Some fine art tips, especially for beginners in acrylic painting can be always useful because many people have time and opportunity to do something about their creative intentions during the summer vacation. I will also answer some frequently asked questions. I have attached the demo art from many recent art classes and workshops.
People quite often ask: how do I know if art classes are for me? Well, there are no guaranties that you are going to become an artist or that you will sell your paintings right away. Nobody knows if you will have enough patience and perseverance to continue either on your own or in a group. Anything artistic and creative loves practice, and only doing and repeating what one just has learned will give noticeable and later remarkable results.
I suppose, sometimes people have too high expectations when they come to the 3-hour fun painting workshop, and in general, one has to be a realist to some extent: if the participant has never painted before or has done some small bit of painting 20 or more years ago, the first painting will be an interesting exercise which helps understanding what that exactly means to paint with a brush and to try mixing up colors so that the created image can match our imagination, but I would not advise to expect it to be a perfection and best art ever created. Who gets better when just picking up painting? People who are able to take risks, to experiment and who dare to step out of their comfort zone.
Signing up for a painting class does not mean that painting will paint itself.
The instructor is not a magician, but somebody who can explain, show, demonstrate and here and there correct if something does not happen or goes completely wrong. Live classes are much better than any online classes because I can see right away what is causing a problem: too much paint, too less paint, too dry or wet brush and so on. We are painting not only with brushstrokes, palette knives and sponges, but also with hand pressure, heavy or light movement of the hand, arm or wrist. Application of paint is a big deal and that is something which is done best in the presence of an instructor. I usually would explain why the particular image or composition is good or isn’t, why the particular choice of color works or doesn’t.
Some tips for beginning artists:
Whenever you have time and chance, tone your canvas in a light cardboard color using burnt sienna, yellow ochre and white. Instead of white, we can use gesso, as well. Acrylic gesso is acrylic primer, it seals the pores on canvas or any other material you would like to paint on, that includes wood panels, plastic and similar stuff. It allows using less paint and it is easier to apply it.
Think in layers, separate in your imagination the part which is behind and underneath, in order not to apply any small details right away. I’m often seeing how everybody tends to move to fine details way too quickly, well before the entire scene is worked out.
We always start from the back and with the background. Unless there is a large very light part, we have to start with dark shades and medium darks. That seems to be the most difficult part to convince the beginners that we do not put right away the final color, but we build it up.
There is a big difference between applying color and building it up. The further we are in the painting the closer to the front part we move. That is a bit different with separate objects like in still life or floral painting. However, we always start with more general things and just afterwards move to particular parts and details. In oil or acrylic, we always go from dark to light and finish up with small areas of highlights. If we have lost the dark parts, we have re-establish them.
Always use the brush which feels the most comfortable for the part of painting you are dealing with. It is difficult to draw fine lines with a huge brush and vice versa: it takes too long to cover large are with a tiny brush. Over time, every artist develops some kind of attraction to a certain brush whether flat, fan brush or round. It is very possible to paint the entire medium size acrylic painting with a medium size flat brush from start to finish.
We should never try to get violently something on canvas if this doesn’t happen. As with all water-based mediums, timing is an important part of acrylic painting. We should always use large loose brush strokes for first layers and keep the textured impasto approach for the most important areas and for the end, unless you are using the texture medium or modelling paste, then the sequence will be different.
Whenever we move from one color to another, we have to rinse the brush and swipe it on a paper towel. It is important not to have too much water on a brush before you get the paint.
Acrylic paint darkens as it dries, therefore, the values might appear not as they are while the paint is wet. Extenders and flow medium can extend the working time, however, working with sticky paint may be not suitable for all areas, therefore, it is better to work on segments and also use spray bottle to spray some water over painting time to time. That has to a controlled amount of water, unless you’d like the paint to run and create its own patterns.
Brushes always must be left in water until we can rinse them under running warm water and wash with soap.
If the object or scene is very complex, it is great to paint the main parts just in one color: create a monochromatic base image. Changing and adding color is very easy, the most difficult part is achieving the right values: intensity, light and dark proportion.
If you think that some painting is not good enough and it is not worth trying to make it right, you can cover the entire canvas (previous painting) with a mix of gesso and some colors and start a new painting. The small imprints from old painting lines will add more texture, they most often look interesting and you can build up a thicker layer above the basic layers.
It takes a lot to damage an acrylic painting completely since you can paint it over for as many times as you wish and have time for (or patience). Being afraid to do something wrong in acrylic painting has no reason: you can correct practically anything. It will take more work, time and paint, that’s all.
3-hour workshop painting demo of summer flower meadow
We were painting the spring road with Wednesday class
Spring road 2, 3-hour Fun and pleasure workshop painting
White daisies 3-hour Fun and pleasure Workshop painting demo
Summer flower fields, acrylic painting which we were doing during the last 3-hour Fun and pleasure painting workshop
Wild flower fields, acrylic painting which we were doing during another 3-hour Saturday workshop
We are quite often painting poppies during classes and workshops because everybody loves them and they are very easy
Small birches and bluebells we were painting during the last 3 adult acrylic painting classes
True colors of wildflower fields: trying to get a good picture
One thing which is very difficult for me is the inability to capture the exact look of the painting when taking a photo. Well, I never have time enough, and the lighting is not that great, as well. To see the real colors I had to take some pics where paintings are in an angle.
True colors of daisies, acrylic painting photos
More painting details
The correct angle to capture the real color
Happy summer painting!