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Ready to Paint?


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, canvas on hardboard, canvas, fabric, rocks or furniture. You can still use your practice paper. Whatever you chose. it is available at Some people like paint on plain hardboard without canvas on it. One guy, I saw just painted on big pieces of ripped up cardboard. In Mexico, they use spray paint and paint on almost any surface. Use your imagination.

On canvas, you should give it one or two coats of gesso. Using a wide flat brush. Canvas, in most cases, 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 reference photo and decide if you are going to make it real like a printed copy of it. Or go crazy and have fun with an abstract.

Then mix the color for the sky. If you are going to have a sky. If you don’t have a tube of paint the color you want the sky to be. Then mix it, with blue and white. Mix enough for if you need to touch it up. Or give 2 coats.  Acrylic paint is very hard to match up later. Then decide how far down the sky will be. Paint the entire area in big X shaped strokes back and forth over and over. Blend it if needed. Mist your canvas. You will get better coverage that way and less little white specks without paint in them. Then the area is still moist add a tiny little bit of white because the top of the sky is always lighter than the horizon. Or you can buy a tube of gel for mixing. And use less water. When your sky is finished. Add clouds if you want, but that is an entire 3 more lessons. Really good clouds are the hardest for me.

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.

Blick Art Materials

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. [This is my painting] 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. It is like a scruffy brush, 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.

If you are adding buildings, remember perspective. The best way I can explain perspective to you is when you look at a landscape, notice the brighter larger items are in close. Close to you. As you look farther away things become smaller and not quite so bright, and less defined.  As you look farther and farther back things begin to become less clear, much smaller and blurrier to see. So this is why we paint from the back to the front.

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. Unless you are very talented, it will take years of practice before you start to hear” That is really good.” And remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The last thing I do is give it a couple of coats of matt finish top coat, like varnish. But I have been told it doesn’t need it after it dries completely.

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Brushes and how they are used.

I Promised I would go back to basics. So I took some pictures. Hope they help.

Multi use brushes

The three on the right are soft fluffy brushes that I use to make things blurry or to blend colors in the background.  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.

Find new products at BLICK!             

“Blicks Art Supplies” for great synthetic brushes. If you go there And shop I will receive a bit of commission. I need to let you know. I don’t want to hide anything from you here at my pages. Also, Utrecht Art Materials is the same setup. They are both very High-Quality stores and have reasonable prices. They carry every thing. A lot of time they have specials on shipping and sales. I generally post these on my “sales” page.

I use to hate it when I needed supplies and I would go to one website and miss out on the free shipping because they didn’t have everything I needed. I am not talking about these 2 companies. I have looked all around their site. They seem to carry good quality merchandise. And they have a wonderful return policy.

The big one up there, 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 to 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 scruple-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. They are called liner brushes. 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 Are called rake brushes. That is what they look like. Senior moment. They have another name too. 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. Just go to you-tube and type in her name along with beginner, and it should pop up. You then click on the picture.  Make it large so you can do it.

“>Another great source of painting education materials I have seen on a website, besides youtube is   It is a website and if you. Color it blue, do ctrl c then go to your search engine put your cursor on the top go ctrl V and it should up.  I have no affiliation with them. Just thought you would want to check them out. The classes I took was from Tim Gagnon. He is an amazing artist. Take a look at his site. Again no affiliation. other than I bought like 20 classes from him over the years.  

Then one last tribute is to “Saatchi Art” I am an affiliate of theirs. And I would get a bit of commission. I tell you if you want to see an artist from everywhere. Or you are looking for inspiration an are trying to discover your own artists work to look at. They have so much talent. And have every kind of painting imaginable. They will even put a frame on the art you choose and ship it. So if you are looking for art that is already done, then here you go.

Saatchi Art

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Back to the Very Basics. Bits and Pieces

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.

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Cleaning Your Acrylic Brushes

Washing Acrylic Paint Brushes
It is time to talk about brush preference.  I started with soft natural hair brushes. I do not like them for day to day use.  You don’t want anything really stiff either. Both the soft fuzzies and the stiff brushes have there placed so have a few in your collection. The main kind I like is a medium soft synthetic brush.  They hold just enough paint and feel good in my hand. So don’t go by the most expensive brush when you start.   Some of the cheaper brushes are great. But not the bag of brushes of all kinds unless it is a child’s projects.  I keep them and inexpensive paint on hand because when my grandbabies come over it is always ” Grandma can I paint”  And I love it.  I have a rock-lined front sidewalk. Grapefruit sized. They are happy to paint rocks and have them displayed there.

Another thing I didn’t realize I needed to do was clean my brushes. Well, yeah I washed them out with water. But after a few times, it wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do. And a liner brush would do the same thing curl and would be a three liner brush. Split and unusable. 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 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 a metal knife and use that to work the softened material out of the brush were it has dried near the metal. Work way down where the hairs come out because that is the place if the paint builds up there. It causes problems. And when it does the bristles won’t stay together. They are pushed apart by the dry paint.

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, 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 soon.


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One of my First Favorite Books.

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.

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