Posts tagged ‘red’

“Breakthrough” Another Adventure in Acrylics

I just finished a new acrylic painting last week called “Breakthrough.”   This is another addition to my “Black and White, and Red All Over” series.  Clearly the color gray is present in this piece instead of black, however black is a key ingredient of gray.  Cheating? Probably.

Here I’ve depicted the balloons making their escape and ascending upward through the cloudy skies, far away from whatever has been holding them back.

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This is the fourth acrylic painting that I’ve completed and I’m gaining a better understanding of this medium.   Here’s some additional lessons that I’ve learned:

Layer in Neutrals

I didn’t layer in neutrals when I created my earlier paintings and because of that I had to work harder at applying color into the canvas.  It’s amazing how difficult it is to cover a white or a light color with a darker one.

There were two painters who told me that they always layered in neutrals before applying other colors.   Heeding their advice,  I layered the background in a light gray and added the white clouds. Then I layered the balloons in a slightly darker gray and then painted them over in red.

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The red in the balloons was still vibrant but deeper and richer thanks to the neutral undercoat.  Unfortunately though I made another painting mishap.

Don’t Overdo White In A Painting

I was concerned that the gray background might make the overall work look somber, and that caused me to go overboard with the clouds.  I didn’t realize this until after I painted the balloons red.  The piece looked stark, almost as if I would have been better off painting the balloons directly on the white primed canvas.

The following day I saw a post on Facebook  from Jerry’s Art-A-Rama that mentioned that painters make the common mistake of adding too much white to their pieces making the work look cold, chalky or dull.  The timing of this post couldn’t have been better. So what did I do?

Acrylics Are Forgiving

I repainted the entire background in gray and re-applied the clouds with a little less vigor.  With acrylics you can hide your mistakes and make corrections.

Hindsight, I wished that  I would have done that with “Ninja” where I botched a splatter technique more than once.  I trashed two canvases when I should have just continued to rework the same one.

At any rate, I’ve enjoyed the process of creating “Breakthrough.” I am inspired to work on another piece using the black, red, and white color palette, although this time I am going to try my hand at working on a black canvas. Pray for me.

“Ninja” Please, You are Finished! My Winning Battle Against The Canvas.

After three attempts, I finally finished my acrylic painting, “Ninja” on my birthday. Yes, two canvases died in the making of this piece, thanks to my lack of experience with acrylics.

This  is a seemingly violent departure from my other work which is typically joyous, gentle and peaceful.  “Ninja” is part of my on-going series called “Black and White and Red All Over” that I started awhile back and includes my two other pieces, “Chat Noir” and “Angry Kitty.”

Ninja

The look is pretty dramatic with the stars zipping through the air, as they make extreme contact with their targets.  It reminds of a scene in an action movie where everything is happening in slow motion.  This is where my love of comic books is evident.

I worked in layers by first tinting the white paint, and then applying it to the entire canvas.  Afterwards, I applied a second layer of white horizontal streaks for some added texture and to make the stars appear as if they were flying at light speed.  Then there was the application of nerve-wracking details such as the black streaks around and behind the stars, followed by the red splatters. On my second attempt, the splatters ended up being my demise because I didn’t dilute the paint and it resulted in huge clumps on the canvas.  I was smarter this third go round.

So yes, “Ninja” was a rough customer but I persevered and completed it.   This was the one time where I felt that creating art was very much like a sparring match.

Chat Noir – The Final

Here kitty kitty!  I’ve finally finished “Chat Noir!”  Not bad for a second attempt at a final piece.  I had an especially hard time painting over the past weekend and I’m sure it was the added pressure that I put on myself trying to complete it.  Also, I spent a few days prior working on some art for church function, where I painted three small “murals.”  I”m sure I suffered from a little painting burnout after that.

The other setback involved color-mixing, where I was trying to find the right shades of gray for shadowing and for the bottom wall.  Initially I thought that the wall color was a little too dark but now I like it because it makes the red curtains pop.  Speaking of curtains, I wanted to give them some texture and interest so I added some swirls.  So much for uniformity.  Some of  them looked like “6s” and some looked like “Es.”   Hey, it was a tough weekend.  Still I am happy with them and the piece overall.

Now on to my next work called “Ninja” where I will be painting some throwing stars.  Here is my sketch.  I’m looking forward to working on this one and am considering making individual stars on smaller canvases.  Each one will have a different color background.   I realized that this was a bit of  a departure from my calm and tranquil art.  Not everyday that I show some blood spattering in my portfolio.  Blood is red though, so I’m just keeping up with the red, black and white theme!

After I complete my “Ninja” project,  I’m going to give painting a rest and go back to drawing.  I need the break from it and plus I want to work on “The Veil,” that I wrote about in a previous post.  It will be nice to go back to pencils and chalk pastels.

Playing With Acrylics

So in my previous post I wrote about creating a series of works in black, white and red; AND that I was going to  attempt this using acrylics on canvas.  This is a bit of a challenge having done this only once.  That was several years ago when my sister and I completed a painting project together for our mom that proved to be unsuccessful, although not for lack of trying.

I’m actually having a good time with acrylics and have started my first piece in the series. My little gray muse in the photograph below was the perfect model for “Chat Noir.”

Here is the prototype painting that was going to be the final except for the fact that I made too many mistakes.  I experimented with the curtain pattern giving each curtain panel a different design so I could determine the one that I wanted to use.  Then I created the gray for the wall at the bottom.  Yes, I know gray is a new color however, the loophole in my little rulebook  is that it’s made from black and white.

The second piece is a little cleaner although I think I drew the cat’s anatomy better  in the first one.   I do like the definition and the outline of the head better here.   I tried retracing the image from the first drawing but that didn’t transfer well from the tracing paper to canvas, so I had to redo it.  For the straight edges I used masking tape this time.  I  also lowered the curtains to hide more of the white space from the window.

I hope to complete this piece by the weekend.  I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible.   I’m not ready to produce anything with a lot of detail right now.

Here’s  what I like about so far about painting on canvas:

The coverage.  You can cover a lot of area on canvas by spreading the color around with a paintbrush versus coloring feverishly on paper with pencils.

The colors are vibrant.  Acrylics make the work look bolder, something that I haven’t been able to accomplish with water color pencils.

The canvas is ready to hang without having to be framed. This is a plus because framing is still a pain in the rear even if some frames are easy to assemble.  It’s just another expense that eats away at your profit margin.  Canvas is also much lighter too.

It’s easier to correct mistakes than I thought.  Some of my straight edges have bled  a little bit.  After my “mistake” dried I dabbed some white paint over it and all was well with the world.

Durability.  Acrylics are less likely to fade then water colors or water color pencils.

And what I don’t like:

The mess.  To my credit I’ve managed to not get paint all over myself or other areas.  Cleaning brushes gets old though.

Working the color into the canvas.  Yes, you can cover more area with color when you paint but still you have to continuously apply that color to the canvas in order to capture a rich, even tone.  This may mean mixing more water with your paint to achieve the right consistency.   Now I know why large, detailed paintings on canvas are expensive.

Trying to determine the right brushes to use.  A while back I did some research on the proper brushes but again, that was a while.  There are so many types of brushes to use, it’s kind of overwhelming.  I discovered that the medium-sized round brush is my friend.  It’s like an over-sized version of my brush ink pen.  I like the pointy tip to achieve the finer lines or flattening it out for more coverage.  A large flat brush is good for covering large areas.

Straight lines are harder to paint than curved lines.  Painting that ball of yarn was easy. Painting the window panes and the ledge, not so much. You would think it would be the opposite.  I had to keep my wrist steady as I painted  even after I taped along the lines to maintain the straight edges.

I’m looking forward to completing “Chat Noir” this weekend and then onto the next project and blog post!

Sketches: Black and White and Red All Over

I wish there was enough time to make everything. There are just so many ideas that pop into my head and I can’t draw them fast enough.

I am attempting this new series called “Black and White and Red All Over.”  Personally I think this is crazy for me to do since I’ve got other projects that require my attention including the ongoing “Twelve Days of Christmas ” and “The Veil” from my earlier writings.

Is this normal behavior for artists to be so scattered?  I typically like to start on one project and stick with it until it’s finished.  Oh, to be able to work on my art full time!  It just doesn’t seem fair does it?

Anyhey,  in an earlier post, I talked about working more in black and white with a splash of one color.  “Mercy” is the most recent example of that.  This time I  decided to throw some red in the mix which is a little out of the norm for me.  I needed the change-up.  When I look at my body of work, I can see that the predominant colors are green and blue.  Personally I think green is perfection because it’s calming, soothing, and ever-present.  I call it my spirit color (although I am far from perfection for sure).

Red on the other hand is energy, it is fiery, aggressive, my natural opposite but  I am still a fan of it though.   In my opinion,  red, black and white produce the most striking color combination.  Individually these colors are all strong in their own right.

Now here’s the kicker, my goal is to put this series on canvas.  YES, canvas!  I don’t have a clue about painting other than painting the walls in my house or dishes from the pottery painting places that are all over town.  I went to Hobby Lobby last week and bought some black, white, and red acrylic paints, brushes, one large canvas and one tiny canvas to practice on.   I should have researched this a little more but sometimes it’s just nice to do some free experimentation.

Here  are my preliminary sketches that I drew with Sharpie pens.  Pretty simple.  Not trying to do “The Last Supper” especially not on canvas.  One of the sketches that piqued my interest was that of  a black cat.  I am really thinking about doing a sub-series of the black and white series called “Chat Noir,” meaning “Black Cat” in french.  “Chat Noir” would be the one getting into cat-like shenanigans such as clawing a sofa to pieces, hissing and rearing up in arch-like formation at the sight of a dog, hunting birds, or getting stuck in a tree.  There’s lots of material to work with, especially since I own a cat.  I plan to do my best to avoid being cutesy as you see with so many cat and kitten pictures.  Chat Noir” should have an attitude, pretty much like most cats.

After creating some sketches of an apple, I painted one on the small canvas.  It was a fun exercise.   The red paint wasn’t applied as evenly as I would have liked so that will be something to focus on in the future as I paint on larger canvases.

We’ll keep you posted on how all this goes. I think it’s funny that now that I have been thinking about creating works in red,  I see the color in my surroundings now more than ever before.

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