Tag-Archive for » acrylic techniques «



As I think back to my very first art experience I remember sitting with my dad and watching him sketch, paint or carve various art projects.  In the short 8 years I had with him one of my fondest memories is of him teaching me how to draw a tree.  I think that is why to this day I enjoy working up my ideas in pencil first. When working from a photo I like to make a black & white copy of it.  This helps me see the subtle transitions between the lights and darks and their shapes.  Black and white photos flatten out the image more to show us the shapes of the shadows and spaces around and on the subject.


Cardinal on an Apple Tree Branch/ Acrylic Techniques on Canvas Board

My daughter Katie is Program Director for Fenner Nature Center in Lansing so I have access to great nature photos of plants and wildlife.  Fenner will be having their annual “Apple Butter Festival” this Oct. 15 & 16.  In the spirit of this I created this painting of a cardinal on an apple branch.  This is my own composition.  When I sat down to compose this I thought about my negative space and creating a path for the viewer to follow through the piece.  If a branch catches your eye and leads you off the canvas then there should be something to pull your eye back onto the piece and help your eye travel through and around the composition.  I did this with the position of the branches, leaves and even the shadow apples.

I used an analogous color scheme on the painting.  I wanted it to feel warm and vibrant like a fall afternoon.  Analogous colors sit next to each other on the color wheel.  I used the Cardinal and the apples as my main color and then built my scheme around that. I always have my color wheel close at hand.

I am still exploring how I want to lay out my pallet for acrylic painting.   I found that the pallet paper was curling up on me so I replaced it with an 8 x 11 sheet of double strength glass for mixing on.  I used narrow strips of the pallet paper to squeeze out my paints on, letting the edges rest under the glass to keep them down.  I mist my paints often and place the cover over them if I have to step away from my painting for any amount of time.  I also find I have to keep my dirty brushes moist and wash them often so the paint doesn’t dry up and ruin them.

Please feel free to comment or contact me if you have any questions or just want to share.  Have a great painting experience!

Getting Motivated!

I finally got a chance to get back to my studio and play with my paints this week. Playing is hard work! I have been asked to teach a class at Fenner Nature Center in the fall on painting flowers with acrylics so I figured I’d better get busy. My primary medium has been overglaze on porcelain for the last 30 years. (Wow I can’t believe I am old enough to have done something for 30 years!) Since 1996 I have traveled around the country holding seminars on painting on china so now I am shifting gears a bit. As I am trying to stay closer to home to help care for my grandson Ethan I will be teaching locally and out of my beautiful new studio here in my backyard.

In the last few years I have been branching out and working in Watercolor and Acrylics. Watercolor is the closest to the china painting style as we use the white of the porcelain the same way a water-colorist uses the white of the paper. At the same time, I am secretly enjoying the acrylic painting style because I finally get to use white paint! I also find that acrylics are virtually odorless and nontoxic, clean up with water and within 30 minutes of finishing the painting are dry and ready to frame. Acrylic paint is a fast drying paint because it consists of pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylics are very versatile in that the finished painting can resemble anywhere from a transparent watercolor painting to an oil painting with lots of texture. In addition the colors can be bolder. Another bonus of using acrylics is that a wide variety of surfaces can be painted on. At the present my favorite surface is Claybord©. This is a masonite type of board coated with Kaolin which is the main ingredient in porcelain. Using the Claybord© makes me feel like I still have a connection with my porcelain. So……………having said all that to say this………..I just finished this painting of a white daisy that I hope to use as a study for my class.