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A Wisconsin Waterfall in Acrylic (2/4)

or, How to Paint an Oil-Like Acrylic Piece That Will Fool 'em All!

Author: Larry Seiler, Contributing Editor

I use my homemade painting knife (image above), and use mass quantities of a dark pigment I made to block in darker masses and shadows. All this tool is was a thin gauged plaster knife that I shaped on a sharpening stone, and then bent in a vise. The painting moves along quite rapidly here. I love the sound of the knife scraping the texture of the canvas, and the absurdity it really feels to do something that appears so haphazard and free.

Here you see much of the darks and shadows blocked in. It may be difficult to believe I have not used black pigment, but I have not. I refrain from using black, (except in illustrations) because it has the tendency to react with colors I'm not prepared for. Black to appear blacker has a blue added to it...thus a gaudy green when it meets the path of yellow pigment. Plus, as you paint outdoors with atmospheric light bouncing all about, you don't really see a true black. You are able to see into the shadows...and color.

I think of shadows as an absence of light. Absence of light is an absence of detail, perceived texture, color. So, I resist the urge to put too much details in my shadows. At best, I'll suggest something is there. I have worked cool purple and crimsons into the foreground rock to impress the sense of shadow. Later I will build on this with some values and textures to suggest rock.

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