Were do you start? What do I do? Well here are some pointers. If you are about to do acrylic painting, I recommend you decide what to paint on. Will it be a stretched canvas or Hardboard. You can still use your practice paper. whatever you chose. Some people paint on plain hardboard without canvas on it. One guy, I saw just painted on big pieces of ripped up cardboard. Use your imagination. you should give it One or two coats of gesso. Using a wide flat brush. If using canvas, it already has 1 coat on it. So for sure add another. And depending on how smooth it is you might want to give 2 coats. I usually use one. Go by the instructions on your gesso.
Once it is Dry, you can begin to set up for painting. I put heavy plastic over the table to keep the paint off. But you don’t need to. Acrylic paint comes off with soap and water. I use dish soap. Get out your brushes, container of water, paper towels, your picture, an easel if you like and something to put you paint on large enough to mix colors. Use paper plates or there are items in the craft store-art department that are disposable palettes. Look at your photo and decide if you are going to make it real like a printed copy of it. Or go crazy and have fun.
Then mix the color for the sky. If you don’t have a tube of paint that you want the sky to look at then mix it, with blue and white. Mix enough for if you need to touch it up later. Acrylic paint is very hard to match up later. Us it days darker. Then decide how far down the sky will be. Paint the entire area then you can paint over if needed. Spray your canvas with your mister. Then the area is moist and it will be nice when you come to mix blues. Because the top of the sky is always lighter than the horizon. As you paint down to add some white to part of your mix. Moisten the canvas as needed to blend. Or you can buy a tube of gel for mixing. When your sky is finished
Decide what color the remainder of the painting will be. Green/ Brown or off white. Paint it even if you don’t know what all will be there. Even trees have some sky peaking through. Most paintings have the horizon at half way up, or 1/3 of the way down. Use your good tape like frog tape to make a perfectly level straight horizon line. Don’t try to be fancy, just get the paint on the canvas.
After it has dried completely, go ahead and pencil in the basic shapes you will have in your picture. Remember you will be painting from the back [ distant ] of the painting towards the front or nearest part of the painting. So if you have mountains, decide where you want those and paint them in. use a color like medium or dark purple to give the feeling of distance. Do a diluted [watered down] transparent whitewash over them to show the atmosphere between here and there. Then work on your clouds. Remember the high in the sky clouds are closer and larger than low smaller ones are in the distance, far away.
This second painting is an online class I took from Tim Gagnon. As far as I am concerned he does the best clouds. White fluffy clouds. I frequently have to go back and see how he does it. Try as I may I just can’t get it right. He pushes the paint around with his worn out brush. Like a scruffy brush, one worn out flat brush. He makes it look so easy. I can’t give much more advice as I don’t know what the remainder of your painting will be. Just block everything in. Making them slightly darker than you want them to be. I find it easier to add the highlights over the main color.
Another guy I like is Chuck Black. He is an amazing landscape artist. He lives near the mountains and goes hiking with his camera for inspiration. He has several tutorials on youtube. I am sure you can find them. Type it in the search box, there you go. he also teaches bits like how to paint different grasses, tree bark, leaves or clouds. He is really good and does very masculine paintings like Terry Redlin a famous painter from South Dakota.
It helps to follow along with an artist you like and do some entire paintings with them on you-tube. Take your time and be patient.
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Hello again. My favorite way to learn is by using Books and you-tube. Before I was familiar with you-tube I bought a lot of books. Usually used, they are just as good. And a little paint never hurt anyone. At the beginning of each book, it tells about the medium. Get a basic beginners set in oil and in acrylic. The tubes of paint are tiny or they don’t cost much. I like to do my practicing on paper that has the texture of canvas. they are readily available in the craft stores. Buy what you will need to proceed, like paint and brushes and canvases.
By now you have probably chosen a medium. That is why you bought that particular book. Is it a book that starts you out with a painting to paint. When just practicing I used the paper canvas. It comes in a large tablet And that way I didn’t feel guilty messing up a canvas. Use just inexpensive paint until you know what you like.
Have plenty of paper plates and paper towels within reach. And an old jar or big old glass for water. Pick your brush and do with the book says ,step by step. I use to practice just painting grasses, rocks or clouds. Until I was happy with the out come.
For watercolor ” Handbook of Watercolor Landscapes Tips and Techniques ” By Richard Bolton, Geoff Kersey, Joe Francis Dowden, and Janet Whittle. It has Chapters on Skies, water, flowers, Landscapes, and nature. a Big book with 376 pages jam-packed full.
For acrylics, I loved the Jerry Yarnell series. I painting many practice pictures of his. And if you are lucky you can catch him on PBS. Another is “All about Acrylics” It covers instruction, painting grounds, Tools, Color theory and Painting techniques. There are many projects where you can use acrylics. You can paint on furniture, shelves, boxes or old gates. Your imagination is your guide. But after I was done painting every thing in the house. I got serious about paintings on canvases.
Then with Oils, there are more books to choose from than there are brands of paint. And because there are so many you can use the paintings in there as inspiration. I do not personally have recommendations for Watercolor and pastels. I won’t lie, I haven’t tried them. I really like the look.
As I said before I prefer soft-bodied paint. That way I don’t spend a lot of time thinning it out. And with acrylics, you can only dilute them so much or they run the risk of coming off your canvas. when they are to thin they won’t adhere properly. If you want to use a paint pallet that you can close up and it keeps your paint moist. They can be bought or made. Use a old flat plastic seal able container. I like a larger on so I have room to mix paint colors in the container. Then my perfect color for the sky is OK if you need to touch up. Then you want a heavy body paint so the paint won’t flatten out and the colors won’t run into each other.
The big thing is practice practice, practice. And it needs to be a passion or the thing you do that is fun and relaxing, or both. A great painter wasn’t born overnight. Don’t get discouraged and give up like so many do. Nothing worth really having never came easily. So keep on trying. And listen to others. Because you will be your own worse critic. Go easy on your self. Remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And everyone likes different things.
Would you like your to come true too? I lived pay check to pay check. Barely getting bye. We never had money to save for a vacation or retirement. Then suddenly retirement came early when I hurt my back and spent 4.5 years in bed and the pain pills didn’t work. No income, only my husbands, and he made half as much as I use to. I had to fight for social security, it to a few more years but I finally got it and medicare. And finally got some relief for my back pain.
Social security gives you enough to live in the poverty level. I thought things were bad before. So I spent time on the internet trying to find a work from home job. Try as I may they were all scams. Believe me now, you will never get anything for filling out service.
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What do you paint next? Big question. I usually have something in mind while I am painting my current one. Or I take out the canvas I will be painting on and just look at it. Is it big and wants something special. or big and need something big and detailed. A little 8 X 10 makes me want to paint small things like birds. And you can tell that by my website. https://gartengalleryplus.com/product/a-lavender-bird/. I love landscapes, seascapes are my favorite place to be and Paintings of animals.
Look through your computer at your photos. Hopefully, they are not just selfies. Find ones that make you happy. Don’t just look at the middle of the pictures, is there anything in the background you can use? Or go out and take pictures of every you see. Maybe you don’t think they are special. That is because you see them every day. This is one of my pictures. Not so special, right? But it reminds me of when my 2 sisters came to visit me. I would not paint the entire picture but look at that sunset. Amazing. Take your camera every place you go to. Not the grocery store unless you want to paint fruit or potatoes. Now that sounds like a challenge.
The next place to look is online. There are a few sites that allow you to use pictures for free. If you want to many or want to you can join. and with a small monthly fee, you will have more than enough to paint. Just make sure they are royalty free. You can type into the search anything, lions, elephants, flowers, old truck, or dogs. Just make sure they are royalty free.
When you just begin to paint, keep it simple. This is a simple one you can do online. It teaches you about the layers of paint you use to create the look you want.
Here is another simple one to paint for practice In is found on you-tube. Just click this link to go to a beginner abstract landscape. d almost anything you want on youtube. just type in beginner acrylic painting tutorials. any type of painting you want. It is amazing how many people are set up to teach. I want to, but don’t have the capital required. Maybe someday.
I Promised I would go back to basics. So I took some pictures. Hope they help. The three on the right are soft fluffy brushes that I use to make things blurry or to blend colors in a back ground. To make the distance look humid or foggy. The next 5 are filberts. I forget to use them. But they are great for filling in spaces. They are graceful and smooth, for thick ribbons and lines.
The big one is fun then you need to cover a large canvas or really make a background foggy. There is 1 technique I learned that requires these. This shows 1 flat brush right next the the biggest one. I use these a lot. When you keep them clean the chiseled edge will last awhile. And that is what you need a lot. It is great to hang on to a couple of these after they get worn out. They are good for what some people call scruble-ing.
This blurry picture is of my liner brushes. I love to do details and use these. There aren’t any long ones but you will need a couple of those too. Then on the left is a package of angle brushes. they are wonderful when painting into tight spaces and corners.
Specialty brushes, The 3 on the right are fan brushes I use for wispy clouds , water waves and grasses. The middle ones I do not know what they are called. Senior moment. But they are great to make grasses and hair. The far left is a deer foot. Donna Dewberry used it in her painting. She does pouncing with I. It is used similar to a stenciling brush. I am going to refer you to a video in my next post. That will be her or someone who paints like her. Even if you don’t want to paint like her, her ways are excellent practice. Here is your link.
Great I hope you enjoyed those. And keep practicing off and on. Because what you don’t use you do loose.
I have been sitting here having my morning coffee and “wondering.” But Mom use to say ” Don’t wonder to far you will get lost.” I guess I was in the habit if saying ” Mom I wonder…” Poor woman had a lot of questions to answer.
Anyway back to what I was going to say. I love the you-tube videos because the show me how to do things. But what they leave out is the time to keep up with them. It goes so fast and makes it look so easy. I am always starting and stopping the video and I get pint all over my computer. Saying what!, what!,go back. I didn’t see that. Show me what the brush is doing etc..
And the trouble with a book is , you have to buy the entire book to just get the part you needed. I have bunches of books. I learned to paint before the you-tube craze.
So what I will “try” to do is teach bits and pieces. Get back to the basics of painting. I will do a blog type post. And you have the ability at the bottom of each page to ask questions or to give your own expert advice on how you do it that might be easier to some people to learn. We all learn in different ways. I like details involved with anything I try to learn. I am not more than an average woman of 62. Like I said in a previous post, I can’t afford video equipment. It was be talk and pictures. Off I go. Remember to give suggestions and I will answer them If I can.
A last tip, a lot of these basics can be interchanged to watercolor and Oils.
Another thing I didn’t realize I needed to do was clean my brushes. Well, yeah I washed them out. But after a few times, it wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do. And a liner brush would do the same thing and would be a three liner brush. So I started washing them with Dawn dishwashing liquid. I scrubbed them good and rinsed them. Then I put them back in their original shapes and put them down to dry. This system worked pretty well and would make my brushes work for me a while longer
Then I discovered a new product. It is a solution to soak your brushes in before cleaning. It is called ” brush cleaner & restorer. It’s made by “Winsor & Newton”. They are a fantastic company for everything painting. Their products are quality. So I took my sad looking brushes and let them soak overnight. You don’t have to soak them that long. Then when you clean the brushed use our metal knife and use that to work the softened material out of the brush. Work way down where the hairs come out because that is the place if the paint builds up there. It causes problems.
Another helpful product is called “Pink Soap” it is a brush cleaner and conditioner. It works on acrylics and OILS. It is cleaner as well if not better than the dawn. But when you put the bristles back in place after, cleaning they look almost new.
Thanks for reading this I hope it was helpful. Have a great day. Hopefully, you will be Painting.
The first book I really liked was ” Painting with Acrylics” I covered good basic techniques. And I love seascapes and flowers. This book did not get into detail. It has scenes that are loose And leave a lot to the imagination. And many artists like that. If you just suggest things are there and imagine the rest. That way it works for so many people and it reminds them of what they remember.
She covers many of the same things all books cover. Under the assumption that this is your first book. She covers color mixing which is very important because then you don’t have to buy many different colors just mix it up. Because all paintings will be in different shades of colors and hues.
And then Oil Painting types of techniques. Oil techniques are next. These are harder for me. Impasto is when you use the thick paint straight from the tubes and using a brush or palette knife. You can add mediums to add to the paint to do almost anything. Creating many textures, Scumbling is easy and used many times for mountains and rocks kind of pushing the paint around.
Then she encourages you to kind of play with the colors on a canvas, and practice different ways to use the brush and Paint. There are several techniques to learn. Dry brushing, Is when you put paint on your brush then wipe most of it off so you can give just a hint of color on your canvas. wet on wet blending is use largly with watercolor but can be used in acylic. It is watering down the paint to do a wet color over a wet color [ flowers ]or to do a wash. That is when thin paint is put over dried paint to make a hazy of color over top. Using wet paint then use a paper towel to lifting paint to make clouds,
A couple of things I have never mentioned is masking fluid or tape. Masking fluid can be put anywhere in your canvas to keep the underlying color on the canvas. If you have already painted an area or item and you don’t want to mess it up with the color you are about to do. Usually used in thin lined areas. Then you peal it off when you are done. Tape, on the other hand, can be used to get a nice straight horizon, frame the outline of a building or anything else your heart desires. It comes in several thicknesses. Use a good brand so you don’t have to worry about leakage under the paint. Don’t cheap out on tape.
But play with the colors and see what and where you want them to be. Don’t try to copy anyone else way of doing things. You will pick up a little here and there that you like to make your own style. Happy practicing.