One of the problems facing acrylic artists is that this type of paint often dries out too quickly. Artists who work in acrylics ( as I do, albeit occasionally) know how frustrating it is when you leave a specially mixed colour, for even a short time, to find on your return, that the paint on the palette, is now as hard as a rock, totally unworkable and, therefore, quite useless……
Having seen artists try to keep their acrylics moist via the use of cling film, kitchen foil and assorted covers, which worked for a couple of hours but not much longer, I have a solution that works very well, even in the summer heat of my Breton Studio. That is, to place the palette, plate, and so forth, on which you have mixed the paints, in a (preferably) clear plastic box that has a tightly fitting lid. This container will keep the acrylics moist and totally useable for several days. I use the container for a brand of chocolates (covered in gold foil) that are extremely popular at Christmas, for this purpose, and it has never let me down. I hope this tip will be of use to you.
I always enjoy drawing buildings, but, sometimes, as in this case, the main body of the castle wall, wasn’t particularly interesting, so, I took the liberty of adding two towers in the background, each with a conical roof. This gave more depth and dimension to the actual entrance and, it gave the illustration, ink on paper, more for the viewer to focus upon and to digest.
This type of “improvement” if you like, can be applied to many situations. You do NOT always have to draw exactly what is in front of you. If a view looks better without that hump of land in the middle of it, exclude it. If you feel a tree could be “moved aside” in your work, then move (or remove) it. Art is the artist’s viewpoint: it is not (unless you wish it to be) a photograph. Do not be afraid to enhance your work, if you see fit. But please, please, avoid drawing or painting, what you think a work should depict. This latter particularly applies to landscape artists who have a predeliction for illustrating all hills and mountains as enormous spiked edifices and all water (river, lake, pond, even the sea) as being flat calm……
Be flexible yet imaginative in your artwork. You are the judge of the final drawing or painting should look like. And on that last point, I appeal AGAIN, to all artists to remember to take a break and stand well back from your work, at least every 20 minutes. Otherwise you will will plough on regardless, often with quite disasterous results……..
The locally made vase was the focal point for this large watercolour, that I filled with berries, ivy leaves and “supported” on a colourful cloth, prior to painting. Artist’s wtercolours and rag watercolour paper were used in this work, which is available.
I drew this very elderly person just a week before he died. It is a nice memory for his loving owner. Charcoal pencil on paper. This artwork is now in a private collection.
Illustrations can be as simple as this illustration or highly complex. This is an example artwork during a tutorial, using watercolour and ink for a quick sketch.
Another animal painting, watercolour on paper, depicting a red squirrel of which we have many, seated in the garden, eating an acorn. This artwork is now in a private collection.
When you are on a tight budget and are purchasing an inexpensive framed canvas, remember these usually have a somewhat porous fabric. If you wish to avoid using a large amount of paint/thinning agents for the finish you require, buy a large carton of Gesso (a type of chalk based bonding agent) and prime the surface with several coats of this quick-drying material. The results will give you a smooth and relatively non-absorbant surface which is ideal to work on and which gives very good results to your artwork. I have to stress, however, that in order for your portrait work to maximise your art skills, only the very best quality canvas will suffice. And even they, may require a coat of this primer to give you the very smooth surface you may require.
Perhaps you work in watercolours? In this instance, a small bottle of artist’s gum arabic or drawing glue is an excellent investment. This permits (a) colours to flow freely and easily under your brush and (b) it does not allow the paper to become saturated and thus unworkable. However, if you are painting with acrylics or gouache, then conventional water is probably still the best material for use as the spreading agent.
Now I come to a somewhat contentious piece of advice. Artist who work in oils, know that they can take a very long time to dry, even when used in conjunction with a drying agent. Water-based oils, though, dry quite quickly, but aren’t all that popular as to date their finish and spreadability and colour range is frankly not the same as their oil counterparts. I have found, that adding a little bit of acrylic to an oil colour (obviously exactly the same colour, hue, tone, etc.,) enables the oil paint to dry very quickly. A word of warning though. This mix has to be applied with a soft brush and brushed very well onto the canvas, so as to avoid brush marks when the colour dries out.
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Thank you for reading this, and I hope it will be useful to you.
Drawing and painting are therapeutic, creative, educational and above all, hugely enjoyable occupations. My Studio (just 35 mins. from Rennes) is open to visitors all year round and you are welcome to enjoy the 2 hour (1-2-1) highly acclaimed art sessions that I hold (indoors and outdoors) during the year. For further information, please fill in the form below and e-mail it to me. For artists and non-artists, there is residential accommodation too.
Usually, as in this drawing of a nude made on primed board, I work in black ink, but occasionally, I use sepia coloured ink pens – particularly in figurative illustrations. It takes time to work in pen so give yourself time. This drawing is available.
Young woman seated.
This little pond has a never ending fascination for our two cats as they stare endlessly into its’ depths for the noisy frogs that live in this shady environment. Sold.
This watercolour features a little cove in Ballycotton, a well known an very picturesque fishing village in West Cork. I added in the cat for a light touch. This artwork is now in a Private Collection.
This artwork (Artist’s watercolour on rag paper) was built around the bunch of cherries, adding the deep blues of the plate and the copper browns of the jug for emphasis. Details and price available on request..
Large original signed landscape. Details and price of this large, original and signed artwork are available on request. It is an autumnal view of a nearby town, with its unique church spire and the group of village houses nestling in the surrounding landscape.
One discipline that many artists lack is that of keeping their materials and equipment in good order, easy to find and disposed of when no longer required. The reason I say this is that recently, I was asked to dispose of the contents of a deceased artist and was quite amazed at the amount of totally unusable “stuff” he had accumulated over the years.
Considering this man was a competant watercolourist who worked in a very limited palette and on only one brand and size of watercolour paper, the huge amount of extraneous art brushes, pencils, pens, crayons, charcoal, acrylics and oils plus assorted thinners, etc., plus canvas and board that he had and would never use, was quite extraordinary. So why not like me, make an inventory of what you actually use and want, bin the rubbish and give what you don’t and won’t need to those who can make good use of it?
Even leaves can make a pleasing composition and a likeable artwork. Commissioned artwork. Watercolour on paper, size A4.