Acrylic Painting Techniques – Tips and Enjoyment Guide to Painting a Seascape on Canvas
|December 23, 2010||Posted by Jacob Devies under Acrylic Painting|
Acrylics have been around since the 1950s/60s. They are made from fine – ground pigment particles suspended in water and bound with a form of plastic. Have a read of the tips below and maybe you’ll find that you want to give them a go. They’re so easy to use and I love them. If I can use them, so can you. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get started. You can find cheap ranges in art shops, but I find the Galeria range are good for starting off with. Use heavy duty watercolor paper or canvas, although you can paint on wood or canvas boards. Well, here goes:
* I find it an advantage that the paints dry very quickly. It means that if you make a mistake, you can paint over the layer of paint underneath without it mixing with the new paint.
* Make sure you keep a large container of water nearby (ice cream containers are ideal). You will need to make sure that you wash you brushes regularly or keep them in water because if the paint dries on them, they’ll be ruined. Another bonus is that as acrylics are water – based they only need to be cleaned with water and not turps and there is no smell.
Acrylic Painting Techniques : How to Paint a Canvas Picture
When painting a picture on canvas using acrylics, always begin by painting in the background, such as the sky, and move forward to the foreground objects. Use acrylics to paint on canvas with art instruction from a professional artist in this video on painting techniques.
* Acrylics come in tubs or tubes. You can use it straight from the tube or you can mix it with water to thin it. Only put out paint in quantities that you think you will use because it dries so quickly and you don’t want to waste it. You can always squeeze out more.
*As the colors in acrylics are quite vivid, I sometimes use emulsion paint as well. As this is water based, I can add more water to give a wash effect, or to perhaps add to skies, seas, etc; it gives a more subtle hue.
*Brushes and palette knives can be used. Sable brushes are good quality but are expensive and can be easily ruined. You can get different shapes of nylon and bristle brushes from art shops which work really well for acrylics. I find that cheap, bristle brushes bought from DIY stores for home decorating work really well. They don’t leave any brush marks.
Let me go through the process of one of my seascapes as an example.
*First of all gather your things; canvas or watercolor paper, acrylic paints, large pot of water, brushes, clean washing — up cloths, kitchen paper and any emulsion paints (match pot sizes are fine) if you wish to use them.
* I buy ready — primed canvasses with block edges but I need to give them texture for interest. I use some ready — mixed polyfilla and water it down a little bit. Because I am painting the sea, I need to determine the horizon. I measure down from the top of the canvas and draw across with a blue watercolor pencil. I position a strip of masking tape along the horizon and round the edges with the top of the tape on the horizon line.
Introduction to Seascapes, Acrylic
“The Simply Painting Series”, as seen on PBS, introduces students to the basics of watercolors and the joy of painting. Each program takes you to exotic and picturesque spots to find the perfect creative inspiration. Students return to the studio for a watercolor lesson on capturing the essence of these exciting places. Subjects covered include: Still Life, Brush Techniques, Landscapes, Perspective, Seascapes, Using Colors, Flowers, Wet to Wet, Foods, Washes, Trees, White Gouache, Mountains, Light & Dark Properties, Water, Painting on other Material, Woodlands, Misty Hills. (Youtube)
Now I take a rubber spatula and spread the polyfilla along the sky in places but still leaving some canvas bare. Try to imagine this as a sky. Try to think of how a sky will look. I always paint the sides of my canvases and in large ones the width of the sides can be wider and I think these look good textured too, so I carry on around the sides, although with small canvases I might not texture those edges.
When this is dry, I take off the tape and then position it so that the bottom edge is on the horizon line. This enables me to texture the rest of the canvas, (i.e. the sea and beach.) Now, if you are doing this, use your spatula to try to create texture which is going to resemble the movement of the sea. You can have great fun with this. Again though, once you start, you have to finish because the polyfilla will dry soon and you don’t want to be left with something looking like anything but the sea!
*You can add mediums to acrylic paint which make it do different things.
Impasto gel comes in a tube and can be added to the paint to give it thickness. You can create fantastic movement in the seas that you paint. Just imagine stormy seas tossing boats about, or creating the thickness of flowers or leaves or grasses in the fields.
A glazing medium makes the paint more transparent and thins it.
A retarder slows the drying time of the paint.
*I always start painting the sky. Position your masking tape across the horizon so that the top edge of it is touching the horizon. The trick is to build up the paint gradually and thinly to start with because it is easier to add paint than to take it off. As some of the canvas texture is still exposed, when it is given a light wash or coat of paint, the texture as well as the thicker texture of polyfilla will give interest.
I choose three colors for the sky. You can always add something else for highlighting later. I would choose a light color such as cream, medium blue and a darker blue, for example. Next I would put an amount of the lighter hue at the bottom of the sky, medium blue above it and two or three dollops of the darker hue at the top.
This next bit is IMPORTANT. As the paint will dry quickly, you want to blend it as quickly as you can. Don’t use your brush for this. Take one of your cloths and wet it completely. Squeeze it out till no water is dripping and gently start at the bottom of the sky blending the cream from left to right as you go across the canvas. Don’t be shy about it. It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes.
You may need to wet your cloth a bit more, or you may not need to. You’ll soon get to know how wet it needs to be. Keep on going left to right across the sky and blend in the colors as you go. You should find that there are no brush marks and the sky will begin to look interesting. If you have parts where the canvas hasn’t been covered in the sky, wet your cloth a bit and with a tiny bit of paint on it, just rub it in.
You’ll find that the sky might need highlighting in places. You can use a brush and blend in with your cloth, but if using a pale color, make sure you don’t use a cloth covered in blue paint. Make sure you keep washing out your cloths as you go, to keep them usable.
You might find that you want to add a bit of purple or a green/grey tone in places. The possibilities are endless. You could use part of a wet sponge to give a mottled effect. You can put on a color very slightly with your cloth so that the color below is showing through in places, for interest. Be bold and imaginative. Make sure that you paint the sides, top and bottom of your canvas. This means you can hang it without framing it.
*When you’re ready to paint the sea, take off your masking tape and reposition it with the bottom of the tape on the horizon.
The same method applies here. Find your three tones of blue/green/grey for the sea. Each seascape is different. You may have a beach to put in. If this is the case, do that part first and then when you paint the sea, remember that the sea will be more transparent by the sand, so you will need to thin your paint and rub it in gently, letting you see the beach underneath. Then work upwards.
If the whole canvas shows the sea and no beach, the darkest, deepest colors will be nearest you at the bottom of the canvas, so with your brush put a few amounts on to the canvas at the bottom, and then as you go further up, add some dollops of lighter tones. Then taking your wet cloth and with a left to right movement, start to blend the paint in. You need to do this as quickly as you can and remember you can wet your cloth more to blend in if needed. You might need a little bit of paint on your cloth to fill in any tiny gaps not painted. Imagine the movement of the sea. What shade the horizon will be. If it is misty will you need a wash over the horizon (made from watering down a small amount of emulsion paint)?
You can highlight some of the textured parts with white or cream to look like waves and add any more touches you might want to.
Voila! You have finished you canvas, although you may want to varnish it. Varnish comes in matte or gloss finish. Are you pleased with it? You should be. Even if you’re not, don’t throw it away. All you need to do is paint over it, or change the texture with polyfilla and give it a coat of emulsion watered down and start on something else. You have your new texture then.
That’s just the beginning. You could paint a series of related themes. If you want to sell your paintings, search for ideas. Do some research to see what is selling. Look at online galleries, look in magazines and notice what designers are coming up with. Are certain color schemes with abstract designs going well, so that they fit in with contemporary furnishings?
What kind of traditional themes are selling? Are animal paintings popular, or portraits? You’ll enjoy getting ideas and visualizing what your paintings can look like.
Stella is an artist living on the Isle of Wight. Over the years she has taught herself various techniques of painting with different mediums. One thing she has found is that every day there is so much to learn. The possibilities to create are endless.
Her favorite mediums are pastels and acrylics and she is happiest when painting the beautiful landscapes and seascapes on the island with her beloved dog beside her. She is happy to give advice and tips. To get an idea of results in pastels and acrylics visit http://www.landscapeartbystella.com/