Acrylic Painting Lesson 2: Applying colored paint

The goal of the second lesson is to practice applying colored paint and continue becoming familiar with how acrylic paint spreads and dries. The second painting in the book is "Simple sunset" with a hot sky and black silhouette horizon.

Just like with the first painting, I was not satisfied with the limited palette suggested in the book.  I understand why the book stuck to paint colors straight from the tube, but I needed some blue!

I decided to add some blue sky. I found an old sunrise photo I'd taken and noted the pink clouds extending up into the sky. It would look spectacular in a watercolor painting. Doing something similar in acrylic is a challenge for me because I have to figure out how to make the paint behave the way I wanted.

I decided to experiment with the matte acrylic medium and see what it could do.

painting: sunset over wooded hills2 of 50 - Sunset 3/19/2018

Status: Not for sale yet

Colored Paint

I started with cadmium yellow medium hue, added a little titanium white, and did horizontal brushstrokes. Then I mixed cadmium orange hue with some titanium white for another layer, and then titanium white with a little cadmium red medium hue to make a pink. All of them also had some matte acrylic medium added for smoothness.

I did not wash the brush and tried to work quickly so the paint would stay wet to blend more.

I grabbed another brush and started straight light permanent blue from the top of the canvas then adding more and more acrylic medium as I reached the pink area. I could really see the difference in smoothness going on my board with how much medium I did or did not add.

When the blue reached the pink, I switched back to the pink brush and did some clouds scattered in the sky. If I did the painting again, I would work on my cloud plan a little more and maybe have some darker ones closer to the sun, but I wasn't sure how the paint would behave.

I realized there was going to be too much black at the bottom, so I added more yellow to lower the horizon line.

I quickly did the black and added some tree silhouettes. Finally I made a sun, despite challenging working conditions.

Challenging Conditions

As I was working on the trees, my young observer (age 5), who had already been arguing with me because she didn't like my gentle hills and wanted the horizon line straight, came too close and bumped my easel with her foot.

Bumping the easel had already happened as I was about to begin painting, and I had given her a stern warning to stay back while I painted.

When it finally happened as I was working on the trees, I said to go to the other side of the table. She didn't listen despite all of my threats and attempts to keep painting. We have an ongoing issue with obedience. I had to stop painting and drag her to her room for a time out. I finished the trees and started painting the sun when had to stop and turn off the beeping timer.

Hot Paint and Hot Tempers

Despite all of the distraction and stress, I feel it turned out ok. I tried a white sun, I believe that choice was made in the book to convey brightness, but it just didn't look right. I quickly wiped it off with a finger and did orange and white then a little more yellow to make it glow.

The irony: I changed the colors and made the lesson harder by trying to cool off a sunset that was too hot, and we ended up with hot tempers anyway.

She had liked what I was doing said she wanted to do a painting today, but that privilege was lost when she repeatedly disobeyed. We'll try again another time.

We did rinse the glue out of her batik sunrise painting inspired by the Art Lab book today, and it looks good.

More to Explore

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