Art instruction: achieve good results painting with acrylic

I have been an art instructor for more than 35 years and I have spent thousands of hours watching how students start out with their paintings.  I have also been a beginner in arts many years ago. Therefore, I am aware of tough things which we experience when using such a medium as acrylic. Especially, if this type of paint is a completely new to you.

Acrylic paints are very friendly. No smells, no known allergy causing components. I would advise people with sensitive skin to use gloves: they should be thin and match size of your hand.

Acrylic is easy to use because we can repaint, paint over, cover up and restart painting any areas which we assume not good enough, not suitable our intention and not nice enough. We sometimes need to wait until the first layer is dry. Overworking one spot causes to come off all wet paint.

Acrylic paints can be applied thinly, diluted with glazing medium or water and in a thick layer creating almost impasto effects. It’s just so that prices of paints have tripled since 2008 in Canada, so it is obvious that using modelling paste or different materials as a base is better than applying a lot of paint.

The biggest challenges are two. 95% of beginning artists who work in acrylic USE TOO LESS PAINT. A LOT LESS than required, actually. That results in uneven, streaky coverage or there is no distinction in color and value. We have to add the paint we are using most as it is almost gone. Acrylic dries fast, so dipping on it a few drops of water or slightly spraying it with water time to time will help hugely. It might be so that somebody gets overwhelmed with all information they have to absorb in first classes, but still: having just a small drop of paint on your palette is not going to work. USE DECENT AMOUNT OF PAINT! ALWAYS! Keep it slightly wet all the time while you are using this paint.

Secondly, partially covered canvas does not look good. We can check whether the coverage is proper by taking a picture. If the canvas fabric is clearly visible, that part certainly requires more paint, sometimes: much more paint.

By its nature, acrylic acts like a glue. We have to use this feature in our favor and so we do. We start with more abstracted, not that careful layers and move onto something more definite. WE SHOULD NOT START WITH FINAL DETAILS OR ASSUME THAT ANY FIRST LAYER IS FINAL. Apply at least 3-5 layers and then decide what else you do. Never judge an unfinished painting or make unreasonable conclusions about it. We fix and change EVERYTHING as we add more layers.

The second challenge is BRUSHING PAINT ALL AROUND. We need to place the paint wherever we want it and leave this spot alone. With that being said, we shouldn’t create strong fat lines with sharp edges for darker areas or road sides, field ends and similar. We want darker areas, not darker frames everywhere. To achieve that, we feather out the outer edge on that area. Just let the brush dance on your canvas and don’t worry about too much blending in the first few layers. By letting the brush slightly touch canvas on one spot we can hold the particular color on that area where we want it. Brushing paint around results in achieving uniformly flat color on the entire canvas or area.  We have to use the color we want on the spot where we intend to apply it.

Instructor can demonstrate, explain or show principles, methods and approaches, but painting is still up to you. That means: you have to use the reference, remember to look at the reference whether it is a real abject or scene, or a photo thereof all the time, not only when you start the painting. That does not really happen in reality.

Painting is based on very many decisions we make every second; in fact, we make some hundreds of decisions every second. So, if you only follow the instructor, but haven’t decided anything for yourself, results will not be that great.

Why am I saying: pay attention to reference? I have to repeat that because most people don’t ever pay attention to reference. When we are just beginning the painting, they would have a brief look at it; and I notice after a small while that NOBODY LOOKS any more at the reference. YOU HAVE TO! Reference or value drawing (if you have created such) HAS ALL THE ANSWERS: where to use dark color, where to make strong edge, where to wash edge or lose it, where to place highlights and what exactly the shape of something is. It is extremely important, much more important than what brush to use.

Talking about brushes: always use the ones which you feel comfortable with and which suit the size of the area you are working on. Very simple. We use the largest possible brush for any task. Flat brush has MULTIPLE USES IN ACRYLIC. We can draw thin long lines with the edge of it; we can cover large areas using it flatly, parallel to surface in full width, we can use 2 different shades or colors on each end of the flat brush which simplifies and speeds up painting.

How does the painting or drawing happen? We transform the visually perceived information in the brain signals that eventually lead to our hand movements. Whenever our hand moves accordingly to decision we made, we achieve the desired result. The more decisions one makes and the more one understands why some parts are neutral, some have strong and some have weak values, the easier it is to paint or draw. Blindly following and copying RESTRICTS our ability to analyze, understand and apply creatively our vision.

We develop acrylic paintings from my sketches. The light barn with pink-red roof was painted by our youngest student Erin who is 11 and attends classes together with her mom. We just started a new project which we are also doing from a quick sketch of mine.

This post was waiting for a long time because I was very busy working on class images and steps.

Therefore, some images are from mid-December classes.

Painting, drawing and sketching manually is THE BEST MENTAL FITNESS EXERCISE. Nothing else can compete or compare to that. Period.

The lifeschool blog reviews challenges during dark and upsetting winter: https://inesepogalifeschool.com/2017/01/17/how-to-feel-good-and-survive-the-dullness-of-depressing-winter-days/ Please enjoy!

 

How to create better art with less effort

Lesson 2

Is that even possible? Oh, yes, it definitely is. So, how to create better art with fewer efforts and wasting less time? The answer is: sketch and draw. In my personal experience, it is pencil, pen and watercolor sketch which is the best preparation stage for paintings.

When somebody wants to apply for classes I usually would get this:

Well, I’d really like to paint. Something like that. Points to some landscape or floral, or still life. I see. Everybody is interested in the result and not that much in the path which led me to it.

If you are one of guys who jumped straight to brushes and did not take your time to explore the elements of a piece of art, I can understand you. People usually think watercolor and sketching is for watercolor artists who mask out white spots or those who get ideal washes just by swinging around the brush with some paint on it. However, there is a missing link between the idea of our art and it’s draft using pen and some color.

The real life shows that any potential artist and anybody who does art as hobby would have gotten much better paintings very soon if they considered sketching an important step to creation of a painting with any medium: watercolor, pastel, acrylic or oil. The truth is they all originate in one place: in our brain through our eyes and senses. Therefore, we should exercise our visual abilities (I’m talking more about importance to see in my previous post) and especially our visual perception maximally often.

The problem with not well developing painting is not the technique of putting on paint. That usually works fairly well after a few attempts. The problem most often is in our eyes: we do not perceive values, shapes, proportions and potential composition; therefore, we cannot come up with a neat plan to make painting elements work.

Sketch is done much faster than a painting. Sketching out objects or just values, putting them in a draft composition momentarily allows making a decision if that will or won’t work. Sketch isn’t the entire painting, but by doing it one learns much more about their subject. We find out that we need to look at it more carefully, more intensely, more accurately.

 

Rough bluebell path sketch

 

Path to unknown sketch

I can compare creating art with writing. When people say I don’t want to sketch and I don’t want to know anything about drawing it is like somebody who intends to write a novel would say: I don’t want to know anything about spelling and grammar, I just want to write a novel, so give me the idea and off we go. The entertaining painting type of events also does a bad service: not only the entire idea does not allow anybody to really learn anything about creation of art, but the approach is just so wrong and materials the “drink creatively” events use are so bad that many people get the wrong idea.

 

Quick painting of birches, recent class demo, 20 x 24 inches

When somebody is just moving paint around the canvas in hopes that it miraculously will take the right shape and become the right color, I must say, unfortunately: it won’t. Painting is a summary of things we put in it. It also is the energy we put in it. Therefore, the sooner one learns about values, relationship between lights and darks, values, softness or roughness of edges, proportion and compositional layout of objects, the faster their paintings will take shape and look multi-dimensional. Lesson 2 is: the missing link between our idea and its incorporation into artwork is the value sketch whether in color, or black and white. Creating value sketches and color sketches is not a waste of time and paint: it is the straight path which leads us to much better art. I’d suggest: take the sketching classes and workshops, it helps hugely.

Short introduction in main issues which everybody encounters when they pick up pencil or brush

Lesson 1

You always wanted to draw or paint: it seems it does not want to happen.

You will need patience, courage; willingness to experiment and make mistakes, as well as, you should be ready to put into your learning process efforts, work and time.

Any drawing and painting starts with being able to see and feel. It does not start with knowledge of techniques and all kinds of tools and mediums.

I have given countless classes and workshops over many years; it actually feels like I have been teaching arts all my life. It is obvious that all people who would love to start painting or drawing do not get past the first problems and give up this fantastic activity before they could even become aware of easy fixes which there are just for anything when it comes to creation.

The main thing with visual arts is the ability to see and to understand what one is looking for. Most people will definitely be sure that they have eyesight good enough and that they can see everything. That is not true at all. While we are seeing things around us, we are not seeing them in an artistic way. I suppose the inability to perceive values, shapes, colors, lines and their relationship, as well as correct scale, depends on what one has been doing and using for drawing and painting before.

It’s not rare that artists also simply copy an image and then transfer this copy onto paper or canvas. Many artists do a lot of image editing with some software so that the image is ready to copy and to apply paint on it. They believe that will save time and efforts and make painting process easier. That’s not true either. Do not do that, do not copy any photos or images if you want to ever draw and paint without fear and with confidence.

A complex drawing might take me between 30 minutes and an hour, but that’s about it. I will have everything in my drawing: values, composition, correct scale since I’m usually doing the entire canvas or paper size drawings as opposed to thumbnail sketches, and I can start doing whatever I want with it: use for watercolor, pastel or acrylic and so on. I won’t need editing, adjusting, copying, enlarging.

Therefore, if you want to be ever free from computers, laptops, screens, all kinds of measuring devices, grids and photos, start learning to see.

I have noticed this for millions of times: people do not see anything in the reference photo or picture. They see a flower, a tree or fence, but there is nothing behind that. I am also using real objects: fruit, vegetables, flowers, flower pots, leaves, cups, bowls, glasses and similar stuff, and that does not usually help at all. No attention gets paid to shadows, value distinction, correct size, potential composition, contrasts and layout. Every single person can draw and paint as soon as they understand what they have to see in that object. That refers to drawing figures and body parts, as well.

It is hilarious how there are so many separate art lessons like: How to paint an apple, How to paint a bird, How to paint a spring landscape, How to paint a cup or glass, so on. The answer to this: you can paint anything; you can draw anything once you are able to see it. To see it in an artistic way taking into account things which other people don’t know exist. Therefore, lesson 1 is: place some object in front of you and look at it. Look carefully at dark and light spots, visible lines and shadows, direction and size of any shapes. Starting with very light and general outlines try to get the exact shape. Start with very general shapes and lines and move towards details. Repeat until the object or objects get dimensions and start to take on shape. I will illustrate it in more detail in some upcoming posts. Yes, it all comes from our eyes and brain, and hand with pencil or brush just makes the brain signals visible. How do these signals get into our brain? Our senses and our memory, plus imagination contribute to this process. That is why drawing and painting is the best tool for fixing memory issues, taking care of brain flexibility and for prevention of mental diseases.

 

Value sketch in the actual size is the best help one can have

 

Lilies

I have elaborated a new approach to acrylic painting since many people want to learn it, but results are quite often disappointing and don’t make them happy. This new approach uses the specific features of acrylic (fast drying time, ability to work over dry layers) and turns them into the biggest advantage. Results are quick and stunning. Most people don’t even believe they could paint it. There is a small remark, however: as long as they follow my steps and take into account the guiding suggestions. I don’t think I will bother with online classes because the live art classes are the only ones which make real sense. It matters how much water or how much paint, or what medium on what surface one uses. It matters how fast the previous steps are done and it matters how you move the brush and mix the paint. Everything matters, and we can correct mistakes right there where they happen, therefore, it is important to have a teacher which can directly see why some things work and why some others don’t.

 

Poppies

We are painting large flowers in Thursday classes. 2 hours at a time.

Giving up is not a solution, acrylic painting tips

I feel sad when some students discontinue classes just after one month. I can see potential in just started paintings, people with a little experience in drawing and art usually don’t.  All it takes is pretty much adding a few darks and lights, adjusting some edges and straightening out a few shapes. In fact, any acrylic painting can be whatever the artist expects it to be if we keep working on it.

Sometimes people are short of time, sometimes these are health or financial issues, that require to stop attending classes, but that doesn’t change the fact that there was a good start and it did not get a chance to develop.

I am quite often repeating: nobody becomes master within a few hours. Nobody. I am also not allowing students to compare their just started art: this makes absolutely no sense. There was a reason artists used to cover up their art with a cloth and show it to nobody until the artwork was considered ready and finished. There are lots of tiny brush strokes which can change the painted image to a great extent. Tiny bit of sparkling light, small edge of very deep dark, and everything improves.

Patience and ability to take risks are two very necessary features for anybody who’d like to enjoy creating visual art. I have told this before: time-lapse demos cause people to believe that this is exactly the way one paints: one, two, three and here we go. In reality, we sometimes need to go over and over one spot for many times. With acrylic paint, there are no limitations of additional layers, and we need to apply more layers to create three-dimensional feel and visually attractive effects.

Smearing on paint in one color is not the same what building up that color. I have quite often seen transparent trees and flat bushes. That means: there was no darker blocking color underneath and the light color was stretched only over 2 shades. That cannot make a structure or object look like it is having dimensions.

Many people have difficulties thinking in layers: the most distant, the underneath it all layer, the middle value layer, the defining layer and the highlighting and detailing layer. It is in the human nature: to try to get it right away, therefore, I’ve observed how students sometimes start with details which should be implemented at the end. This approach is fairly essential in acrylic painting because we have to work our way up and closer and that’s how the image evolves.

The other problematic issue is holding color on the spot one wants it to be. We are practising painting on a spot techniques, but quite often artist gets carried away and keeps blending and moving paint until the result shows everything in one and the same color. It is very important to learn using any size brush for painting on a spot which is like running on a spot: brush it on, but don’t move all around the canvas.

Golden birch acrylic painting art classes for adults

I just got done the reference image for the next Saturday painting session: we are painting with gold again. I feel very attracted to the warm shine of gold. There are some images when it really works, definitely, not with any image.

Finally, as I’m washing brushes after classes, I can immediately tell which brushes were used by me and which were used by students. My brushes are almost clean or have the last used color in it. Students’ brushes are usually full of many shades, quite often dark shades which we applied at the beginning of class. That means, the brush wasn’t cleaned during painting. That results in muddy and dirty colors which don’t shine and lack brilliance. Painting is easy and extremely rewarding; however, one must have patience and allow for some time to get where they want to be. It depends also on what our goal is: any painting is nice and great if we do not expect it to become a top-perfection artwork jut after a few classes or painting attempts. We can notice fear and indecisiveness in brush strokes which lack confidence.  Therefore, going for a bank and risk it all is a very important thing with creativity and visual art, in particular. We have to be persistent and even stubborn, as well, quite often, giving up something is not a solution at all.

Drawing for everybody: brain fitness at our fingertips

Everybody can draw. And so they should. I hope you are not one of those parents who use to make remarks like this: Stop playing around with those pencils, do the math! While we all need literacy skills and math, there is something unique about drawing. We can draw before we can even speak or write, or count. We actually successfully do it without any regard to some rules which people have imposed on creative expressions and art. We can very well express ourselves until somebody says: that doesn’t look like a cat! That’s when the kid who loved to draw starts to ask: Really? Am I doing this all wrong? That’s where the artistic freedom ends and rules start. Art becomes something which is not that important as math, geography, history and essay writing. This is profoundly wrong, and we have so much evidence nowadays that drawing and painting actually has the power to activate our brain to a huge extent. Focus, memory, attention to detail, decision-making, imagination: everything gets developed and perfected while this activity is actually more pleasure than work.

 

People, who think they cannot draw, have been simply using a wrong approach or have convinced themselves that’s something they’d never manage. I am obviously checking out what other instructors and classes offer here and there, and I must say there’s not that much. First of all, if instruction starts with: take a picture, that is not going to be a lesson how to learn drawing, that instruction will tell you how to reproduce photographed lines and shapes and sometimes advice to just trace the image and take credits for a great drawing. Why do we always need to focus on the final product, on the result? There is so much in the process of creation, and this process is well worth experiencing.

Drawing is not about copying or measuring, drawing is about seeing, activating the brain-hand communication and creating an image of an object, person, or scene on a flat surface, at the same time trying to show the emotional impact we are experiencing. Before we can draw, we have to learn seeing. Most people are convinced they see everything, in fact, they see just some general picture and they don’t pay attention to anything what is out of the area of their interest at that particular moment.

When I’m watching people drawing, I have noticed the following: they rarely look at the object they are drawing or painting, hardly ever.

Some follow my drawing, some look at the paper all the time and erase everything and start from new every second minute.

In fact, we have to focus on the object we are drawing and just rarely have a look at how lines and shapes are forming on our paper. The proportion should be at least 2:1, if not 3:1. 2 seconds memorize the object; explore the shape, 1 second look at paper. That happens simultaneously after a while.

I would like to take away the eraser, too. Eraser just disturbs during the initial stages.

Vegetable sketching art classes for any age

Drawing has many purposes: this is outline drawing with pen, and later we fill in some watercolor paint

We have to visually perceive the object or scene, find a reference area or spot and start out with very light general shapes and lines. With every next line, we are building up the object or objects, and we should stick to what there is and what we can see, not trying to draw an approximate simplified shape of what we know this object might be like if we had taken away all specific features it has in reality.

Sketching vegetables: value sketch

The purpose of this value sketch is to serve as a reference for watercolor painting because some plants, vegetables or flowers don’t last long enough

All apples are not the same; all cups are not the same, not to mention trees and flowers or faces. Still life is a very good starting point, and I’d usually pile up more simple objects in order we could observe their relationships.  So, that’s the first lesson in drawing: learn seeing, develop visual perception and visual memory.

Art classes for teens and adults value sketch

This is just a quick drawing which could be also worked out on a better paper and turned into a painting

Coloring pages for adults and teens

I’m creating some coloring pages and after a while I will have lots of pages for some themes.

The positive impacts of drawing occur especially when we are employing the entire potential of our brain which is observational drawing. It also makes us completely independent from computers, cameras, phones, printers and other devices because all we need to start out is paper and pencil or pen.

Weekend painting tips to enjoy summer creativity

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 a few recent art classes and workshops.

I’d still love to invite everybody to stop by and have a look at: http://inesepogalifeschool.com/ When I wrote the previous post, I hoped, the message was fairly clear, but it seems it wasn’t.

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.

Summer acrylic paintings flower meadow 1

3-hour workshop painting demo of summer flower meadow

Spring road acrylic painting for adult painting class

We were painting the spring road with Wednesday class

Spring road 2, Fun and pleasure workshop painting

Spring road 2, 3-hour Fun and pleasure workshop painting

White daisies Workshop painting

White daisies 3-hour Fun and pleasure Workshop painting demo

Summer flower fields, acrylic painting

Summer flower fields, acrylic painting which we were doing during the last 3-hour Fun and pleasure painting workshop

Wild flower fields, acrylic painting

Wild flower fields, acrylic painting which we were doing during another 3-hour Saturday workshop

Poppy field, acrylic painting

We are quite often painting poppies during classes and workshops because everybody loves them and they are very easy

Birches and bluebells, acrylic painting

Small birches and bluebells we were painting during the last 3 adult acrylic painting classes

True colors of wildflower fields

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

True colors of daisies, acrylic painting photos

More painting details

More painting details

The correct angle to capture the real color

The correct angle to capture the real color

Happy summer painting!

Million shades of everything: experiment!

When somebody wants to try painting, they usually are not very excited about getting lots of materials. However, some people would like to have their own paints, at least some of them in order to work on sketches or perfect the scenes we have done during workshops.

Acrylic color mixing art classes for beginners

Did you know that using just ultramarine blue, primary magenta, cadmium yellow medium and titanium white, it is possible to mix up quite a few thousands of shades, and these mixes are pretty much unlimited taking into account how slight change in proportion would alter the color? We don’t usually use only premixed colors or paints straight from the tube. Everybody is aware that yellow plus blue allows mixing up greens, and red plus blue creates purple shades.

Acrylic color mixing art classes for adults

Adding yellow to different shades of blue and red causes the graying effect and results in fantastic variations of neutrals. Why do we need grey shades and background neutrals? Well, they make other colors shine. We don’t have to always paint sunsets in order to observe how yellow shines on a grey-blue or purple, but we often need those fairly saturated neutrals to build up some scene or object. They also give all objects more substance.

Acrylic color mixing experiment

One can have color charts and theory books and check out all available information on color mixing, yet not manage it when it comes to painting. How so? We know many things in theory. Quite a lot of them, but when it comes to applying the theoretical knowledge in practice, everything is completely different. I’ve observed the following: we just discussed some approach or principle, and we are now about to use what we learned about it practically. What happens? Nothing. Theoretical knowledge without decent amount of practicing is worth zero.

Acrylic color mixing Spring paintings

We were doing a lot of spring scenes, roads and fences recently.

Acrylic color mixing workshop image

This is the image we got done within 3 hours.

I slightly adjusted it later, mainly trees.

Acrylic color mixing workshop Spring scene

Painting, drawing, singing, dancing, playing an instrument and similar can be only taught by explaining, showing and demonstrating. Plus theory which many people assume the most important part and that is not true. The rest is up to that person who wants to acquire new skills or ideas. Because they will have to do this on their own: they will have to use what they just saw or heard about practically, and they will be moving brush and adding colors. It is a great exercise for decision-making: we have to make a decision every second or even more frequently.

I’m always encouraging students to experiment. Experimenting and exploring is the key to knowledge. Why? There is never only one correct way of painting or drawing something. In fact, there are thousands of ways when we are trying to get similar results. Let’s take for example video tutorials. How to paint trees? How to paint clouds? How to paint forest? The answer is: whatever way you find it suitable for you because these tutorials will show how to paint trees according to X, or clouds as Y is seeing and perceiving them, and forest in a manner of Z, but A might consider such trees incorrect, and B will tell you that nobody should paint clouds like Y was doing them. If video material gives you push and you’re trying to figure it out after watching how effortlessly somebody has done it, fine. However, when you are one on one with brush and paints, things are not the same. The more paint colors you have, the more confused you might become. Well, many color mixes yield very close colors, especially in acrylic where everything will be much darker after it dries.

Do not allow anybody to steal the pleasure of discovery from you! Some people are very insecure initially since they believe they don’t know enough about painting to paint. Well, that’s just wrong. There are artists who have more experience, but nobody knows everything about everything. The other matter is that we develop our mastery and build experience only when we take creative risks and dare to explore and experiment. Therefore, experiment, experiment, experiment! It is good to ask a question when something is not happening the way you expected, but there is no need to check every single move on the internet and perform major search just because you are not sure whether to use blue-green or yellow-green on some spot. Do it your own way, it might take longer, but all efforts will pay off when you’ll have painted exactly what you were trying to.

These images show my efforts trying to take a decent picture of a wet painting in a poorly lightened room.

Acrylic color mixing Road to Spring

However, I quite liked two of these not ready for a website images:

Acrylic color mixing Spring scene

This has reflection because it was too wet.

Acrylic color mixing Spring painting

This came out darker than in reality

It is much better to have your own painting on the wall than some print. Print is a print, it will never have the energy of an original, therefore it makes sense to frame also kids art because it has that special touch. Does our art have to be perfect? We can certainly try to get to that stage, but absolutely flawless and impressive art is extremely rare. It sometimes happens, obviously not with every single piece. I’m doing this all the time: just working towards one great picture which will be the best ever.

Two major errors are these: beginners try to paint with hardly any paint, with a tiny droplet of it. In acrylic that means, it dries out almost instantly.

Acrylic paintings art classes for teens

The small poppies, just a 15 minute exercise, looks good on the wall, not that great as a picture.

Second: beginning artists always pay attention to color and most often absolutely no attention to value. We can change color in a second, but for any painting we need some kind of values placed accordingly to our plans. Therefore: experiment! So that you can meet the spring in nicely decorated house and use your own paintings for that purpose.

Road to spring acrylic painting by Inese Poga

Finally got a better picture which looks more than the real painting.

The sky is not the limit: fun and pleasure with acrylic

Participants of the last Saturday Fun and Pleasure painting session definitely proved there is nothing too complicated when applying the right color on the right spot, so we painted sky in so many variations of red, blue and yellow, and we didn’t stop there.

I noticed a while ago that using full color images did not work very well for beginners or starting out artists’ classes and workshops. Why? It seems that when we are seeing the complete image it is more difficult to pay attention to underlying layers and not focus on final details. It happened so that details got the most focus at the beginning stage, and the entire picture was left out of site. I thought, it would make sense to go with steps and simplified layers leaving the more definite objects for the end.

This time, we taped down the eye level in order to apply all colors on the top part. Afterwards we worked out the base layers for the bottom part, adjusted shades and only afterwards placed larger trees. We adjusted some shades and added some details at the end. It is hard to believe, but even those participants who were practically absolute beginners got very nice paintings. We have to take into account that the total painting time was 2 hours and 40 minutes from start to finish. 20 minutes are devoted to recharging and lunch. Well, I’d say there is nothing wrong with adding some highlights after a while which could be some days later when the paint has settled down.

The main thing is: that was a lot of fun, great socializing, especially for people who don’t go to pubs and clubs, but prefer some more creative and more fulfilling activities.

Fun and Pleasure painting Saturday

Fun and Pleasure painting Saturday: one side of room

Art fun and pleasure painting

Fun and Pleasure painting Saturday: the other side of room

Art fun and plaesure

Fun and Pleasure painting Saturday: view from the end entrance

Fun and Pleasure painting Saturday

Fun and Pleasure painting Saturday: lots of works in progress

Art fun Jan's art

Fun and Pleasure painting Saturday: Jan’s art

Art fun Calia's painting

Fun and Pleasure painting Saturday: Calia’s painting

Art fun: nice colors

We loved these colors

Sunset fun and pleasure afternoon

Fun and Pleasure painting Saturday

acrylic demo during workshop fun and pleasure 2 res

2 hour demo on cardboard

Acrylic Birch sunset demo painting 1 res

Finished up the demo version on canvas

Some pictures really did not come out that great because of light, I mean, too much light. There were also quite a lot of people, so it was tough to get everybody on a picture.

Next Fun and Pleasure Acrylic painting afternoon is on December 6!

Poppies pop and red is such a great color to lift our moods

Poppies is a much-loved subject, and since November is the month which many people in Canada associate with poppies and Remembrance day, we just couldn’t resist and painted some, too. Liz is our champion when it comes to speed since she gets home after class and keeps painting, that way she is always the first one to finish her painting. Well, we are not envious because all of these paintings will be adorable.

Red must be a good color for up-lifting one’s mood because I cannot remember when else we were joking and laughing so much.

The next class is about to start, so I have to be short.

The next acrylic fun and pleasure painting afternoon is on November 22.

Poppies pop Teens watercolor painting class

Teens watercolor painting class

Teens watercolor painting class

Teen group enjoyed painting poppies a lot

Poppies pop Adult acrylic painting classes

Wednesday group

Poppies acrylic painting class

Liz is holding her finished masterpiece

Poppies pop Work in progress adult painting class

Work in progress adult painting class, Gwen at work

Poppies Adult acrylic painting class

Bev’s painting can be seen in front

Poppies acrylic painting for adults

Rose started to attend our classes this fall

Poppies Adult art classes

Gordon has developed his own style, we love it

Poppies Demo and Liz's finished work

My demo never gets done that quick because I have to paint it over and over for 2 or 3 groups, Poppies: Liz’s finished work

Poppies Painting by Liz

This is how Liz’s work looks like, however, light was not that great for pictures, real painting looks way more impressive

Poppies Art classes for adults

Gwen working on her painting: it is going to be very great piece of art

Crafted and hand-made is the new luxury 1

When reviewing some reports from trend analysis about home decor, gift and luxury item retail, I was very pleased seeing that anything hand-made and crafted was given the deserved attention. The real, the genuine, the one of a kind and hand-made things are predicted to become more and more important for our living environment in order to regain the personal touch which was lost in the long run towards the globalization. I believe we can go only so long with low-quality mass-made products which only fill up the space, but do not really contribute to the interior environment of our living and working spaces. The hand-made things have double value which is not always the cost which is put into this item in the way of materials and tools, but the added value resulting from our personal input, energetic vibrations and the esthetics of our creation. Such things are also unique, and always carry some special flare because of person who created them. There is no comparison between some inexpensive Wallmart or similar print which looks cheap, has no real value except for cost of paint and piece of plastic or sadly looking artificial canvas and self-made, hand-made or crafted original item or painting. No surprise many people express their interest in learning how such things are created. There is huge interest in DIY arts and crafts.Pleasure painting workshop Fun and pleasure acrylic painting workshop Sponge painting workshop for adults Sponge is a great tool for acrylic painting Autumn trees : sponge painting Autumn trees painted with brush and sponge Sponge is very helpful in achieving effects Acrylic painting for beginners Lots of fun Attendees of pleasure painting workshop Acrylic painting for beginners Fun and pleasure acrylic painting workshops have usually more than just one goal. We learn how to apply new techniques, how to implement unusual elements, how to use new tools, and we also explore some subjects which are well-known, but always offer potential for personal approach. Trees have found their reflection in paintings and decorative art (decorative art is what actually makes minimum 50% of all available art) for as long as humans exist. We are not making a discovery of a century, but we are learning how to make painting within 3 hours without too much effort and sweat. It’s obvious that such paintings can be still enhanced after the workshop which outlines the basics; students can add more detail and more layers or highlights afterwards. The principle is what counts. This time we were applying sponge. Sponge has huge potential with acrylics, and the use of this approach is actually not limited to trees or forests. It is impossible to paint so fast with brush and the created textures make these works look loose, naturally attractive. Sponge can be applied in multiple layers starting from darks and moving up to lights and highlights. Sponge can be used for the entire painting, just adding some smaller details with a brush. This technique is a bit under-appreciated, but over time I intend to present for your attention more subjects which can be successfully painted with sponge. For beginners and for artists who would like their painting to look somewhat abstract, it is of a great value. Everybody can practice using sponge on their own because it is such a relaxing and easy painting technique. The only threat can be overuse of a particular color and paint colors which do not present strong contrast. Other than that, it is pure fun! Demo painting for acrylic workshop This is one of my quick demos for sponge application with acrylic. Try it! It’s interesting and you could be very satisfied with results!