View Full Version : Virtual Art Academy Tips & Techniques
Short lessons and videos to help you improve your painting skills.
When you have an imprimatura on your canvas before you start to paint, it helps you judge values better, and it can also provide a base for optical color mixing effects. Read more information on how to do it in my free lesson:
I painted “Sunset over Sand City” in the industrial district on the Monterey Peninsula in California. It is based on a strong notan composition that I created at the beginning of the plein air painting process. It takes about five minutes to produce a good notan composition, saving canvas, paint, and hours if the composition does not work.
Read more information on how to do it in my free lesson: https://www.virtualartacademy.com/oil-painting-techniques-structured-notan
Sometimes you arrive at a scene and just cannot find a good composition. What do you do? Just carry on regardless?
Here is a suggestion. Instead of starting on a painting you know is going to fail, why not turn it into a learning experience? For example, you could:
Try to capture they main colors of just a part of the scene in front of your as accurately as possible (as I did here in La Spezia harbor in Italy). A kind of color map or a color study.
There are several ways to emphasize the focal point or focal area in your painting. This key discovery shows you how to use contrast of temperature to focus the eye. In this painting the flower head, which is the focal point of the painting, is painted in warm colors; reds and oranges. This contrasts against the cool blue grays on the background.
For more information on contrast of temperature, see my post: https://www.virtualartacademy.com/contrast-of-temperature/
I don’t often do still life paintings, but I thought I’d do one using some techniques I’ve been experimenting with recently using a multi-colored imprimatura.
These flowers were placed on an outside bench at an artist friend’s house. Although they were not very strong in color, they had a lot of different textures and subtle color changes. To start with I thought of adding some more colorful roses, but then I began to think maybe I could make something out of this by playing around with the light in the background and the more saturated greens of some of the leaves in the arrangement. The morning light striking a wall behind the bench gave a beautiful light pattern to contrast with the texture of the flowers and provide some interesting shapes for the background.
Want some valuable tips on how to save money on paint? and how to cut down on all that weight you have to carry when painting plein air? Then read on …
When I go out plein air painting, I don’t carry paint tubes with me – they are far too heavy. Instead, I put out plenty of paint on my palette. It saves weight and it helps me concentrate on my painting instead of wasting time continually squeezing out paint. But what to do with all that paint at the end of the day?
This is my freezer. It is by far the simplest way to stop your oil paints from drying out. Just put your palette in the freezer! The cold temperature will slow down the rate of oxidation and evaporation, and so preserve your paint. See method #5 for a variation on this tip.
This method is even more convenient if you have a pochade box or plein air easel that will fit in the freezer compartment. Then you don’t have to mess around with trying to remove a palette from your box.
I am using a Daytripper easel and it just fits in a standard fridge.
Note that the freezing point of linseed oil (the main oil in most oil paints) is -20°C (-4°F). Most people set their freezers at -18C (0°F) , so oil paint will not freeze in most home freezers.
This is the fastest and most convenient method
The owner of the kitchen might shout at you 🙂
For more tips on making your paints last longer, see my blog (https://www.virtualartacademy.com/how-to-keep-oil-paints-from-drying-out/).
The fountain in a small village in Southern Tuscany.
The Fountain Chianciano Terme, Italy – 30cm x 23cm – Oil on Board
(See my blog if you want to see some of the painting steps: https://www.virtualartacademy.com/the-fountain-chianciano/)
How To Choose Your Oil Colors Palette: An Advisor Tool
There are lots of possible palettes of colors you can choose when you are painting, both in oils and acrylics, so how do you choose which oil painting palette is best? Here is a tool that will help you how to choose the best oil colors palette, depending on your skill level and what you want to paint.
Use this guide when buying your oil or acrylic paints. The tool works for watercolor paints too.
I created a video where I share with you some footage of the landscape I was painting so that you can see how I interpreted it. Plus a few tips for working plein air.
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