Christmas came and went, and so did the New Year. In the period between – the “Romjul” as we call it in Norwegian – I showed my mom how to paint with acrylics. Plus some general tips. She is no beginner, having painted for some years, first with watercolours before switching to oil as her preferred medium, but she was curious about how it was to paint with acrylics.
So what was more natural than painting together? We looked through a lot of photos she and my dad had taken and figured out which one would be best to paint. It wasn’t easy, as there were many interesting motives, but ended up with a detail from the coast.
Off we went, first priming the canvas with a dirty ochre colour. This not to let our eyes be fooled by the white canvas about how dark and light the colours really are. And it might give the painting a bit warmer feel, as a bonus. Depending of course on the thickness of the paint. Second, we divided a printout of the photo up in squares (8×8) and the same on the canvas. This makes it easier to place the elements in the picture where they should be. Two general tips she loved.
Then we painted. Well, mostly my mom, with me sitting beside her telling about the differences to oil as we went. But I did a bit, too. Some things were a bit too different from oil …
In the end, she finished it alone. It wasn’t quite as she had wanted it, had she painted it with oil paints, so she wasn’t sure what she thought about it, but it grew on her. And their friends have commented on how much they like it when they have visited, so I’d call it a success.
I picked up a package today. One I ordered some days ago, and we’re still in the realm of Acrylics. Yes – it was more paint. Sort of. Well, not sort of – it is acrylic paint, in various colours. It’s just not meant to be used with brushes.
It comes in the form of markers.
To be honest, I wasn’t aware of acrylic paint in the form of markers until around this Christmas, when I happened to see a youtube video about how to refill acrylic pens.
Quite neat, I thought. The idea of using pens for acrylic paint, that is. At the moment I have much greater control over a pen than a brush, so why not use it when signing my paintings?
I did a quick search on the net, to see where I could buy it. A black pen and a white pen would be nice for a signature, I figured. The use of which depending on the background. Sounds reasonable?
Now, I’m sure some of you have noticed the photo above and are now thinking: “Just black and white?” Well, when I was at the selected webshop, they had a sale… Can’t let a sale go unnoticed, not when it’s stuff you can use. A set of acrylic markers? I’m sure I’ll be able to put it to good use 😉
First of all: Yes, I’m taking my painting seriously. And I have no plans getting tired of it any time soon, so stay calm.
Secondly, what’s about the title of this post you’re currently reading?
Well, it could of course describe the flying dragon, having changed the fate of the town behind him … Or it could describe me, and that I’m taking my painting seriously, wanting to continue with it after my two paintings so far.
Or – of course – both.
As should be apparent from the image above, I’ve now finished my second acrylic painting. Sure, there are always things I could do better, or more detailed, but for now I’m really happy with the result. I’d rather try to get better at those tiny details and other things I can do better by painting new motives – it’ll be more motivating, too that way, and I can see the progress as time and paintings go by. Well, at least I’m optimistic enough to think I’ll be making progress 😉
So, am I ready to take on my third painting? What will it be?
I’m not completely sure yet. I do have my figure, Dionaea, and I want to paint that one, too. Will it be my next project, or will I try another motive first? You’ll have to wait and see, just like me.
So, I started painting. Attending classes to learn how to express me through acrylics, in a way that looks good. While I’ve always had an artistic side, it’s the first time I’ve tried acrylics, and for one single exception the first time I’ve seriously tried painting. (Whatever I did with watercolours when I was a child I don’t count as serious work.)
Of course, to start painting some things are a necessity. Like paint. Some of which I had bought before I even had enjoyed the thought of attending the classes. Acrylics are also nice to paint other objects with, like figures and models. I bought a set of paints for that – never got around to do anything about it though. But I will. Some time.
This means that when I signed up for the classes, I already had some paints. Even in the colours I should have. As luck wanted it, they were even bought in the shop where they sold the recommended brand. Or at least one recommended brand. I also bought myself an easel and a starter set with paint, brushes, wooden palette and even a canvas in that same shop. Turned out the brushes were more suited for oil painting, but I’ve bought more brushes and canvases from other shops, so no problem.
So, why was the brand sold in one shop recommended over another shops own brand of acrylics? It was due to the amount of pigments in the paint and how well it covered. Good thing I bought my paint from the “correct” shop then.
Except – they sold two different brands. I had bought the other brand. Only the name of the shop had been mentioned, not the brand of the recommended paint, so how could I know?
Now, it didn’t prevent me from enjoying painting, and how was the brand I bought, Sang, compared to the other brand, Liquitex Basic, anyway? Amateur as I am, I didn’t feel I had a bad paint â€“ it seemed to cover nicely. I even bought a silver-colour from the not recommended SÃ¸strene Grene for a special project. That colour was very pigmented and covered very well. I also bought a recommended colour, Paynes Grey, from yet another brand, Amsterdam. That one’s still untested, thoughâ€¦
It was Liquitex and Sang that was on my mind, though, and after a while, I did get a bit curious, though. How didSang compare? Time to turn to the internet.
I found quite a bit of tests and comparisons between different brands. Many different brands, most of which I don’t remember now. The only one I remember the name of is one called Folk Art. As that one was irrelevant to me, I don’t remember how it did, except it wasn’t bad. Liquitex had two variations, the Basic and one Artist Quality, even more pigmented and better covering. Amsterdam also did well. But Sang? I didn’t find anything about it, except on the shop pages. No help there, so I guess I have to test out myself. I’ve bought some Liquitex colours myself now.
While writing this article, it occurred to me that I hadn’t searched for any test of SÃ¸strene Grene, so now I did. One page popped up, where their brand actually was described as a good buy; more pigmented than other well-known brands, and cheap. Not artist quality, but stillâ€¦
Before I sat down writing, I also got another surprise: While looking for something completely different, more paint turned up. Acrylics. Of the Folk Art brand. I have no recollection of that one – I must’ve had it for years, unopened. Well, it’s going to be fun, trying it all out. What’s “best” also depends on the painting style, I’ve learned. ðŸ˜ƒðŸŽ¨
So with all this said, the question remains: Painting – do I take it seriously?
I’ve started learning to paint with acrylics. Classes one evening per week, for ten weeks. How successful will I be, and how good will I become? No idea. It’ll take a lot longer than the ten weeks before I’m really satisfied with what I manage to do, and I can say this with the knowledge that the nine first evenings are over. So there’ll be much painting after the course is over too.
But of course, that’s what I intended anyway; learn how to paint, so that I have a new hoppy to spend some time on. Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to paint as much outside of the classes as I hoped, due to Real Life TM being filled with not only fun stuff. But I’m not complaining – I’m having fun with painting.
A grey box
The first evening was a test to see what we could do: A simple motive in black and white. Or rather, various grey tones.
The lesson here was for us to learn how to mix black and white to make the various needed grey tones, get the right perspective on the box, and actually paint it. Our teacher could then see where the different of us needed help, which varied a lot: Some had painted before, others not at all.
Homework after this was to find a picture we’d like to paint. Abstract or naturalistic, that was up to us.
My first “real” acrylic painting
I found a lot of potential pictures before I settled for a photo of an old building partly in ruins.
So I primed the canvas with a dirty ochre colour, so that a bright white canvas won’t fool the eyes and make it harder to get the correct colour values, outlined the motive with a coloured pencil, and started painting.
It is quite a bit more detailed than the simple, grey box, so it should come as no surprise that it took longer than one evening. The picture I show here is after for or five evenings (plus a bit at home) – but there are still a few details I want to change a bit before I get it as I want. However, I thought it was finished enough for me to start another picture.
That picture is still unfinished, and not one I’d like to show here right now. Someday I will though. A fantasy motive with a castle and a flying dragon in the moonlight.