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sideshow_bob
10-11-2011, 09:13 AM
Hi, I feel a bit like I'm being unfaithful to the D&S forum by popping in here, but I'm hoping someone might be able to give me a bit of help. :o

I've just started an art class and we're doing acrylic painting, I've never painted or done anything in colour before and I'm totally bewildered by the whole process! Here is what I've done so far, I feel like I'm painting over and painting over and not getting anywhere. Can someone please help?

Is there a good technique for doing skin tones, I would like a mottled rather than a smooth effect, should I be dabbing at the paper with the end of the brush? Can I thin the paint with anything to do this? Also, how long should I be expecting to take on a painting? I can spend between 50 and 100 hours on a drawing, and I'd be quite willing to do that with a painting too to get good results but I'm not sure if it works that way for acrylics, you seem to have to work fast!

Anyway, sorry for all the questions, I hope someone can help :) BTW, be as honest as you like about what I've done so far especially where I've gone wrong I'm not happy with it anyway so any suggestions for improvements will be much appreciated!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Oct-2011/169424-holly_lilo_painted.JPG

mdagis
10-11-2011, 09:29 AM
Well I am a newbie but I think I can give you some decent advice on that.

First of all you will have to use a retarder in order to make the colors you are using to dry slowly. In order to get a mottled effect you will have to blend your colors a lot.

It will first help you decide if you want the skin color to be cold or warm. I think the green hat will give you cold reflections to skin.

Charlie's Mum
10-11-2011, 09:34 AM
Welcome Mag, to this forum ... and it's not being disloyal to D&S either! Most of us frequent various forums here.:D

First, you're very talented at drawing and this will prove an excellent base for painting. I like what you've accomplished alread, so maybe you're on the right track for yourself!

Second - you're doing very well so far - you know about working in tones, so it's a question of working out your skin mix and then finding how best to lighten and darken, looking to see where there is reflected colour and/or light, becasue that will affect the basic skin colour.

There's no rule about how to apply the paint - some like thin glazes, others thick paint and more abstract brushwork.
Depending how you work you could make a painting in a couple/3 hours, or ten times that, and more!

It's really all a question of practice! Try mixing and checking on practice paper rather than the work - and allow for the colour-shift in the drying process, with some paints it can be quite considerable.

I use water to thin paint - some usse the mediums - matter of choice!

We have a sub-forum 'The Information Kiosk' (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=329) where there are lots of Classroom threads (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=432555) and one in particular (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=555437) could be useful - it's expression and mood but he paints a lot of portraits there!
Also in the classroom index link you'll find a portrait classroom by Jocelynart - might help:D

Hope this helps too.

Einion
10-11-2011, 09:52 AM
Hi Mag, welcome to the forum. First off I think you should be pleased with what you've done so far, it's really very good for someone who's never worked in colour before.

Is there a good technique for doing skin tones, I would like a mottled rather than a smooth effect, should I be dabbing at the paper with the end of the brush?
There are many many ways you can paint skin (or anything). As you're starting literally working from the ground up - with colour, handling paint generally and this medium specifically - there's a great deal to keep on top of but you're doing very well so far.

One of the things to do when you begin working with colour that might be valuable to you is to get a firm image in your mind about what kind of colouring you're aiming for, to mentally check your progress against; a watercolourist and an oil painter for example, painting the same subject, wouldn't generally have the same colour goals in mind. In a way acrylics lie between those to, since you can do watercolour-like colour handling or work more thickly and end up with something that looks like it could be an oil painting. As well as anything in between those two nominal extremes, including a combination in the same painting.

You can work more thickly either by building up layers using thinner paint or by working more directly with thick paint. I would generally recommend the former to people new to the medium but both definitely have their advantages.

Can I thin the paint with anything to do this?
Yes, with water, straight medium, glazing or blending medium as well as using some retarder and other additives.

Many people use more than one thing, in blends (e.g. mostly water, a little added medium and a drop of retarder) as well as in sequence since you might for example like to work very loose and watery to begin with but begin to use thicker paint for the later layers and finishing details.

Also, how long should I be expecting to take on a painting?
Very much a "How long is a piece of string?" kinda thing - can take only a few hours up to many hundreds or even thousands, depending on size, the complexity of the image, the level of finish and the painting technique (building up v. painting more directly).

Anyway, sorry for all the questions...
Don't sweat it, that's what the forums are for :wave:

Einion

Andrew
10-11-2011, 10:25 AM
Greetings!

Welcome to the exciting and frustrating world of acrylics!

Just remember the worst thing about acrylics is that they dry fast, and the best thing about acrylics is that they dry fast.

I would begin by recommending against retarders. They are only nominally effective, and there is a finite amount (anywhere from 4% to 15% depending on retarder formulation) you can add to your paint before there is an adverse effect on the strength of the paint film. You can achieve much the same effect by keeping the diluent (water) ratio. There is a difference between a diluent and retarding agent.

There are several means of blending, and the relative smoothness all rests on how much brushwork you want to do.

You can do a good wet in wet blending, by simply starting with a thin film of water on the support. This is sometimes facilitated by a thin layer of the light colour of your mixture (i.e. white) and then mix your colours directly on the canvas. This works very well for very large areas and I have had it workable for upwards of 20 minutes or more.

You can also thin the paint slightly with water or water and medium mixture, to about the heavy cream consistency and brush away. The paint will stay workable for some time. If it starts to get thick, dip in water, shake of excess and continue. This will be a much more painterly approach, as the paint is thicker.

For really thick knife work, the easiest way to begin is to dip the knife in water, then paint, then smear, and repeat. Mix directly on the canvas (or board) and frequently dip the knife in water.

You can also try drybrushing and scumbling. Here the more and lighter you feather it out, the smoother the blend will appear. You just have to play around a bit to get the finish you need.

You can optical mix with a pointillist approach. If you go this route, I would recommend a more choppy stroke vs dabbing with the end of the brush, so you get much more consistent paint delivery to the support.

Andrew

Lady Carol
10-11-2011, 12:54 PM
Some good advice. Don't sweat it. Painting is really a different creature than drawing and there is a bit of a learning curve to it. But based on what you have done so far I am sure that you will get it all sorted out.

You think you are unfaithful, well let me assure you that I have no qualms about moderating both forums :) so make yourself at home.

So where near Reading do you live? We used to live in Woodcote (just off the A407) before moving to the US.

Raymo
10-11-2011, 01:21 PM
If it was a good enough looking forum, I would probably cheat on the Acrylics forum.

sideshow_bob
10-11-2011, 03:28 PM
Thanks mdagis, Maureen, Einion, Andrew, Carol and Raymo. What a nice lot you are, maybe I should be unfaithful more often!

The links are really helpful, I think I really need to look at some step by step portraits to get an idea of what I'm doing. I think I'm going to try out thinning the paint with water, atm I'm finding it too thick and blobby to get the effect I want. I've got to remind myself that I found graphite just as bewildering when I first started!

Carol, I live in a small town called Woodley, just down the road from where you used to be :wave:

Lady Carol
10-12-2011, 12:52 AM
Oh wow, Woodley. What a small world. Of All the places I live in the UK, Woodcote was my favourite because it was a small village and a 5 min walk would get us into cow country. It also had a fabulous Spanish restaurant, long gone now I would guess. Loved it there.

sideshow_bob
10-15-2011, 11:43 AM
Oh wow, Woodley. What a small world. Of All the places I live in the UK, Woodcote was my favourite because it was a small village and a 5 min walk would get us into cow country. It also had a fabulous Spanish restaurant, long gone now I would guess. Loved it there.

Yes, Woodley is not much to look at, but I like it around here.

I've kept going with this painting, thinning the paint has helped a lot, if anyone can give me any advice on the skin tone I've got so far it would be much appreciated. The nose is driving me mad, but I will persevere until I've got it right!
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Oct-2011/169424-holly_lilo_painted_2.JPG
I've been looking at some acrylic portraits online, but it doesn't seem to be a very popular medium for painting portraits in a realistic style - is there a reason for this?

KarenESP
10-15-2011, 01:14 PM
Where's the D&S Forum?
Love the painting

Charlie's Mum
10-15-2011, 01:43 PM
Mag - she's looking really good!
I use yellow ochre (or Naples yellow) with tit white and red for my basic skin tones (but I'm no expert with skin/portraits!) - but basically 'white' skin is orange and it's varieties!:lol:
You might try looking in at the portrait forum too.

Karen - all forums are easily accessed from the Forum Jump at the bottom aff all pages.

WYSIWYG
10-15-2011, 10:33 PM
I've been looking at some acrylic portraits online, but it doesn't seem to be a very popular medium for painting portraits in a realistic style - is there a reason for this?

I suspect the issue in part traces to the fact that oils have a long, well established and thoroughly explored history of methods for realistic portrait painting. The old masters and the newer ones have hundreds of years in discovering how to make it work (and what really doesn't) leaving a solid foundation of knowledge for us to learn from and a fine tradition of oil portraiture.

I am a new artist and just working on my first portrait attempt. Most of the information and resources I've found are written from the perspective of an oil painter. Acrylics have different properties, the most griped about being working time but plenty of other differences from what I've read. This isn't a bad thing but I suspect if I were to come at it with the mindset of how it compares to oils and working with information, techniques and methods structured around a medium with opposite characteristics I'd only be able to see how it comes up woefully short. That could easily lead to the idea acrylics simply aren't the first choice medium for realistic portraits. My (again, very newbie...) opinion is that I prefer to continue to push the medium because I've seen a few folks doing some DARN realistic work in acrylics, albeit not portraits.

OkeeKat
10-16-2011, 11:31 PM
For skin tones I use Titanium white, Raw sienna, cad red or aliz crim with a touch of naples yellow, occas for darker shades I add in Burnt umber or ultramarine blue, takes some practice with all those to get the tones I like and blending.
I do use liquitex heavy body paint and thin ONLY with water to an inky consistancy.
I'm no expert on portraits, but I have done a bunch,
I do try to get them close to realistic as possible.
Here is just a few of them, I usualy try to do a WIP when I post my paintings.
Hope they help!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=939343

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=631515

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=602666

Yellow Ogre
10-17-2011, 08:31 AM
I suspect the issue in part traces to the fact that oils have a long, well established and thoroughly explored history of methods for realistic portrait painting. The old masters and the newer ones have hundreds of years in discovering how to make it work (and what really doesn't) leaving a solid foundation of knowledge for us to learn from and a fine tradition of oil portraiture.

I am a new artist and just working on my first portrait attempt. Most of the information and resources I've found are written from the perspective of an oil painter. Acrylics have different properties, the most griped about being working time but plenty of other differences from what I've read. This isn't a bad thing but I suspect if I were to come at it with the mindset of how it compares to oils and working with information, techniques and methods structured around a medium with opposite characteristics I'd only be able to see how it comes up woefully short. That could easily lead to the idea acrylics simply aren't the first choice medium for realistic portraits. My (again, very newbie...) opinion is that I prefer to continue to push the medium because I've seen a few folks doing some DARN realistic work in acrylics, albeit not portraits.

Excellent reply!

The standard image of a oil palette loaded with 7 colors, just doesnt work with quick drying acrylics (at least for me).

I have found doing an underpainting in gray scale (or umber or green) to be very helpful in dealing with acrylics short drying time. It allows you to seperate the form issues from the color issues. Do the bulk drawing in gray scale then refine in water diluted gray scale, then add successive glazes in water diluted slower drying color, preferentially using the more transparent colors (i.e Zinc white instead of Titanium white).

Smaller steps, 1 to 3 colors at a time, water diluted to slow the drying to a reasonable rate. It seems to be working for me.

As far as color selection for skin tones , may I recommend reading the following link on tonal progression, http://www.theryderstudio.com/RSS/Tonal_Progression.html.

One can make skin tones by rote formula. I prefer to think of skin tones as a contimuum of color-harmonious selections. Tony Ryder's example is just one of many (Btw from light to dark, its

1) Titanium White

2) Lemon Yellow

3) Titanium White, Cad Yellow, Juane Brillant

4) Titanium White, Cad Orange

5) Naples Yellow Green, Juane Brillant, Kings Blue

6) Naples Yellow Red, Juane Brillant, Kings Blue + White

7) Juane Brillant, Brillant Pink, Kings Blue

8) Yellow Ochre, Brillant Pink, Kings Blue

9) Juane Brillant, Brillant Pink, Kings Blue, Raw Sienna

10) Brillant Pink, Kings Blue, Raw Sienna

11) Brillant Pink, Cerulean Blue, Raw Sienna

12) Cad Red, Cerulean Blue

13) Deep Ochre, Ultramarine Violet

14) Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue

15) Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Phtalo Green

sideshow_bob
10-17-2011, 03:48 PM
Thanks Karen, Maureen, Amanda, Kathie and Yellow Ogre for taking the time to answer my questions and to give such detailed explanations about using Acrylics. There is so much to learn! I realise I've got to do a lot of practising before I get results I'm happy with. Many thanks for the links, they are very helpful.

paznbaz
10-17-2011, 07:38 PM
Hi Bob
I have found using a retarder handy to begin with but as you get a little more advanced letting the underpainting dry then increasing the colour in washes is easier.I start with sometimes with the lighter base, sometimes with the darker and then paint up to the finish. With flesh tones start with lighter pastel colours with richer washes over the top. just keep the colours clean by using siennas and umbers and never black for darkerpatches and shadows.
Hope this helps. I will be posting an in the acrylic section today where you can see the result of washes on the timber