Monthly Archives: June 2017

Complete Your First Perfect Painting Well

Pouring Paint, Tips and Tricks

Contemporary paintings often showcase a wide variety of special effects—especially when the imagery is abstract. (Think Jackson Pollock, Morris Louis and Helen Frankenthaler.) Many of those effects can be achieved by pouring acrylic paint. Pouring is a great way to smooth out unwanted texture, get marbleized effects, rich colored glazes, and add some fun to your painting process. Although pouring is a relatively simple technique, it is not always easy.

There are two categories for pouring acrylic paint: coated pours and wash pours. Each requires a different process and will produce different effects. The following helpful tips and tricks for pouring acrylic paint can help you navigate around the most common pouring problems…

Tips for Coated Pours

A coated pour can resemble oil paint and will intensify colors since glossy binders reflect light. Coated pours generally use a combination of acrylic paint and medium, with little to no water added. The paint creates a fluid shape or layer that sits upon the painting surface, as in Jackson Pollack’s layered drips and high-gloss finishes.

  • For best results, use a pouring medium and keep any water additions to less than 40%.
  • Pouring mediums come in both thin and thick viscosities. Each will produce different effects. To determine quantities, a good rule of thumb is to plan on about 2 ounces of thin pouring medium to cover an 8” x 10” (20cm x 20cm) surface, and three ounces for thicker pouring mediums.
  • Avoid haphazardly adding water to thin pouring mediums. Try using the medium on it’s own first to determine whether adding water is necessary.
  • Allow any excess medium to spill over the sides of the painting surface by propping up the surface with containers or blocks at all four corners.
  • Use a leveling device to ensure the pour will remain level while drying.
  • Use a rigid substrate to prevent buckling while pouring acrylic paint. If using stretched canvas, be sure to prop up the center to keep it from sinking.
  • Before pouring, apply a stain sealer, then prime with gesso. This will prevent stains from coming through the surface into the poured layer.

Dragon Breath by Bonnie Teitelbaum, acrylic on panel, 22 × 22.Several coated pouring mixtures were pre-made using color and medium in separate cups, then poured while all were still wet, allowing the colors to overlap. Article contributions by Christina Richards.

Tips for Wash Pours

A wash pour can resemble watercolor and will mute colors since it uses heavy amounts of water to dilute the acrylic. This encourages the paint to sink into the painting surface, as in Helen Frankenthaler’s stained canvas effects.

  • For best results, do no use any mediums.
  • Heavily dilute the paint with water, at least a 1-1 ratio.
  • Consider the effect the surface absorbency will have on the result. A wash pour on a glossy surface will break apart into interesting shapes variegations. A wash pour on matte and absorbent surfaces, such as watercolor paper, will soak into the surface to produce an even colored stain.
  • Change the surface absorbency by adding acrylic paste or gel before you begin pouring acrylic paint.
  • Try to minimize handling of the piece. Instead let the paint and water move around on their own while drying. The most interesting effects with wash pours often come out of happy accidents.
  • Fluid acrylics will offer more intensity of color in wash pours than heavy body acrylics will.
  • You can also substitute acrylic inks, high-flow acrylics and airbrush colors in most wash pour techniques for alternate effects.

Big Yellow by Mary Morrison, acrylic on canvas, 42 × 46. A variety of soft and hard-edge forms are created with wash pours on canvas. Modern colors are used for the washes, keeping the color intensity bright.

Nancy Reyner & More Solutions for Perfect Paintings

Nancy Reyner has been painting for more than thirty years and she exhibits and teaches both nationally and internationally. Her video workshop, Perfect Painting Solutions, offers a multitude of techniques and ideas with the intent to give artists everywhere the ability to turn any painting into perfection. That means troubleshooting colors that go too dark, correcting problems in both realist and abstract work, how to take your inspiration and turn it into a painting that will attract a viewer’s eye, and more. Let Nancy coach you through all the issues you will face so that you get a painting that is perfect for you–all with Perfect Painting Solutions.

10 Painting Principles Every Painter Should Know Each painter

10 Painting Principles from Oil Painter Gregg Kreutz

1. The four stages of painting are placement, background, shadow and light.
2. To paint something convincingly, you have to determine local color, shadow color, turning color and highlight color.
3. Dynamics (high contrast, color, paint thickness, and so forth) bring passages forward (see Fish Market Dawn, below).

4. Paint relationships—not isolated things or people.
5. Everything is either light against dark, dark against light or same against same.
6. Paint passages in the light thickly (see Fall at the Farmer’s Market, below).

7. Light turns gently into shadow and emerges crisply from the shadow.
8. Every object needs a form shadow (see Up the Lane, below).

 

 

9. Shadows are dark versions of local color.
10. Highlights are never on the starting edge (see Golden Earring, below).

Which of these painting principles are your favorites? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to share with us any painting must-dos that were not listed above.

Mixing Color for Acrylic

I’m always happy to talk about color, and this past year has taken me on a few colorful adventures. Since I always travel with my camera, I make a point to record things that inspire me.

I spent seven months last year in Northeast Ohio and enjoyed greens I haven’t seen since my many years of living in California. With the West’s dusty, drought-tolerant greens or its deep forest shades, I had forgotten the lively array of colors the warmer Ohio seasons bring.

With spring’s perky, acid-toned bright greens and the soft pale colors of the first leaves to the luscious and full greens during the summer. Each variety brings its own special formula into the picture. And, speaking of formulas, let’s learn about mixing greens in acrylic.

Avoid Being Green with Envy with Other Artists’ Color Mixing

In my book, Acrylic Color Explorations, there’s a lesson on how to get a range of greens using a single color of blue pigment and just changing the yellow pigments. It’s good to start your mixing lessons with transparent pigments so you can see the clarity of the greens created.

Get to know your paints. Scribble on a piece of paper with a pencil. Paint over your scribble. This will tell you how cloudy or clear your color is.

When you look at areas of green in nature, notice how they are not all exactly the same. For a natural look, you want a variation of green to imply where something might be hit by sunlight or hidden in shadow.

When you start mixing greens, take note of the ratio of yellow to blue for the brighter, sharper greens or the ratio of blue to yellow for the deeper ones. Once you have developed a solid range you’re satisfied with, introduce Titanium White to your mixes and see how the paints lighten up.

Your ratio of white to the mixture is also important. Too much white can overwhelm the green mixture and wash it out. Try the same exercise with a little Bone Black added to your green mixtures. This will bring a deepness and richness to your formula.

The Roads We Traveled (mixed media on canvas, 18×18) by Chris Cozen. This analogous composition builds on the range of colors of yellow-green through blue-green on the color wheel. With the addition of Titan Buff paint and paper elements, this active composition balances the bright and soft tones of these compatible colors and takes advantage of the full range of values possible.The collage elements also add movement and focus to the composition.

Get Your Glaze On

What happens when we go too far one way or the other? That’s where glazing comes in. You can always create a lighter or darker green glaze. Just mix your original formula with glazing medium, and apply the color over your original.

Sheer glazes are built by using a 6:1 ratio of medium to paint. Remember, the more pigment you use the less sheer the glaze will be.

Glazing is an excellent way to play with the surfaces of green areas as well. Want to create a shadow? Add a little glaze layer of Dioxazine Purple or Payne’s Gray over an area and see it shift.

Favorites for Green Color Mixing

Of course, there are plenty of green pigments/paints out there in the marketplace to choose from. I have a few favorites of my own. I use green-gold (Golden), chromium oxide green, and sap green hue as mixers.

  • Green-gold leans heavily toward yellow. I often substitute it for yellow to mix with my blues when I want a unique green.
  • Chromium oxide green is a dense opaque pigment, which is a great base color for starting a field of green. Mix loosely with white and Titan Buff, brush on rapidly with lots of movement and you’ll get a lovely “start” for a field.
  • I turn to sap green hue when I want some quick depth, especially in a glaze. Its formula has some black in it which adds a lot of richness to the glaze.

All in all, mixing greens is pretty fun. You can take any color on the blue to blue-green spectrum and add any yellow to create an array of greens to work with.

Color mixing is an adventure as well as an investment in your painting process. The goal is to get to know the pigments you own and fully explore their potential! You should aim to be fluent in color so you can readily mix any color you may need.

You can find more great ideas in my book as well as in the instructional videos I created as a companion toAcrylic Color Explorations by checking out my bundle at North Light Shop. Each of the DVDs covers techniques for using color in various ways.

The Most You Need to Know Before Drawing should be with Markers and Ink

Learn to Draw with Markers and Ink like a Pro

Drawing with markers offers almost instant gratification—markers are simple to use, require little prep time and dry quickly. Because the marking material is fluid, the smooth marks are unlike those made by dry drawing mediums.

Drawing with markers will offer you a range of brilliant color that surely will excite your creativity. They’re ideal for creating loose lines, calligraphic designs and precise technical illustrations.

One drawback to using them is that it’s not easy to correct mistakes. To work successfully, you need a bit of confidence and some drawing experience.

The many different types of markers go by various names, such as art markers, marker pens, artist pens, brush pens and paint markers. Art pens and markers come in every color you can imagine and can be purchased in sets to save money. They vary in size and tip shape and are further distinguished by their colorant, which can be dye, ink or paint, and alcohol-, water- or solvent-based.

Different Types of Markers

When learning how to draw with markers, it’s important to consider the different types. Three common kinds of markers are listed below: alcohol-based, water-based and solvent-based. Knowing the different qualities of each will help you choose which markers are best for your drawing needs.

Alcohol-Based

These markers are fast-drying and waterproof. They don’t smell as strong as solvent-based brands, but they can still cause eye or respiratory irritation. Make sure your workspace is well ventilated.

Because alcohol-based markers dry quickly, the paper you work on doesn’t stay wet and is less likely to be torn as you layer colors. Popular brands among artists and designers include Prismacolor, Letraset Tria and Copic, whose pens are refillable. Sharpies, the all-purpose permanent markers, are also alcohol-based.

Water-Based

Because they are odorless and safe to use, water-based markers are the best choice for children. But adults can obviously make good use of them, too.

Some have brush tips made of foam or dense fiber. Others are chisel-shaped or have nylon brush tips that distribute the color.

Water-based paint markers, such as Sakura Permapaque markers, are opaque, generally quick-drying and water-resistant when dry.

Most brush pens and markers are water-based and have flexible nylon or foam tips shaped like traditional brushes. They make marks similar to small round bristle brushes and have a similar feel in the hand.

Many brush markers are double-ended, with a fine point on one end and a wider tip on the other. Brush pens and markers often use acid-free ink, which is ideal for calligraphic work, art journals and book arts. Try Staedtler Marsgraphic 3000 Duo, Pitt Artist Pens, Pentel Brush Pens or Marvy Brush Markers.

Solvent-Based

This type of marker creates brilliant color and is waterproof and long-lasting. A popular solvent-based brand for design and drawing is Chartpak Ad markers, whose solvent is xylene.

The solvents in markers can be xylene, methyl isobutyl ketone or butyl acetate, all of which can cause dizziness, headaches and nausea. Markers with these solvents should be used only in studios with excellent ventilation. Solvent-based markers aren’t suitable for children.

Many paint markers are solvent-based and opaque. You can use paint markers on porous and nonporous surfaces. They’re generally waterproof, but not necessarily permanent.

Paint markers are most useful for craft or decorative projects and signage. Shake them to mix the paint inside, and ensure your workspace has proper ventilation. This marker type, which come in many colors including metallics, can be blended with Turpenoid or other solvents.

Using Dip Pens

Long before markers hit art store shelves, artists drew with pen and ink. Dip pens have been made from reeds or quills since ancient times. The simplest is a Japanese hand-carved bamboo pen that has its shaft shaped into a tip that can be dipped into a pot of ink.

A bit more refined is a pen with an interchangeable metal nib held in a simple wooden or plastic handle. Drawing nibs are pointed metal tips that are somewhat flexible so the lines produced are thicker or thinner depending on the pressure of the hand.

Similar nibs are also available in pens that hold a reservoir of ink inside the handle, like a fountain pen, obviating the need to dip the pen into a pot of ink. The reservoir can be a disposable or refillable cartridge.

Mechanical pens have a metal, needle-like tip instead of a nib and produce a controlled line of predetermined width from 0.13 to 1.4 millimeters. Mechanical pens can be used for precise drafting and technical work or for sketching, although the unchanging width can become monotonous.

Black India ink is pigment-based ink that is permanent, lightfast and waterproof. Colored inks are acrylic- or shellac-based and can be thinned with water. Some colored inks aren’t lightfast and shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight for long periods.

3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Drawings

Now that we have covered the basics, here are three easy tips for drawing with markers and ink.

  • Line and wash: First do a line drawing in pen or ink. When it’s dry, add light washes with markers, watercolor or brush and ink. If the initial drawing is done in water-soluble ink, the wash will soften the ink lines, creating an interesting fusion of line and tone.
  • Layering: Markers lend themselves perfectly to blending and layering color. Start with the lightest colors, building up rich layers of color and texture. Colorless blenders, such as those from Prismacolor and Chartpak, can be used to soften edges and combine colors.
  • Combining media: Watercolor brush markers can be blended and lightened with a brush dipped in water or can be used in combination with traditional watercolor
    techniques.