint again…
  2. Then you need some good brushes. They are expensive, I know. But when I think about it – I only use two. One bigger flat brush and a very small round brush. That’s it. Perfect for both acrylics and watercolours are synthetic brushes, the orange ones. Don’t buy the cheapest ones, they usually lose lots of hair but you don’t need expert ones. It’s your art that matters, not your supplies!
  3. A canvas. Or really thick paper. I usually use really cheap canvases but it’s better if they don’t absorb too many water because then painting gets weird. Maybe try some different brands and finally you find one that suits you. There are so many shapes and sizes!

Which motive?

That’s totally up to you. I often get inspired by photos on tumblr, generally on the internet but also from nice landscapes around. What is really helpful is to take a long walk outside, observe the clouds and the light – makes a beautiful motive.

Sometimes I just take photos as a reference and see where it leads me.

dancing queen

Which style is the best?

Do you want to work abstract in lines and circles? Impressionist with little dots and lines? Or realistically like the baroque paintings? That’s also up to you, you’re free to choose whatever suits you best. Just try and try many different things, combine them, that’s the joy of painting!

For me, it’s mostly the abstracted way of painting. Shapes get a bit stylised, not as realistic, so that the colours are more important. I did that quite a few times and it really worked well.

Also, you can work covering or with a lot of water. I usually combine those. First, I put the basic outlines on there with a lot of colour and add layer by layer with a lot of water. That gives the picture a much more 3-dimensional atmosphere.

P1050837

How to use colours?

Colours. Now, that’s difficult. First tip: Don’t use black in the beginning. Start with the light colours and get darker with the time. It’s so much easier to erase a mistake. In art there are no mistakes, but you know what I mean 😉

What is important, is the contrast. To make a painting interesting, you need many of them. There are some: complementary, dark and light, cold and warm, sizes of shapes, if the colours are tarnished and bright… Look them up and then try to figure out how to use them in your painting.
A combination of colours that works perfectly and is absolutely fool-proof: red, prussian blue and ochre. It always reminds me of the mediterranean and it’s beautiful, I used it so many times…

Important: Don’t use just one colour, use different shades of it. Don’t just mix it with black or white but with red and blue and yellow. The picture gets so much more lively!

splintered anger

And how do I start?

Maybe you like to add some basic outlines. For that – and I’m always doing it wrong argh – use a lightly coloured pencil. If you paint over pencil it will ruin the picture with its pigments. Don’t do that!

And then: Let the fun begin! Start with light colours, whereever you want. Use the colours again in another place. Each colour should be used at least three times, another great rule from our art teacher. You have to connect all the shapes of the picture with one another so that it gets a unity. If you use a nice palette, you can mix some colours on it and directly put it onto the canvas. Don’t make every shape look the same, don’t make it look to neat – it should be exciting!

That’s it, it’s really not that hard if you just try things. One last thing: If you are unsure about how you like what you did, leave it for a while. You can always fix things but you need to look at it from another perspective. Go and have a cup of tea and then come back… Paint! And have fun!

If you have further questions, please leave them in the comments and I can add them here. I hope it helped you a bit. See you for the next art lesson

verena x

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5 thoughts on “Basics of Painting: Acrylics.

    1. That’s so cool, so many beautiful ideas! Thanks so much for sharing the page, Dawn!

      (Sorry I didn’t answer sooner, I’m forgetting too many things at the moment :D)

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