Monday, November 29

Preparing for Acrylic Painting

My Reference Photo
Photo Copyright 2010

It’s a gray, muggy Monday morning here, so I am trying to gin up a little enthusiasm to start painting. I know I’ll get it in gear as soon as I pick up my brush. It’s the initial inertia I have to overcome.

A cold front blowing through in the next hour will help, too, as it clears the skies and a brisk north wind will cool and dry out the air.

What am I working on? As I mentioned a few blogs back, I am having a great time painting acrylic on 300-lb. watercolor paper. I may have “found my medium” as one artist recently told me.

The motif of my current painting is a city street scene. I chose it because I like the various elements of the pedestrians, the cars on the busy street, the steep perspective of the buildings, and the distant mountain, which is barely visible.

I started on my painting a week ago.

First I enlarged my 4 x 6 in. (10 x 15 cm.) reference photo to 17.5 x 28 in. (44.5 x 71 cm.) to fit the a full-sheet size (22 x 30 in., 56 x 76 cm.) watercolor paper. My reference photo is now the actual size of my painting.

Then using the 17.5 x 28 in. measurement, I taped off the borders of the paper using Tear-by-Hand tape. This will give you a sharp, crisp edge.

Next I used Saral transfer paper between my enlarged reference photo and the watercolor paper to transfer the main elements to the paper. It's wonderful stuff. This really helps when you have buildings or structures, which must have the proper perspective.

I was then ready to paint. I mixed ultramarine blue, azo yellow, and cadmium red medium acrylic to create my “dark” color. I painted all the darkest elements first with varying shades of my dark color from almost black to lighter grays. FYI-this is just the opposite of how you paint in watercolor. I like to paint the darks first in acrylic because it helps me judge the correct values of the other colors.

Some painters like to paint the whole sheet a neutral color first to cut the white of the paper, but for some reason that doesn’t usually help me, so I rarely do that.

Then I started painting the tall building fa├žade on the left-hand side. And that’s where I am right now as I begin today’s work.

I’ll let you know how it’s going. That cold front is blowing through with a rain shower, but I expect the sun to be shining soon. What a nice metaphor for a successful day of painting!

Until next blog…

1 comment:

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