View Full Version : 16 X 20 in progress

08-08-2001, 02:53 PM
I sketched out this scene (as I sat in the sun with the sun beating down in 95 degree weather) with some colored pencils and took a couple of reference photos. Then I tried to make a painting in acrylics (which I am not familiar with-a friend got me some for Christmas -Reeves brand?). Either the paints are hard to work with or I am not cut out for this kind of painting. The entire scene seems dull and the paints dry before I can finish an area. I used some acrylic gloss medium and thought it would retard the drying time- intead it just seemed to speed things up.

I am stumped on whether to try and fix it or go on to something else. Comments and suggestions are welcome. :(

Well here is the finished painting, Lauren. Everyone in this forum is very supportive- I would probably hang around here even if I didn't want to try some more acrylic work. :D


And a detail- showing what I did to fix the pretty bland water.


Diane, Thank you for the critique- there was a lot to fix in the water, it needed darks and lights as you said. I have never painted water (I just started painting -period, two months ago- and have not had any luck until recently) Also the advice about keeping your palette wet was VERY helpful. Thanks to you I finished this instead of throwing it away. :)

Bud, You are right I will be getting some better quality acrylics to see what they can actually do, instead of wasting my time with these cheap paints, which by the way, say "fine quality" on the box. :rolleyes:

Lauren- since you are learning (as I am):

I used four colors plus white to paint this: A warm light blue, a warm red (like cad, I guess), and a cool yellow, plus a dark green for the trees and water shadows. I first coated the canvas (it's a cheap board) with a yellow ochre wash- then drew the picture, then I did an underpainting of the values with a purplish color.

It's helpful for me to use a pretty limited palette when I first try a new medium. Mixing too many colors confuses me.

I kept the original posted below for reference.


08-08-2001, 07:35 PM
I am no expert, but I think it looks really good! The only thing that I noticed was the reflections on the water look just a little off. Maybe make the reflections of the people not so bright, so as not to stand out too much in the picture. Also, maybe you could show some of the sky in the trees' reflection. But don't take my word for it because I am just a beginner. But the painting looks really good- you have a lot of talent. As far as the paints go, maybe try a different brand. I have been using Liquitex Basics Beginner Series, which I have been advised against, along with a glossy med. And my paintings seem to be too glossy. Just hang in there and experiment with different paints. You probanly just have to get used to them. I've seen some really good work done in acrylic! good Luck! :clap:

08-08-2001, 11:21 PM
Hi, this is a nice, especially since you say you are not used to acryllics. A good medium to try if you want a longer drying time is an acryllic 'Color Float'. You can get one that is very cheap, but it works well. that is put out by Ceramcolor (sp?). You do not use very much at a time but it will make your paint slightly more fluid and make it easier to work an area or mix colors on the canvas. Have fun with it.


08-08-2001, 11:46 PM
Hmmm dollardays.............The gloss medium you used is more like a varnish or retouch varnish used in oils. As Dan says there are retarders on the market. Here in Wyo. the air is so dry that I have to use a lot of water, and I usually erect a shade if I can't get under a tree. I also use several brushes and when not in use I put them in a mason jar of water then when I need them just pull it out flip out the water and go back to the same color thats in the brush.

I treat the drying time of acrylics the same as watercolor, but I paint from dark to light like I do oils. You are well along as an artist and once you get used to the medium I'm sure you will do very well with acrylics.


08-09-2001, 11:09 AM
Bud: Thanks for the info on the varnish and the tip about keeping your brushes in water. I need to lose some frustration and try a better brand of paint I think.

dcheek: Thanks for info on Color Float- I'll look for it. I would like to do more in acrylics because it dries quicker than oils, which I recently rtried and really like working in.

Firefly: Thanks for taking time to look and give me some feedback. :) I am working on the water some more and I will probably push back the color on the sky to make it match the water and define the tree leaves a little more. Then I'll attempt to warm the sand to a more ochre color, it's a little red- maybe glazing? I don't know... I'm almost ready to call it finished because I think this paint is really cheap!

08-09-2001, 10:15 PM

Welcome to "acrylicworld" :) Great suggestions for you here that members have made.

I too, paint in some dry areas. Fill a small spray bottle with water and spray your canvas as well as palette while you work. It will keep everyting workable and moist with minimal need for retarders or mediums.

If you are used to working slower, the fast drying time of acrylic can at first seem daunting. But it can also be an asset. It can help you to "see" faster, thus paint more quickly -- speed is not the key, accuracy is. And learning to see can give you the ability to capture what you need to efficiently.

For this painting (which is a good first acrylic by the way) has things you can work on that are not related to acrylic but rather to your subject. The glowing light around each figure is equal. This is not so in reality. Look again at your p photo to locate where the light is really hitting the water. The highest highlights will be in one location even if it appears that there is equal light around each person.


Wally's Mom
08-10-2001, 10:38 AM
I can't really address your concerns about this painting, but I do have a couple of things to say which are relevant (I think) to your questions:

1) I like the painting.
2) I too started with a Reeves set. They didn't last me very long at all. Primarily because the caps started splitting, but I was also frustrated because some of their colors don't seem to have conterparts in the better brands (or at least I couldn't find them). I would suggest that if you want to give acrylics a fair test, that you get a Golden sampler (I think mine was ~$20 in our Michaels ) or just pick out a few tubes from Golden, Windsor Newton or Liquitex. In my experience even Liquitex Basics were easier to work with than Reeves.
3) There is a thread on "Favorite brands" (I don't know how to post its address, or I would) -- a very good thread, if you decide to buy yourself some better paints.
4) Are you used to painting with oil paints ? -- it seems like that transition would cause this "they dry too quickly" problem since they do dry much more quickly than oils.
5) If its drying on the palette that you mean, you can always spritz your palette with water to keep them moist, or get one of the "Stay wet" type palettes.

Good luck -- I really do like your painting.

08-10-2001, 02:48 PM
Well there you are dollardays.........Now I've learned something too. It never even occured to me to use the spritzer on the canvas. Diane's advise is always good. Someday I need to go to one of her workshops. I've cussed the drag of the brush on the canvas for 20 years. How simple, a damp canvas. Like wet on wet with oils.

I'm simple, how come I did'nt think of that?


08-10-2001, 09:29 PM
Please post the painting when you are done! I'm anxious to see it! Thank you for posting this one. I have a lot to learn and I seem to be learning something from everyone's paintings!

08-11-2001, 02:23 PM
I posted it at the beginning of the thread. It looks a lot better (to me). Thanks for everyone's help.

Nora :)

08-11-2001, 07:49 PM
Nora, the finished painting looks wonderful!! Excellent job! :clap: :clap: :clap: