25" x 20"
Fluid Acrylic on Arches Watercolor paper
A year in the making and I can now call it "done"! Actually, it was 2 years in the making if you start counting when I took the photos..... but who's counting. It was a long tedious project, not one you can work on continuously. However, there were lots of fuzzy butts painted in between to break the dizzying swirl of colors. I'm sure I will find something to tweak here or there but for now we'll call it D - O - N - E !
Ok, this is our project - Jack. He was helping me put away Christmas decorations last January, checking to make sure the packing supplies would be suitable for his fragile cargo. Hope you don't mind the subject, however, after looking at the newspaper a second time ...... I might be the one to regret it. Eh, what's life without a little challenge!!
Let's begin. I'm using 300 lb 12" x 16" Arches. I originally had it sketched out on a full sheet and then looked at all the newsprint and I quickly came to my senses. Since it's 300 lb paper and I won't be doing a lot of washes, it didn't require stretching. After projecting the image (yes I said project - I could spend a few days sketching it out, getting all those lines in the right place or I can project it and get down to painting - I vote projection!) I put a wash of brown madder transparent watercolor on the entire paper to get that pinky tint Jack's fur is reflecting on the paper.
Start with the eyes
Starting with the eyes (I always begin with the eyes, if the eyes aren't right there is no point in continuing) I put down a light wash of Golden Yellow Oxide, working wet in wet. With FA (fluid acrylic) what I have found to work for me is to slowly build up the depth of color and translucency using light wet in wet washes. After the yellow oxide I used a green wash of Da Vinci Cobalt Blue and Da Vinci Transparent Raw Sienna to glaze over his eyes and Golden Burnt Sienna to build up the color around the edge of his eyes. For the dark rims and pupils I used Daler Rowney Sepia Arcrylic Artists Ink. I will eventually go back over the pupils with a mixture made of violet oxide and pthalo blue. I am using Da Vinci Raw Sienna and Golden Burnt Sienna for the beginnings of the tiger lines in his face, working dark to light.
Brown madder wash with fluid acrylic eyes
Supplies used -
Arches 300lb watercolor block 12 x 16
Winsor Newton Brown Madder transparent watercolor
Golden FA - Yellow Oxide, Burnt Sienna
Da Vinci FA - Transparent Raw Sienna, Cobalt Blue, Raw Sienna
Daler Rowney FW Acrylic Artists Ink - Sepia
Tools of the trade
Ready for the basics? Ok, here we go.
- Golden Fluid Acrylic was the first fluid I was introduced to 10 years ago. Since then Da Vinci has introduced a wonderful line of fluids. Both lines carry most of the traditional watercolor colors however the only sepia I have been able to find is not an acrylic paint but an acrylic ink made by Daler Rowney. It works similarly to the other fluids but has a thinner consistency. The bottles come in 1, 4, 8 and 16 ounce sizes. I recommend the 1 ounce bottle to start, they last a long time (some of mine are 10 years old … they're getting a little stiff now). The heavier acrylic paints made by Golden and Liquetex (also called soft) do not 'flow' well on paper, don't go there. When I get a new color I add it to my color chart/sheet giving me an easy reference when I’m painting, I do a lot of straight color glazes. I'm always buying new colors.... one can never have too many paints or shoes!
- I use porcelain dishes for holding and mixing my paint. These can be purchased from art stores or you can find porcelain dishes at a flea market. As long as it's porcelain you're good to go. Some artists like to use a butcher pan for mixing a lot of color for large washes. I don't paint fast enough to use this method; my paint tends to dry up before I'm through the first wash. Porcelain cleans up nicely and you can peel the dried paint right off.
- I buy acrylic craft brushes from A.C. Moore or the less expensive acrylic brushes from Cheap Joes. If you are as bad mother as I am and don't bathe your children every day as you should, don't spend a lot of money on them. In other words don't use your expensive sable watercolor bushes with fluid acrylic, you'll never get the paint out of them. It's easier to buy a new one at A.C. Moore 😉
- I use Arches 140 or 300 lb. cold press, 300 lb. for full sheet paintings. I buy it by the sheet and block. I also like the sample packs and use them for small paintings. I use Gator board as a support. If you want a nice clean edge around your painting I have found packing tape works best. I still manage to get paint underneath the tape though, sigh.
- Airtight containers to keep pre-mixed colors in, I always have a batch of Violet Oxide and Pthalo Blue (Red) ready mixed for my darkest areas. An eyedropper makes it easy adding water to your palette to keep your paint moist. Press'n Seal is great for covering your palette, it keeps the paint moist while you're goofing off on Facebook, checking your email or updating your blog. Oh, I can’t forget Mr. Clean magic eraser. I don't use it often, but if there is an area that needs "lifting out" this is the only way you can do it. Remember this is acrylic, once it's on the paper there is no going back!
Back to work...