Acrylic Solutions EXPLORING MIXED MEDIA LAYER BY LAYER Chris Cozen and Julie Prichard North Light Books Cincinnati, Ohio artistsnetwork.com
FRAGMENTS Mixed Media on canvas, 30 × 30 (76cm × 76cm), Julie Prichard
AFTER THE RAIN Mixed Media on canvas, 18 × 18 (46cm × 46cm), Chris Cozen
Contents Acrylic Solutions In Julie’s Words In Chris’s Words How This Book Works The Basics: Design, Color, Materials and More Elements of Art Materials, Tools and Supplies How Acrylics Work Mixing the Color Wheel The Basics: Mixing Intermediate Colors Color Options The Basics: Color Plus Light The Basics: Color Plus Dark Amazing Glazing The Basics: Mixing a Glaze Laying a Good Foundation Acrylic Gesso Laying a Good Foundation: Preparing Paper Laying a Good Foundation: Preparing Wood Laying a Good Foundation: Plan Surface Texture With Collage Laying a Good Foundation: Bulk Up With Cardboard Adding Structure Developing Structure
How Structure Works Using Collage as Structure Adding Structure: Making a Structural Collage Texture as Structure Apply Texture With a Palette Knife How Products Behave Adding Structure: Playing With Textural Mediums Adding Structure: Creating Raised Stencil Patterns Adding Structure: Layering Stencils Adding Structure Adding Structure: Freestyle Color Blocking Adding Structure: Color Blocking With Tape Adding Structure: Color Patching Color in Action Adding Structure: Water Media: Drips and Drops Line as Structure Adding Structure: Incised, But Not Precise Image as Structure Adding Structure: Move That Image! Julie Builds With Collage Chris Develops Layers of Texture Recognizing When to Stop Developing Complexity Developing Complexity: You Can Draw Developing Complexity: Abstract Monoprinting Complexity: Painted Lines, Blocks and Design
Adding Texture with Sheer Collage Elements Developing Complexity: Paint Your Own Cheesecloth Developing Complexity: Create a Paint Skin Incorporating Pattern With Stencils Glazing for Color Correction Developing Complexity: Adding a Layer of Calm Developing Complexity: Shading for Shadow, Volume and Depth It’s all in a Glaze: Grit, Grime, Rust and Patina Developing Complexity: Mixing Your Aging Glaze Julie’s Demo: Developing Complexity: Fine Tuning With Color Chris’s Demo: Developing Complexity: Chris Develops Her Painting Finessing the Details Finishing Touches Finishing Touches: Bold, Imperfect Lines Paint a Surface to Draw On Using Color as Detail Special Effects Paint Applications Special Effects Department Finishing Touches: Spray It! Julie’s Demo: Finishing Touches: Adding Complexity at the End Chris’s Demo: Finishing Touches: Enhance and Emphasize About Varnishing Dedication About the Authors Acknowledgments
In Julieâ€™s Words
UNTITLED YELLOW Mixed media on canvas, 24 x 24" (61cm Ă— 61cm), Julie Prichard
I like looking into a painting for a long time, to study it and see what I can find. The mystery of what I will uncover keeps me coming back for more. Looking for pieces and clues about what might be under the layers is exciting and it totally defines my painting style. My training as a photographer provided my introduction to layering. Having the understanding that layers can be added and removed, or they can be added top to bottom or vice versa, is just as important in painting as it is in photography. Layering also helps break down the daunting feeling of making a mixed-media painting. Work on it one step at a time, knowing that one step is not in itself final but subject to whim. When teaching painting workshops, Chris and I stress that no painting is finished until you feel it is, in fact, finished. I have a background in science. Knowing how things work is important to my methodology. I have learned about paints, mediums and grounds to understand how I can make them work
for me, and throughout this book I share this knowledge with you. From this knowledge, we have compiled our favorite techniques. When you mix and match techniques, you can achieve countless variations and looks. I hope you enjoy learning from this book and expanding your painting repertoire.
In Chris’s Words
PHASES Mixed media on canvas, 24" × 24" (61cm × 61cm), Chris Cozen
There is something completely captivating about mixed media. The freedom and serendipity of the art form allows me to get lost in the process, easily shifting between paint and paper, adding collage, line and texture. Mixed media never feels rote or formulaic. In the beginning, I used to try to keep track of the number of layers that went into my pieces, but I don’t anymore. The goal for me as an artist is to create work that seamlessly transitions between layers, so that the whole piece reads fully and completely. I have found that many layers make for the most interesting pieces. I often take works off walls and add more layers to them months after I thought I was done! Writing this book has only reinforced my commitment to mixed media. Where else in the art world can you use such diversity of materials and develop such a range of outcomes?
Although we have structured this book to demonstrate how one creates mixed media art in layers, keep in mind that there are no hard-and-fast rules here. Jump back and forth through these techniques at your will. Mix it up, repeat or add layers. We stopped because we ran out of pages, but you can keep going. We hope you enjoy the process.
How This Book Works We want you to own this book! Sure, that means it’s great if you buy it and put it on your shelf, but we want you to really make it your own. We hope you write in the margins, turn down the corners of pages and make notes and addendums to our techniques. Consider these pages as a set of blueprints prepared for constructing layered and complex mixed-media artwork. We have given you step-by-step techniques for implementing your plans and plenty of supportive material to guide you in your understanding of color and design, as well as for selecting appropriate art supplies. We chose to show you our work as it develops, throughout the pages. You will follow two very different paintings from preparation to completion. We felt that if you could see for yourself the transformations, both dramatic and subtle, it would be helpful as you create your own art. On top of that, we have filled the book with loads of our own work as examples of the techniques that we use and love. Our goal for you is that you take the information we share and the techniques we demonstrate and use it all to create your own unique multilayered art. Once you have mastered the techniques we have shared, we encourage you to mix it up and pull techniques presented in one layer into various other layers of your work. Then you will really own the book! We have broken down the layers in this way: • Laying a Good Foundation: Proper surface preparation techniques along with variations to create visual interest even at the gesso level. • Building structure: Support the composition through collage, texture, color, markmaking and image development. • Developing complexity: Make unique and nuanced adjustments with collage, monoprinting, paint techniques, textural and sheer elements, paint skins and pattern. • Finessing the details: Create finishing touches that may involve line, surface treatments, spray paint and special effect paint applications. As you begin, select one or more techniques from each section of the book to develop your own composition. At first you might start with a simple gessoed canvas or board and move directly on to apply color or collage. As you gain experience and confidence, we encourage you to try several techniques from each section as you build up your layers. Once you start working with layers, you will see how you can borrow ideas and techniques presented in one section to apply at another level in your painting. Remember, with mixed media you have tremendous
freedom and flexibility to develop your composition as you choose, all the while adjusting and modifying as you apply layers. Have fun and make this book yours. For more from Julie Prichard and Chris Cozen, sign up and download bonus materials at artistsnetwork.com/acrylic-solutions.
A VIEW OF THE KINGDOM Mixed media on canvas, 20" Ă— 20" (51cm Ă— 51cm), Chris Cozen
The Basics: Design, Color, Materials and More
FRAGMENTS Mixed media on canvas, 36" × 36" (91cm × 91cm), Chris Cozen
When we gaze upon a piece of art we find ourselves either captivated or bored, or somewhere in between. What makes the difference? What holds our attention? Part of what engages us is subjective: taste, style, color preferences, subject, etc. The rest comes from the artist’s understanding of how things work. How can we learn to hold a viewer’s attention? Which colors calm and which colors excite? Why use tube paint instead of fluids? So many questions! Relax, there are guidelines even in art that will help you find the answers. Let’s get started covering the basics.
Elements of Art There are six important players in every composition: line, space, value, color, shape and texture. You will get to know them well. Each of these elements should be considered as you make art. Consider them the architectural components of successful composition and make them part of your art vocabulary.
Line Line refers to the path the viewer’s eye takes as it explores the composition. Consider how you want the viewer to follow it. Sometimes the line our eyes follow can actually be seen; sometimes it is implied through the arrangement of elements, such as when we set up a row of similar shapes. The vertical lines of the plants pushing out of the ground are supported by the vertical bands of color. Imagine that someone has drawn a strong, black diagonal line across this composition. How would it alter the way your eye responds to the piece? EMERGING Mixed media on canvas, 24" × 24" (61cm × 61cm), Chris Cozen
Space Space refers to the areas around and distance between elements. Without empty spaces for the eye to rest, a composition can become too busy. Ideally, you want your viewer’s eye to exit a composition having traveled around the entire piece. Edit things out to provide enough space for every element to breathe. The large areas of light blue around the central images provide space for the eye to rest. UNTITLED Mixed media on mounted watercolor paper, 24" × 16" (41cm × 61cm) Chris Cozen
Value Value refers to light and dark in a composition, and includes highlighting and shading techniques. If a composition is all light values, there is no contrast, and the eye doesn’t know where to focus. Digital cameras work on the same principle. The background consists largely of light values and focal elements in darker values. The two rectangular shapes fall in a middle value and add balance to the composition. GRAFFITI WALL COLLABORATION 2010 PIECE 5 OF 9 Mixed media on canvas, 5" × 5" (13cm × 13cm), Julie Prichard
Color Hue is another word for color, which we see everywhere we look. We will show you what is possible with several red-blueyellow combinations and what happens when they are mixed. Color has a voice. Sometimes it is quiet, sometimes it is bold and audacious. Color also has a temperature. It can be warm or cool. Color includes tints and shades, and comes from pigments that also have distinct properties. As you create art, your color choices will express what your intentions are. Sometimes you will decide that a quiet piece needs an exclamation point somewhere. Color will let you do that. The piece shown here is largely comprised of various tints and shades of the same color (Quinacridone Magenta). The blue spots serve to pull the eye down and in. UNTITLED Mixed media on canvas, 9" Ă— 12" (23cm Ă— 30cm), Chris Cozen
Shape Shape refers to areas in a composition that can be defined by edges. These can be recognizable shapes such as circles and squares, or amorphous shapes. Spaces can be implied by slight color shifts in a background as in the play of shadows on a wall. Be on the lookout for interesting spaces in your compositions. Sometimes the shapes are hidden. The white shape is the positive space defined by the edge where it meets the dark background. Notice how engaging the negative space is as well. DELICATE LADY Acrylic on canvas, 11 Ă— 14 (36cm Ă— 28cm), Julie Prichard
Texture Texture is about the quality of the surface of the painting, either visually or physically. It refers to the smoothness or roughness, glossiness or grittiness of the work, as well as every variation in between. When we represent texture in a visualonly manner, we utilize lines, shading and color shifts to imply changes of a physical nature. To represent texture physically, shift the elevation of a piece with thick collage elements, adding products that contain particles to the surface in a variety of ways or by the thickness or thinness of paint applications. In this example the surface texture was manipulated with the addition of built up molding paste that created a ledge effect. Areas of crackle paste further enhance the surface texture. GRASSES IN THE CREVICE Mixed media on cradled hardboard, 10 Ă— 8 (25cm Ă— 20cm), Chris Cozen
Materials, Tools and Supplies We have tried to keep the list of products and supplies needed to work through these pages to a minimum. Here are the basics you’ll need: • Red, blue and yellow fluid acrylic paint, plus either Titanium White or Titan Buff fluid acrylic and Titan Buff OPEN Acrylic by Golden. • 2–4 brushes, synthetic and natural-bristle types with straight or angled edges, plus one large soft-bristle synthetic brush (available in home improvement stores). • A few plastic, wide-blade palette knives and some assorted mark-making tools, such as wooden chopsticks, toothpicks, skewers, galvanized nails, etc. • Stencils, which can be purchased, hand-cut or created from found sources. • Foam make-up wedges for paint application.
Mediums are primarily added to paint to alter the strength of the pigment without changing its color, to create glazes, and in some cases, extend the time you have to apply and manipulate the paint on the surface. The mediums we will use are Polymer Medium (gloss), fluid matte medium, Acrylic Glazing Liquid (Golden) and OPEN Medium (gloss; Golden). When polymer medium is added to paint, the mixture will dry at the same rate as fluid paint, and does not extend the working time of the paint. The gloss medium will dry shiny without
any change to the color. Matte medium will dry without glossiness and cause a slight lightening to the color. Both the Acrylic Glazing Liquid and the OPEN Acrylic Medium are designed to extend the working time of the paint to which they are added. These two products are essential partners in the processes we share in these pages. The glazing liquid will allow for an additional 10–15 minutes of working time before starting to dry, depending on climate and studio conditions. Since sheer layers of fluid paint dry in mere seconds, this is a tremendous advantage. The OPEN medium is designed specifically to maximize working time when paired with the OPEN acrylic paints. For most of our applications we use it paired with the fluid colors and find it gives us even longer working time than the acrylic glazing liquid. One caution: Don’t use them together on the same brush or you will start lifting more paint off the surface than you are putting down. We don’t get very far into a project without one or both of these products being put into play. It’s important to note that there are other products sold as glazing mediums of one sort or the other which may or may not have the properties needed for the techniques we are sharing. If you use other brands, be sure they provide extended working time.
GELS AND PASTES
Gels, pastes and other textural products are available in a wide variety of choices. These are used to add texture to our compositions and can be used straight from the jar, tinted, or in combination with other products to create one-of-a-kind textures. Each gel or paste has a specific set of behaviors. It is important for you to get acquainted with what each one feels like when it is dry, how it tints, and whether it is transparent,
translucent or opaque, smooth or rough, porous or nonporous. It isnâ€™t necessary to purchase a dozen products to work with our techniques. Select the products that appeal to you and use our techniques to maximize the ways they can be utilized. Some of our favorites are molding, fiber and crackle pastes and Acrylic Ground for Pastels (Golden). The thicker, heavy-bodied tube paints can also be used to create colorful textural surfaces. Extend Your Color If you find yourself low on a color and need just a bit more, add polymer medium gloss to your paint. Mix it gently and thoroughly. Since artist-grade paint has such strong pigment concentration, you can add up to 30 percent of the medium without noticeable change. This is called a paint extension.
How Acrylics Work We have simplified this overview in an effort to help you understand acrylic products and their differences. For more technical information, visit the websites of the major acrylic paint manufacturers or attend a local lecture on acrylics. What’s most important to understand is that when you work with acrylics, you are working within a compatible system. You have tremendous flexibility in combining products, tweaking consistencies and creating your own “designer”combinations. There are a very few exceptions to this compatibility factor, which we will point out along the way.
POLYMER BASE All acrylics are made up of polymers that are eventually combined with bits of other ingredients that change their behavior in some specific way. When a polymer is formulated to make paint, it is produced in a fluid, pourable state. Most acrylic products begin in this way. We like to think of polymer medium as naked paint, or what paint would look like if the color pigments had been left out. It is the glue that binds the pigments to the surfaces it will be applied to. The milky white color is a result of the water that makes the products moveable and pourable. When the water evaporates, the result is a film that is clear and glossy. You can always tell when the film is dry because the white will have disappeared. Matte medium is also a fluid just like polymer gloss medium, but it dries with a hazy finish and has a bit of tooth, or roughness, to it. This change in surface is a result of the addition of small white particles suspended in the fluid. When matte medium has dried, the color beneath it seems a bit more subdued or dull. Gel mediums are created by adding thickening agents to the fluid polymer medium. Gel mediums come in various thickened states ranging from soft all the way to extra heavy. Soft gel will not hold a peak and dries with rounded edges. The thicker the gel, the more it will hold a peak or a line when incised. Gel mediums come in gloss, which dries clear; semigloss, which is like a satin finish; and matte, which looks hazy and has a tooth on the surface. Pastes and textured gels are created through the addition of particles to the thickened mediums to create molding pastes, glass bead gel, pumice gel, fiber paste and many more. Depending on what has been added to the mixture, some of these pastes will be opaque and some will be translucent. Any of your paints can be added to polymer mediums, gels and
pastes to create variations in transparency, texture and consistency. Do some experimenting to discover just how many variations are possible.
Heavy body acrylics, fluid acrylics and OPEN acrylics.
PAINT FORMULATIONS Acrylic paint comes in a variety of formulations, each having its own personality. Simply put, most acrylic paints come as thick formulations found in tubes or thin liquid formulations that are pourable. New, slow-drying formulations have been created in recent years. Whenever we refer to paint and paint colors they will be from the Golden Artist Colors, Inc. line, since that is what we use. If you have a favorite brand, be sure to check and see if your favorite colors come in different consistencies.
PIGMENTS Pigments play the most crucial role in art making because they cross the entire scope of artistic mediums, from oil, watercolor and acrylics to inks, chalks and more. It is important to have a working understanding of pigments, why they behave in certain ways and which will work best for certain purposes. A pigment is either naturally sourced or created in a chemistry lab. Natural pigments are earthy and chunky and behave the way we would expect dirt and rocks to if they were ground up and thrown into liquid glue. These colors act as good grounding colors for our compositions. Even in glaze formulations, these pigments will give us the additional haze needed to imply clouds, fog or mist.
Natural pigments such as sienna, umber, ochre, cobalt, cadmium, titanium and ultramarine have been mainstays of artists for centuries. However, these pigments are not clean mixers. When you mix two strong primary earth colors together, the resulting secondary color is quite dull, not clear and clean. It is very easy to make mud from colors that once started buried somewhere in the earth. Chemically created pigments are altogether different in their structure and behavior. If you examined them under a microscope, you would think you were looking at shards of colorful stained glass. Light passes easily through these pigments, just as it does through glass, making them clean mixers. These pigments create intense saturated paints that pack a powerful color punch and allow for an extremely wide range of glaze strengths. Sometimes the pigment names are difficult to pronounce, which is one way to recognize them: phthalo, quinacridone, hansa, anthraquinone, pyrrole and dioxazine. These latecomers to the art world have made a lasting impression due to their bold and beautiful demeanors. Though they are powerfully pigmented, they remain sheer enough to see through. Add just a bit of a natural pigment, such as Titanium White, and you can diminish their clarity almost immediately.
Fluid Acrylics Fluid acrylics are highly pigmented paints that are almost exactly the same consistency as polymer medium. These are our go-to paints because they are easy to manage, mix, blend and use. When thinking about the consistency of fluids, just remember the idea of naked paint we discussed earlier. One of the important aspects of fluids is the leveling quality. The paints spread evenly and dry with little or no evidence of where you made a stroke. You can also draw fine lines with fluid paints, as well as drip, drop and pour them. Add a bit of water to fluid colors and you can easily get a watermedia effect.
Heavy-Body Acrylics Heavy-body acrylics (tube paints) are produced by adding thickening agents to the fluids. The consistency is much stiffer than fluids. The beauty of heavy-bodied paint is that it will hold line and texture, it can be used for raised or embossed effects, and it can provide texture on your surface. Every subtle turn of the brush or palette knife can be captured. If you find they are a bit too stiff, add a little acrylic glazing liquid to your paint. There is the same amount of pigment in an ounce of fluid acrylic as in an ounce of the heavy-body.
Earth vs. Lab
Although these two paints seem similar in color, their pigments behave very differently. Indian Yellow Hue is comprised of pigments developed in a lab. Its paint film will be more sheer and glossy than Yellow Ochre, whose pigment is harvested naturally from the earth.
Mixing the Color Wheel If you are a beginner and need to purchase paint, the assortment shown in color wheel A is recommended. Notice all of the colors use only three primary-color bottles of paint. The colors in color wheel A are all transparent pigments; they will not cloud. Look closely and you can see that the text on the color wheel remained visible after it was painted. Painting over printed papers is a great way for you to test the transparency or opacity of a color and learn about your paint. When mixing colors, start with a very small amount of each color on the tip of your brush. The colors can change very quickly if you mix with a heavy hand, and you will miss all of the hues we have created. By selecting three similar, yet different, shades of blue, yellow and red, we can create several variations which are shown in color wheels B and C. The same mixing methods were used to create each color wheel; the only differences were the starting colors. Consistency and Quality Count We use Golden Artist Colors because they are artist-grade paints. Artist-grade paints provide the artist with a much higher concentration of pigment than craft paint or even student-grade acrylics. The paint colors are consistent from bottle to bottle, and a great assortment of pre-mixed colors are available. When adding paint to your palette, start with only a couple of drops at a time. Remember, a little paint is all you need. There are plenty of artist-grade paints out there. Experiment to find which brands work best for you.
Color Wheel A Primaries used: Anthraquinone Blue, Quinacridone Red, Hansa Yellow Medium
Color Wheel B Primaries used: Turquoise (Phthalo), Quinacridone Magenta, Nickel Azo Yellow
Color Wheel C Primaries used: Phthalo Blue (Red Shade), Napthal Red Medium, Diarylide Yellow
The Basics: Mixing Intermediate Colors Spend time getting to know your paint. Now it is your turn to experiment. Mixing secondary colors is easy when you use transparent pigments. Materials Hansa Yellow Medium Nickel Azo Yellow Diarylide Yellow Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) Quinacridone Red Palette Small detail brush Rag or paper towel Water
STEP 1: Pull Your Colors Start with a small amount of each color on your palette. The yellow hues will each create a slightly different color. Also on the palette are Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) and Quinacridone
Red. Use a small detail brush to practice mixing.
STEP 2: Mixing With Blue Pick up some of the blue paint and spread it on your palette. Next, using only the tip of your brush, pick up a very small amount of one of the yellow shades. Mix the yellow into the blue paint you have already set aside on your palette.
STEP 3: Create a Range of Values Continue to add small amounts of the same yellow to the combination. Notice the changes in the green paint you have mixed. With each addition of yellow, the color grows lighter and brighter. By reintroducing the blue, you can tweak the color to any one of a number of greens. Make the new green color as light or as dark as you wish.
STEP 4: Create Another Green Clean your brush with water and squeeze out the excess using a rag or paper towel. Pick up some new blue paint and place it onto the palette. Choose a new yellow color and begin to add it very slowly to the new swatch of blue paint. Take the green as light as you want to by continuing to add more yellow to the mix.
STEP 5: Finish the Set Complete the mixes by repeating with the remaining yellow paint. Notice how each of the yellows mix with a single blue to create different greens. You can also create various oranges by adding different yellows to reds, and purples by mixing red and blue.
Color Options Learning to tweak color is a huge part of making art. Although we look at colors all day long, we don’t always understand what colors work well together or why one yellow clashes when another yellow doesn’t. We know artist-quality paints are expensive. Our goal is to help you maximize your investment by teaching you color mixing, Chris- and Julie-style. First, you’ll need to understand a few things about color. Then, we’ll move on to the fun and games. Let’s get started.
MONOCHROMATIC Use many tints and shades of the same color to create a monochromatic look. Adding Titanium White, black or Titan Buff to your paint color will help you create variations of the same hue. You can also add these neutral colors, keeping them separate from the color you have chosen for your monochromatic painting.
GRADIENTS Colors progress from light to dark in a gradient painting. Start with a pure concentration of the color of your choice and add white or buff, blending the color across the substrate.
To blend the paint in this painting, an acrylic glazing liquid was used. The medium extends the paint’s working time and allows it to blend very easily.
Monochromatic Selecting a variety of shades in the same color family will always work. UNTITLED Mixed media on canvas, 8 × 8 (20cm × 20cm), Julie Prichard
Color Square Choose colors that form a square on the color wheel to make a color square painting.
COLOR SQUARE The color wheel is a great tool to use when picking colors for your artwork. Choose colors that form a square on the color wheel to make a color square painting. Another option is to choose any three colors that form a triangle (triad) on the color wheel instead of four.
COMPLEMENTARY Colors opposite each other on the color wheel are called complementary. When painting with complementary colors, it is not necessary to use the pure form of the color as shown on the color wheel. Notice the variations within each color and make your selection.
Neighboring colors on the color wheel are said to be analogous. You can choose three or four colors that are next to each other to create a pleasing and soothing look. Working with an analogous color scheme gives you the opportunity to discover the subtle possibilities within each of the colors. Spin the color wheel around and notice all of the neighboring colors. Your choices are endless.
PURPLE HAZE Mixed media, 20" Ă— 20" (51cm Ă— 51cm), Chris Cozen
Complementary Colors Choose colors opposite from each other on the color wheel for maximum visual impact. They carry a punch.
Analogous Colors Select colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel for a harmonious composition.
The Basics: Color Plus Light All of the colors we have been using to this point in the book have been transparent pigments. Adding colors such as Titanium White and Titan Buff to your paint colors will create opaque tints that you can work with.
STEP 1: Pick Up Color Begin with a small amount of Quinacridone Red, Titanium White and Titan Buff on your palette. Only a very small amount of each is used. We will use a detail brush to mix different tones of red. With red paint on your brush, pick up a small amount of Titan Buff.
STEP 2: Mix the First Value Beneath the pure red, mix the Titan Buff and red together.
STEP 3: Tint Out the Red Continue to add more Titan Buff to the red to make the red as light as possibleâ€”in this case, making light pink. Remember, artist-grade paints have tremendous tint strength.
STEP 4: Try a Warm Pastel Repeat steps 1â€“3 using Titanium White. Notice the difference in the two colors that you are mixing. The red mixed with Titanium White is more of a pure pastel of the red color, whereas the Titan Buff mixture varies slightly and creates what we like to call a warm pastel.
Cloudy Cover Mixing Titanium White and Titan Buff with your transparent paint colors will make them more opaque, depending on the ratio of white or buff to transparent color. Notice how the text on the ledger paper becomes obscured. Titanium White is a very dense, cloudy pigment. Use it sparingly, as it will shift a transparent color to opaque very quickly. Due to the density of Titan Buff and Titanium White, you may find it is easier to add color to white paint rather than vice versa. Remember to always start with the smallest amount of paint necessary. You will be able to control your mixing much easier this way.
The Basics: Color Plus Dark Dark colors can be used to shift colors in much the same manner as their lighter counterparts. Use black, Paynes Gray or special effect colors such as Micaceous Iron Oxide to create unique, darker shades. Micaceous Iron Oxide is a favorite color of ours. The particles suspended in this pigment create a subtle shimmer and are instrumental in creating a variety of lustrous looks without looking like glitter. Materials Hansa Yellow Medium Carbon Black Micaceous Iron Oxide Palette paper Small detail brush
STEP 1: Pour Your Paint Add Yellow Hansa Medium, Carbon Black and Micaceous Iron Oxide to the palette. Very little paint is needed for this exercise.
STEP 2: Pick Up Color Spread a swatch of yellow onto your palette. Dip the tip of your brush into the black and place a very small amount into the yellow paint.
STEP 3: Mix the Paints Mix the black into the yellow paint, adding more yellow to mix the lighter tint. Notice how a little black goes a long way.
STEP 4: Repeat Until Finished Repeat steps 1â€“3 with the Micaceous Iron Oxide instead of black. The Micaceous Iron Oxide will darken the yellow paint much slower than the black paint. This is because the Micaceous Iron Oxide is comprised mostly of dark particles suspended in a transparent medium, which takes on the color of the paint with which it is mixed. The dark particles float across the yellow mixture, creating the illusion of a darker shade yet still allowing the yellow paint to remain visible.
Amazing Glazing Artists can add glazes to paintings to create depth and dimension. A glaze is a very sheer layer of paint. Glazes are created by mixing paint in a 1:10 ratio with a glazing medium. The medium will extend the working time of your paint and allow you to blend it very easily. Adding glaze to the background allows the artist to create depth and interest. Glaze is usually applied with a synthetic brush instead of a bristle brush so that the brushstrokes don’t show. The result is a smooth haze of color, as light or as strong as you wish to make it. There are three different mediums you can use to make a glaze. Acrylic Glazing Liquid will extend the working time of your paint and is formulated for working with acrylics. Mix the glaze using one part paint to ten parts glazing liquid. The extended working time this provides is important, because it allows you greater ease in blending layers. OPEN Acrylic Medium can also be used to make a glaze in conjunction with Golden’s line of OPEN paints, which are heavier bodied and have a much longer working time than the fluid acrylic paints. It is formulated to be compatible with Golden’s fluid and heavy body lines as well. For the greatest extension of working time in glazing, try this medium colorized with fluid acrylics. Polymer medium (gloss) can also be used to create a sheer layer of paint. A glaze mixed with this medium will dry at the same rate as the paint and does not allow extended working time. The polymer medium can be mixed in the same 1:10 ratio as the glazing liquid to create a sheer glaze. By varying this ratio (2:10, 3:10, and so on) you can increase the intensity of the color of the glaze yet still maintain the transparency. This polymer is helpful if many layers of glazing are needed, or if you want the paint to dry more quickly.
Develop Nuance Sheer glazes react with the color of paint they are placed over, and create a gradual shift of color.
Enhance Details Glazing adds definition to each of the leaves in this artichoke. The leaves are much more interesting than if they were painted with a single color. A few colors of glazing can fit in a small area because they are very easy to blend.
Vary Color Intensity Using Acrylic Glazing Liquid, we are able to leave the glaze heavy in some areas and thinner in others. Once the glaze is applied to the panel, it can be manipulated with a clean paintbrush, rag or paper towel.
The Basics: Mixing a Glaze Understanding how to mix and apply a glaze is a useful skill. The process may be challenging at first, but with practice, youâ€™ll soon understand the behaviors of the glaze and how to make it work for you. Materials Acrylic Glazing Liquid Soft-tipped brush Quinacridone Magenta Alizarin Crimson Hue Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold Paynes Gray
STEP 1: Pour Your Paint and Medium Squeeze a drop or two of color onto your palette, followed by ten drops of Acrylic Glazing Liquid. Work with a soft, synthetic brush. A soft-tipped brush will leave smooth paint.
STEP 2: Mix Paint Into Glaze Mix a small amount of the paint into the glazing medium.
STEP 3: Apply the Glaze Lay your colors on top of a neutral-colored, collaged canvas panel adjacent to each other, but not blended.
Brush Tip Built up Acrylic Glazing Liquid on your brush may cause the paint to lift off of your artwork. To prevent lifting, clean your brush frequently with a paper towel or dry rag. Do not use water to clean your brush at this stage.
STEP 4: Blend Once the colors are on the painting, use a clean brush to blend them. Wipe your brush on a clean cloth frequently. Get into the habit of using crisscross strokes to incorporate each color into the other colors for a perfect blend.
STEP 5: Continue Blending Use a dry paper towel and a very light touch to help you blend if needed. You can leave the glaze darker in some areas and lighter in others. Be cautious not to remove all of the glaze you put down; it will move very easily.
STEP 6: Maker Some Areas Darker To darken some areas, yet still retain the transparency of the glaze layer so that the lower layers on the painting remain visible, use one drop of Paynes Gray with the glazing medium to make a dark glaze. Switch to a larger, broad-tip synthetic brush to add this glaze. While the initial glaze layers are still wet, add this gray glaze to darken the edges of the painting.
STEP 7: Darken the Magenta Layer Add another layer of magenta glaze to some areas. Always use a light touch when glazing.
STEP 8: Add Opaque Glaze Create a slightly opaque glaze using one part Titan Buff or Titanium White to ten parts Acrylic Glazing Liquid. Use this glaze to push back some of the areas of the painting. This technique will allow you to edit parts of the composition that will remain most visible to the viewer. The glazes made with opaque paints will begin to hide lower layers. Build these layers up to push parts of your painting further back if necessary.
STEP 9: Draw Into the Glaze Use a mark-making tool to write or draw in the wet glaze.
STEP 10: Bridge the Gap Mix intermediate shades to bridge the gaps between colors in your painting. If you find a harsh line of demarcation, you can mix different tones to soften the line between two colors.
Laying a Good Foundation
MOON BLOOM Mixed media on canvas board, 20 × 16 (51cm × 41cm), Chris Cozen
If you are serious about your art, or ever hope to be, it is important to pay attention to every aspect of art-making, even the mundane. Sure, there are shortcuts and times when you cheat a bit, but those are not the habits we want to encourage. Surface preparation is about as mundane as it gets, yet so essential to what happens later. Time and time again, we have picked up supposedly pre-gessoed canvases and found the surface responding unevenly to our paint applications. You cannot make assumptions. Prepping your substrate is a necessary step in making quality artwork. Many commercial surfaces are prepped by the manufacturer, but react differently when paint is applied. To ensure a consistent, uniform painting surface, always take the steps necessary to prepare your surface. Consistency is important. Don’t risk that your paint does not move on a certain
surface despite it working fine a few paintings ago. Use the appropriate mediums to give yourself the confidence that your paint will always behave as you want it to. We have thrown in a few more interesting possibilities to hold your attention. So letâ€™s get out the gesso.
Acrylic Gesso Acrylic gesso is a modern formulation of a centuries-old substance that is used to prime and prepare surfaces to receive paint. Traditionally, it has always been a thick, opaque white liquid, although there are now black and colored gessoes available. Gesso formulations were originally specialized for use in either rigid applications (board or walls or sculptures) or on flexible substrates, such as canvas. The formulas contained either rabbit skinned glues or gypsum depending on the substrate. Now, most of the manufactured gesso is of an acrylic formulation and doesn’t change according to substrate. It uses a form of calcium carbonate in a flexible latex base. We can safely use one gesso for any surface, rigid or flexible. Gesso is used to seal and protect the surface as well as the painting. Gesso is considered a ground in that it has a bit of tooth and promotes the adhesion of paint to the surface. When applied to a canvas, the gesso seeps into the weave of the fabric and seals it. Additional coats of gesso will smooth out the canvas even more. If your gesso becomes too thick to apply evenly, you can thin it with water up to 25 percent. Consider adding fluid color to your gesso to tint or mix with another textural product, such as Golden’s Coarse Molding Paste or Fiber Paste, to create additional dimension. When sanding acrylic gesso, use a wet sanding method to avoid any gumming of the surface. Using a fine grit sandpaper is usually adequate. For boards with extremely smooth gesso surfaces, consider switching to a Sandable Hard Gesso and follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully.
The Supporting Cast A variety of textured papers and cardboard pieces were first applied to a substrate with gel medium. After two coats of gesso, the surface is completely unified, yet still remains interesting and textural.
Prevent Discoloration Support-induced discoloration occurs when impurities in a substrate leach up through the layers of paint applied and alter the colors on the surface. This largely happens when raw wood surfaces or non-artistgrade particle board supports are utilized without first being sealed. To avoid this problem, it is important to seal these types of surfaces with one or two coats of either polymer medium or GAC 100â€”a specialty polymerâ€”before applying gesso. If you wish to keep the look of raw wood, then add an additional coat of the clear medium and omit the gesso.
Our goal on the next few pages is to show you that this stage of surface preparation is your first opportunity to make a statement on a pristine substrate. Whether you choose to work on paper, canvas, wood or something else, begin making a statement with this effort.
Gesso on Paper BLOOM Mixed Media on Paper, 12 × 12 (30cm × 30cm), Chris Cozen
Gesso on Cradle Board BIRDSONG Mixed media on board, 18 × 18 (46cm × 46cm), Chris Cozen
Gesso on Canvas UNTITLED Mixed media on canvas, 11 × 14 (28cm × 36cm), Julie Prichard
Black and Colored Gesso on Canvas Board UNTITLED Mixed media on canvas Board, 10 × 10 (25cm × 25cm), Chris Cozen
Laying a Good Foundation: Preparing Paper Each substrate requires a slightly different way to prepare it. Since they are porous and absorbent, papers need to be treated with a prep medium. Without preparation, paper will absorb the paint, causing it to dry rapidly or not move around at all if it is not sealed beforehand. Materials Gesso Matte medium Large brush Firm brayer Fine-grit sandpaper
STEP 1: Spread Gesso on Paper Apply one layer of gesso to pre-prepped paper with a large brush. If you are working with raw canvas, you will need to add three coats of gesso. Allow the gesso to dry between layers and use a fine-grit sandpaper to gently sand in between each
layer of gesso to create a smooth surface.
STEP 2: Coat Evenly Use a brayer to evenly coat the substrate. Allow the gesso to dry completely before you apply any paint.
Pencil It In Write on your canvas with pencil before you apply matte medium. The matte medium will seal the writing onto the canvas. This step can also be repeated as you add layers to your painting. If there is a layer or area in your painting that you would like to preserve, use matte medium, then continue forward. Matte medium also allows you to wipe future layers of paint from the surface while they are wet.
Gesso, Paint or Matte Medium Gesso is great to use as a base and prep layer, but the ingredients in gesso prove difficult to work with if the gesso is applied on the upper layers. Use white paint instead. Use matte medium to prep a substrate that you want to remain visible when painting begins. It is fluid, yet mostly transparent. Use a palette knife or brush until your canvas is evenly covered. The matte medium will seal the substrate once dried.
Laying a Good Foundation: Preparing Wood Failure to prep a wood substrate will result in the wood absorbing a lot of paint.
STEP 1: Prepare Wood Panels Sand the edges and surface of your wood panel with fine-grit sandpaper.
STEP 2: Apply Gesso Using a brush, apply an even coat of gesso and allow it to dry completely.
STEP 3: Sand and Repeat Once the gesso is dry, use sand paper to smooth the panel. The sand paper will remove any brushstrokes that remained in the gesso. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until at least three layers of gesso have been applied and sanded on the panel.
STEP 4: Cover the Sides Donâ€™t forget to prep the sides of your canvas or wood panels.
Other Surfaces Hardwood and manufactured wood, such as Masonite, are commonly available. These substrates will also need to be sealed with gesso or matte medium prior to accepting paint. There is variety of pre-prepped boards you can buy, using gesso, clay, water-based, or other sealants.
Laying a Good Foundation: Plan Surface Texture With Collage Use a variety of basic materials to create areas that paint can later accent. Plan where you can add either painted or collaged elements in the finished product. Use these materials to create line, interest and texture. Here, we show how a simple piece of unwaxed deli tissue can add texture to the surface. Materials Gesso, white and black Tissue paper (white or neutral color) Quinacridone/Nickel Azo Gold Other light-weight papers (optional) Brush Palette knife
STEP 1: Apply Gesso
Apply white gesso to the paper where the tissue will go, then use the brush to cover the entire tissue. Allow the tissue to wrinkle and fold. Add another coat of gesso to completely cover the tissue.
STEP 2: Make a Tinted Gesso Tint your prepping agent by adding a single drop of Quinacridone/Nickel Azo Gold to some white gesso. Mix completely, then add this to your substrate. Leave an area of the substrate free so that you can add a different color of gesso in the next step.
STEP 3: Add Black Gesso Black gesso offers the same properties as its white counterpart. It is okay if the gesso overlaps the tinted gesso that we applied earlier. Ensure that the entire panel is covered with either color of gesso.
STEP 4: Use Other Types of Paper Try the same technique using a crumpled piece of tissue or lightweight collage paper. Make sure that gesso is placed under the paper as well as on top of it.
Laying a Good Foundation: Bulk Up With Cardboard Add an urban feel to your artwork by using corrugated cardboard or heavy, textural papers as a structural base layer. You can peel the cardboard thin and use only the bumps, or leave it thick for an even more dramatic texture. Materials Gesso Corrugated cardboard Laid papers and/or heavy cardstock Soft gel medium (or heavy, if needed) Paintbrush or palette knife
STEP 1: Create a Shape Tear or cut cardboard and papers to size and decide where to place them. Leave the bumps in the cardboard exposed. Once they are covered in gesso, they will accept paint very well.
STEP 2: Affix Cardboard and Papers to Substrate Use soft gel medium; or, if your cardboard is heavy, use heavy gel medium. The heavy gel is a denser medium and will attach heavier elements better than soft gel.
STEP 3: Apply Gesso Once the gel medium has dried, coat the artwork with gesso. If more coverage is required, apply two coats of gesso and sand in between each layer, but make sure the cardboard has at least one coat.
MOONLIGHT LOFT Mixed media on canvas, 14 Ă— 14 (36cm Ă— 36cm), Julie Prichard
Structure is an essential component in creating art. Think of it as providing support for your composition, just as when walls are framed in a house or beams are used to support a roof. Structure becomes the framework upon which you hang every other technique. Creating this internal structure when you work will lead you to a stronger and more complex piece of art. The decisions you make at this level force you to consider what your choices are in future levels, and how the choices you make in structure can be manipulated as you move forward. Each technique has great flexibility and can work in combination with any other. Each material or product does as well. We encourage you to choose one or more of the techniques and see how your work is influenced through the addition of structure.
Developing Structure These two paintings have similar elements of line and spatial divisions. Each applies a different approach in developing the underlying structure. In Growing in the Crevice, much of the underlying structure is achieved through an initial application of textural products such as molding pastes and Goldenâ€™s Crackle Paste. Once applied, the textural surfaces become armature for the painted and drawn elements added in subsequent layers, essentially creating a place for the drawings and guiding where the color glazes go. The Search utilizes strong, incised lines to create the structure. The lines are marked into the initial paint layers and then refined and embellished with more paint and text. Since there is no single way to create structure, experiment with the various techniques in this book and use them to explore the possibilities they offer your work.
GROWING IN THE CREVICE
Mixed media on board, 10" × 8" (25cm × 20cm), Chris Cozen
THE SEARCH Mixed media on canvas, 14" × 11" (36cm × 28cm), Julie Prichard
How Structure Works Without structure, your painting will fall flat. It will not have substance, and there will be no meaningful composition or anywhere for the viewer’s eye to travel over the surface. Artists use structure to hold the viewer’s attention on the painting. There are many ways to add structure to a painting. Let’s take a look.
Texture Texture placed strategically on your painting is one of the ways that you can direct the viewer’s eye through your composition. Texture adds interest and depth.
Color Add designs and shapes of color to hold the viewerâ€™s attention. The colored shapes act as the structure in this painting. Notice how the shapes create movement by framing certain areas of the blue color.
Mark Making Take a moment to imagine this painting without any of the lines or writing. The space would be empty and the eye would travel quickly through it. By adding the lines, shapes and text, the artist is able to give more substance to the work and dictate how the eye will travel through it.
Collage Pieces of brightly colored paper were added to the textured areas to convert them from mere shapes to more dynamic spaces within the painting. The papers hold the shapes and provide a quick way to turn them into windows.
Imagery Adding an image to your artwork adds instant structure. With careful placement, the image becomes the focal point of your painting. Notice how the small collaged shapes point to and help frame the moths. They work together to provide structure.
Using Collage as Structure Collage can be any element that is attached to the surface of your painting. It can be paper, fabric, metal or organic matter, such as leaves and petals. Whatever components you select for your artwork, thoughtful placement of each element is key to a well-structured painting. Going Digital A quick search online can yield many results for copyright-free images to use in your artwork. But what about using your own unique elements? Digital scans of your own sketches or handwriting make perfect elements that no one else will use. You can also use your camera to capture shadows and other interesting forms to incorporate into your artwork. Make it your own.
The bold collage in the lower third of this painting provides immediate, powerful structure for the artwork. Untitled Mixed media on canvas, 18" Ă— 18" (46cm Ă— 46cm), Julie Prichard
Adding Structure: Making a Structural Collage Neutral collage elements work great as base structure because there are no bold or dark images to compete with as more layers are added. This makes a great universal background that can be used in almost any situation. Decorative papers may not be the focal point of the composition, but are used to create the forms and spaces upon which to build a composition. Consider how your eye will be later guided by the placements you make at this stage. Materials Soft gel medium Neutral-colored art papers Palette knife Scissors
STEP 1: Select Your Papers
When selecting neutral papers, consider their textural aspects and how these will enhance or detract from your structure. For example, the open-weave paper is architectural, whereas the light green paper is smooth.
STEP 2: Prepare Your Papers Tear or cut your selected papers into various interesting shapes. You will have more pieces than you may need, but it is best to have a number of sizes of each kind. We are fond of long, narrow torn strips and cut triangles, as well as pieces that can be used to create diagonal visual spaces.
STEP 3: Layer the Elements Place the elements on the substrate without gel medium first to get a feel for the placement before you attach them permanently. Make the collage elements frame an area for the main focal point.
STEP 4: Fit the Papers to Substrate Use soft gel medium to attach the papers to your substrate. Make sure you cover the entire back side of each piece. Use the palette knife to scrape off the excess gel while spreading it over the top of each element.
Texture as Structure Different looks can be created within your painting by using texture mediums and varying how you apply them to your art.
Dripping With Texture Layers of drips can create visual texture.
Overlaps Overlapping different products can leave gaps and spaces that can be enhanced with paint. Sometimes itâ€™s good not to be too perfect with your application.
Layer It On Apply a raised stencil pattern, paint it, cover it with cheesecloth and apply more texture.
Spread It With a Palette Knife Vary how you use your palette knife to get interesting effects.
Apply Texture With a Palette Knife Holding your palette knife at different angles will result in interesting variations when using texture mediums. Try this to add interest to your artwork.
45 Degrees Hold your palette knife at a 45-degree angle to the product to create a raised texture similar to cake frosting.
90 Degrees Adjusting the palette knife so that it is almost straight up will allow you to remove portions of the medium to create grooves in the surface.
Parallel Hold the palette knife more parallel to the medium to smooth out the raised areas.
Scrape It Scrape away some of the medium so that the texture is applied in deliberate shapes.
How Products Behave When you first open a new jar of an acrylic product, it is difficult to tell much about what it will be like when it is applied to your work. Acrylic gels and pastes are almost all white when they are wet. Weâ€™ve prepared a quick chart for you that will give you some quick insight into selecting the correct product for various techniques. Remember that you can add color to tint any of the products before they are applied. Just remember to mix your paint into the product very thoroughly until no more white is visible. Products marked as opaque on the chart will dry white on the surface and block underlying areas. Adding color to these products creates a tint of the original paint color. Products marked as transparent will dry clear. Colorizing them will result in a sheerer version of the paint selected, but will be the exact same color. Products marked as translucent will dry slightly hazy or fuzzy. Colorizing them will result in a frosty sheer layer of color that is slightly lighter than the paint. Products marked as absorbent have an additional quality besides their opacity or transparency. These products can be fully rewet after drying to allow wet paint applications to bleed, drip and flow on their surfaces. Products marked as non-absorbent create barriers between layers, preventing future paint layers from seeping into the surface. About Crackle Paste Crackle paste can be used to create beautiful cracks and texture, but it is a temperamental medium. If applied thinly, the cracks are delicate; if applied thickly, the cracks can be much larger and deeper. Give it ample time to dry. Use caution if you are tinting the paste with paint. If you need to tint the crackle paste, use no more than three parts paint to ten parts paste.
*Sanded gels include Acrylic Ground for Pastels, Fine Pumice, and other textural products that when dry have a rough, toothy or gritty surface that can be drawn upon. This chart refers to Golden products. Other brands may yield different results. Find the brand and style that works best for you.
Textural Products Chart
Light Molding Paste
Coarse Molding Paste
Glass Bead Gel
Adding Structure: Playing With Textural Mediums You can enhance your textures without adding too much color by applying a few drops of interference color to the surface. These shimmery paints are created using mica particles and will bounce light off surfaces theyâ€™ve been applied to. You will learn more about these delightful paints in later pages. Materials Fiber Paste Acrylic Ground for Pastels Interference Violet Palette knife Substrate (such as wood)
STEP 1: Apply Fiber Paste Keep the palette knife low to the substrate so the paste is almost smooth and apply few drops of interference paint to add a shimmery effect to the paste.
STEP 2: Spread the Paint Use the palette knife to carefully spread the paint into the paste. Keep the paste smooth.
STEP 3: Add a Second Medium Add Acrylic Ground for Pastels to the substrate. Use a variety of strokes to create an uneven surface.
STEP 4: Carve Shapes Hold the palette knife perpendicular and carve shapes out of the medium. The empty spaces help create structure. Fill with collage or paint once the medium is dry.
Adding Structure: Creating Raised Stencil Patterns Textural products and heavy body acrylic paints create a clearly defined raised edge. Try this for a dimensional texture that really stands out! Materials Stencil Palette knife Textural product Heavy-body acrylic paint Substrate
STEP 1: Apply Textural Product to Stencil Use a palette knife to scoop out a textural product, such as light molding paste. Apply it on the stencil pattern. Hold the knife at an angle and make long, firm strokes in one direction. This will prevent the product from getting under the stencil.
STEP 2: Expose the Pattern While the product is still wet, lift the stencil up and away from the surface. Allow to fully dry before painting.
STEP 3: Mark Off the Pattern A single stencil can be broken down into many individual parts. Identify which parts of the pattern you wish to use and apply product to just those areas. For very small or complex patterns, mask off portions with blue painterâ€™s tape. Use heavy body paint to create this stencil pattern.
STEP 4: Lift Up and Away Lift the stencil to reveal the pattern. The heavy-body paint creates an embossed look without high-defined edges.
Raised stencils were used in two areas on this painting. The first large starburst stencil in the upper left corner was created with Molding Paste. A second stencil was used to apply a series of small dots with a mixture of tinted Glass Bead Gel. VERDIGRIS Mixed media on canvas, 20 Ă— 20 (51cm Ă— 51cm), Chris Cozen
Adding Structure: Layering Stencils By combining color and product variations, you can build endless layers of stencils to add interest and structure to your backgrounds. Try this for a more complex surface treatment. Be sure to balance texture, form, color and scale for a pleasing composition. Materials Canvas or other support 2 different stencils Foam makeup wedge Fluid acrylics Textural product Palette knife Small synthetic angle brush Water Iridescent gold paint
STEP 1: Add a Stencil to a Stencil Position the new stencil over your dried, embossed stencil. With a light pouncing motion, apply fluid acrylics with a foam makeup wedge in desired areas.
STEP 2: Lift Up and Away Lift the stencil and allow paint to dry.
STEP 3: Apply Another Stencil Position the next stencil over the dried painted pattern and apply textural product over the desired portion of the stencil. Lift the stencil up and away.
STEP 4: Clean Up Any Problem Spots Use a small angled brush dipped in water to remove any parts of the stencil pattern that are not desired while itâ€™s still wet. Clean up peaks by lightly tapping them with the wet brush. Allow the stenciled area to dry thoroughly.
STEP 5: Add a Third Layer
Add a layer of clear gel to embed the raised stencil. Highlight some of the raised areas with iridescent gold paint after the clear gel has dried.
Adding Structure Color is a great way to create structure in a composition. Because colors have a powerful visual impact on the viewer, they are an ideal vehicle for defining spaces or establishing structure in a painting. There are a number of techniques for applying color to create either well-defined or subtle structure within your compositions. Experiment with a single technique or combine color techniques to come up with your own unique structure.
Adding Structure: Freestyle Color Blocking This loose color blocking technique encourages you to blend your colors directly on your canvas, pulling the paint into interesting shapes as you go. By continuing to add new colors to the surface, unique color mixes and blends develop where the colors meet. Work quickly and keep your brush moving. Materials Bristle brush Synthetic brush Titan Buff Permanent Violet Dark Cobalt Teal Cerulean Blue Deep Prepped canvas panel or prepped stretched canvas
STEP 1: Start With Titan Buff Use a bristle brush to scrub Titan Buff onto your substrate. Do not allow the paint to dry. Use the same brush to add purple. Allow some of the new paint to mix with the Titan Buff and some to remain pure.
STEP 2: Add a Third Color Mix some of the blue with purple, and some with the Titan Buff. When most of the canvas is covered, switch to the synthetic brush. This will allow you to paint without leaving brushstrokes so you can start to smooth out the paint.
STEP 3: Add a Second Layer Once the base layer of paint is added and somewhat blended, apply more purple to the top of the painting. This will create a darker area that is not as muted as the beginning layers.
STEP 4: Fill With Blue Use blue to block in the remaining area. At this point, all of the paint is still wet and easily blended.
STEP 5: Blend the Blocks Use the synthetic brush to create a smooth, feathery group of colors. Vary the direction of your paint strokes. Step back and observe your painting, but do not stop moving the brush until all of the paint is blended.
Watch Your Opacity Titan Buff paint is an opaque, heavy pigment. It will turn any color it is mixed with into an equally opaque pigment. While it is a good color to use as a base, if you desire bright, clear color in your finished painting, you will need to add a transparent paint back onto the top layers. This will create richness and depth.
Adding Structure: Color Blocking With Tape Use painterâ€™s tape to mask off parts of the painting and to confine your color. Try tearing the tape in half so that the lines made by the tape are not perfect. Materials Painterâ€™s tape Prepared canvas or canvas panel Synthetic brush Stiff bristle brush Acrylic paint
STEP 1: Tape Off the Area
Place painterâ€™s tape onto the substrate. Use your thumb to press the tape into the canvas to prevent the paint from bleeding under the tape.
STEP 2: Paint the Surface Scrub paint into the surface using the bristle brush. Working quickly, mix the paint directly on the substrate.
STEP 3: Add More Paint Colors As new colors are added, allow some to mix with the colors already applied and some to remain pure. This will create subtle color variances throughout.
STEP 4: Cover the Entire Surface Paint up to and over the tape, making sure that all of the areas around it are covered. Once the majority of the piece is covered with paint, switch to a synthetic brush to blend them together.
STEP 5: Remove the Tape It is not necessary to wait until the paint is completely dry before removing the tape. The lines created can be left white or more paint can be added.
Adding Structure: Color Patching Use this quick technique to cover the surface with lively color. Materials Substrate prepared with gesso Titan Buff or Titanium White fluid acrylic Three other compatible fluid colors Bristle brush
STEP 1: Apply Paint to Surface Apply one or two drops of each color in various locations directly onto the surface. Begin scrubbing the paint onto the substrate until the brush is nearly dry. Pick up some of each new color as you move over the piece, working the colors close to each other.
STEP 2: Vary Your Strokes Continue painting until you have worked most of the paint onto the surface in a patchy fashion. Vary your strokes, making some long or short, angled or straight, vertical or horizontal, etc.
STEP 3: Cover the Surface Add more drops of paint if needed and continue scrubbing until the surface is covered. Use the Titan Buff or white to vary the tints of the color you have selected.
STEP 4: Add Darkest Color Add an additional drop of the darkest color selected and work that into the surface in various areas. Allow the surface to dry completely.
Color in Action Examine the way color adds complexity and structure to these paintings. All use color in a unique way.
Drips and Blooms Water media drips, bleeds, drops and blooms were utilized to create an overall background structure. The images were pulled out from the shapes and spaces made by the processes.
Base Layers Heavy layers of acrylic paint were applied to the base of this painting. Once the shapes were defined, glazing was used to reintensify the colors.
Patches and Blocks The color patch technique was used on the base layer to provide a bright and colorful structure to the subsequent layers. Drawing through the upper layers that were applied in color blocks reveals glimpses of the red, yellow and orange patches.
Color-Blocking Lines Color blocking is clearly visible in this composition. The areas created by the lines give support and structure, and guided the placement of the dark and light areas of color that followed.
Adding Structure: Water Media: Drips and Drops Using water with acrylic paint is a nice change to the traditional use of acrylic paint. It is easy to create sheer washes of color, spatters and drips. Allowing water to pool and then dry on your artwork creates a mysterious look that is difficult to create using traditional painting techniques. Materials Watercolor paper or prepped canvas Acrylic paint Synthetic brush Small detail brush Spray bottle of water
STEP 1: Apply Water, Then Paint Apply a line of water liberally to the top of your substrate. Then apply one or two drops of acrylic paint into the water. Use the large brush to gently move the paint through the water.
STEP 2: Break the Tension Break the tension in the water line so that drips will occur. Orchestrate where the drips will fall. Tilt the substrate to allow the paint to run down the surface, or lay the painting flat so the colors pool together.
STEP 3: Bleed the Paint
Spray more water below the drops so that the paint bleeds into it. You can add as much or as little water as you like. Tilt the substrate as needed to allow the water to run.
STEP 4: Add a Second Color Using a small detail brush, add small amounts of a second color into the water. The paints will bleed and mix into each other, creating secondary colors.
STEP 5: Add a Third Color Add another color of paint to the detail brush. Holding the brush in one hand, use the other hand to tap the brush so that drops of paint spatter onto the surface. Try spattering into dry areas as well as areas that are wet with water.
STEP 6: Let Dry Allow it to dry completely. This technique looks as beautiful on a white background as on a painted one.
Expectations and Surprises The serendipity that happens when water meets paint can be riotous or disastrous. Select transparent pigments to create drips, splashes and stains to avoid making mud when the colors bleed into each other. When using acrylics as watermedia, there is no need to worry about rewetting previously dried layers. Acrylic layers are permanent after drying and will retain both their color and placement when new layers are added. Look closely at the surface to discover the many layers of drips underneath. BLOOM Mixed media on cradled board, 8" Ă— 8" (20cm Ă— 20cm), Chris Cozen
Line as Structure Line is like the skeleton of the painting. It holds everything together. When we think of lines, we often think painted or drawn, but lines can be implied by the arrangement of elements within the painting, as well as by colors and the way that they intersect with each other. Line can be added to your artwork in several different ways. They can be subtle, bold, straight or shaky. Line style should complement your style of painting. A favorite technique is to use black ink and a simple stick to make lines. The action of the ink flowing off the stick creates variation in width. The imperfection in this kind of line creates energy and interest. Lines can also be carved into wet paint. With variation of the line depth, you can create a mysterious flow that the viewer will study while looking at your painting. Use line to direct the eye to the focal point in your painting.
EMERGING Mixed media on canvas, 24" × 24" (61cm × 61cm), Chris Cozen
EVOKE EMOTION AND MOOD When line is introduced into a composition, the dynamics change. Artists use line as a way to influence the way the viewer’s eye travels through the painting. Sometimes subtle, lines act as a road map and can determine if someone looks at your painting for a brief second or if the eye lingers for several moments. Lines can evoke emotion or convey a mood; they can be ominous or whimsical, seriously strong or playfully light. Line can also play a supporting role to more important elements. It can encompass, point to or create a place to add another detail. Applying line to your composition is a way for you to express your intention. Line has a voice. A horizontal line conveys calmness and quiet, while a vertical line is more alert and active. A strong diagonal line can be construed as tense, while a zigzag line suggests lively and energetic movement. Lines can be perfectly formed or not; they can be fluid and curvy with a sense of melody. Thin lines can covey fragility and delicacy. Thick lines are strong and demanding. We want you to be aware of your line-making possibilities.
Drawing the Eye With Lines Although many of the lines are vertically placed, the majority of them have a curve or softness. The vertical lines draw the eye upward on the left to the white area, which is repeated within a set of softly curved lines on the lower right. Quietness is conveyed in the inexact line formation and the softened forms of this composition. CALLA CALLS Acrylic on board, 12" Ă— 12" (30cm Ă— 30cm), Chris Cozen
Curving Lines The slightly curving vertical lines in this composition draw the viewer’s eye upward. There is an active element in the repeating stripes that builds from one structure to the next. The addition of the horizontal line in the upper part balances the composition. Combined with the quiet palette of colors, the lines work to engage the viewer. WE HAVE PARIS Acrylic on canvas, 14" × 11" (36cm × 28cm), Julie Prichard
Adding Structure: Incised, But Not Precise Carved and incised lines bring a raw and textural quality to your work. Using a heavy-body product will give your lines greater depth and presence. Each product will create a different kind of line, even when using the same tool. Before actually beginning to carve, try a bit of line doodling on paper to see if you can capture the mood you wish to convey. Materials Substrate, already prepped and painted as desired Suggested products: coarse molding paste, light molding paste, fiber paste, gel and coarse pumice Palette knife Carving tools, such as combs, chopsticks, etc.
STEP 1: Apply Textural Products Use a flat-blade palette knife to spread product on the areas of your substrate you want textured. Aim for an application of product that is about 1â „8" (3mm) or less deep. By keeping the blade fairly level to the surface, you will get a level coat. If you prefer a rougher look, apply the product with choppy, randomly placed strokes. When you are applying more than one product to the surface, there is no need to keep them separate.
STEP 2: Make Some Marks While the product is still wet, drag your tool through the surface, revealing the painted undercoat. Keep your eyes open for unexpected mark-making tools. This tool, found in hardware stores, can be used to make multiple fine lines.
STEP 3: Use a Clay Tool Use a variety of tools on the surface to create more lines. A penlike tool made for carving into clay is also ideal for making fine lines and drawing and writing into wet product.
STEP 4: Add Water Allow the applied products to dry completely. Select products that like to play with water, such as light molding, coarse molding and fiber paste. Their properties will allow you to add another layer of color. To make the dried surface ready to accept the wet paint, lightly spray with water.
STEP 5: Let the Paint Bleed Use a wet brush to pick up a bit of fluid paint and touch it lightly to the surface of the lined area. Let the paint bleed into the product. Note how the color softens as it spreads farther out.
The paint tends to follow the line, pooling in the depressions. Another option: Tilt your board so the wet paint will run into the lined areas.
STEP 6: Select Another Color Load your wet brush and apply it to another textural area on the substrate. As the colors spread, they will eventually intersect each other and create a fascinating blend. Apply a bit of strong color into the deep lines. Once this surface has dried completely, you can re-wet it and add additional colors without disturbing what you have already applied.
STEP 7: Leave It to Bleed Give the paint a chance to bleed. The areas with the lines have collected pools of paint, which really shows them off. Make Easy Corrections to Wet Products If you make a mistake with one of your lines, donâ€™t worry! A quick swipe with a damp palette knife over the line and it will disappear. You will generally have at least twenty minutes of working time before these heavier products start to become difficult to carve into.
Image as Structure Structure is a base from which art can grow. Applying different images throughout your painting will create mood and set the tone for the rest of the elements. Structure and linework hand-in-hand in the composition of your artwork.
MAXIMIZING TRANSPARENT IMAGES Until now, we have been focusing on images that call our attention to a specific area of the composition as we build the structure. Transparent images, whether they are applied through transfer processes, collaged applications of transparency film, or as sheer printed papers, can also lend nuance and strength to the structure of your compositions when applied at base layers. Use transparent layers of text or subtle imagery to fill in or shadow specific areas and to provide directionality and movement to create spaces. Create transfers directly into fluid paint, coarse molding paste or even glass bead gel. The process is identical, but the differing outcomes are amazing!
This painting uses layers of images to create the structure. Image transfers were applied at the beginning of the painting and also at the end. The images complement each other. Over a base of neutral images—which will blend into the background without competing for attention with the other images—more vibrant imagery (in this case, the butterflies) was applied to the top layer. FADING MEMORY Mixed media on canvas, 16 × 20 (41cm × 51cm), Julie Prichard
Painting Over Transparent Images This composition started as a demo in a class and was a bit of an experiment. I applied opaque textured mediums and a couple of text transfers from old book pages directly onto the surface. Instead of painting the board before the transfers, all the paint was added after the texture mediums and transfers were completed. The absorbent qualities of the mediums allowed for the addition of watery layers of sheer color without obscuring the text that was transferred. Although transfers done on opaque mediums do not allow you to see through to the underlying layers, these mediums provide distinct and interesting surfaces for creating transfers. SATURATED Mixed media on board, 20" × 16" (51cm × 41cm), Chris Cozen
Seeing the Layers All of the transfers on this piece were done with a clear gel so the lower layers could still be seen through the transfers. Original transfers of ornate gothic spires were applied on a painted board and were the inspiration for some of the shapes that were added later. The placement of the transfers also influenced shaded and painted areas as the composition progressed. GONE AWRY Mixed media on board, 20" Ă— 16" (51cm Ă— 41cm), Chris Cozen
Integrating Collage Transfers Transfers can be utilized to integrate collaged elements into a composition. Images can be transferred directly over previously applied collage elements. The transfer process gives you control over image placement, size and visibility. Since transfers are always done with copies of originals or copyright-free images, repeating forms and images is always an option. Remember that if you want transfered text to be readable, you must flip the image in the copier or scanner before printing!
Adding Structure: Move That Image! In just a few steps, you can place an image wherever you want. Transfers provide a seamless transition between image and surface. The very best results are obtained when you use toner or laser copies. Transfers should be applied to properly prepped surfaces. Using soft gel medium in a gloss formulation will allow the maximum amount of visibility for the image/text you wish to transfer. Matte mediums and gels will dry with a slightly cloudy film. Consecutive layers of matte products will build up a hazy surface without clarity. Materials Prepared substrate Toner or laser copy of image of choice Soft gel medium (gloss) Palette knife Spray water bottle Cloth or baby wipes Terry cloth towel
STEP 1: Decide Your Placement
Trim your image to within 1â „4 (6mm) to 1â „2 (12mm) inch of the edge. Check the placement of the transfer to make sure you are happy with it.
STEP 2: Apply Soft Gel Medium Spread an even coat of soft gel medium with a palette knife all over the surface to be covered by the image.
STEP 3: Apply the Transfer Image Use the tips of your fingers to smooth the image into the gel medium. Work outward from the center of the image out to push out any bubbles. A clean, flat-blade palette knife can be used as well.
STEP 4: Clean Up Excess Medium Use a damp cloth to clean up any medium that may have oozed out from under the image. Be sure that none of the gel medium dries on the back of the paper. Only areas of the image that are in direct contact with the wet medium will transfer.
STEP 5: Let It Dry The reversed image can be seen faintly through the paper. This is a good sign that the transfer will be successful. Always try to leave yourself a little paper edge to grab onto when it is time to remove the paper.
STEP 6: Remove Excess Paper
When the medium is completely dry, pull off any paper you can manage to remove.
STEP 7: Rub Off the Remaining Paper Spray the remaining paper with clean water and rub gently into the surface until it starts to lift off. Keep wetting and rubbing until all the pulp has been removed. A terry cloth towel is helpful in removing the last bits of pulp.
Julie Builds With Collage Preferring a more gridlike approach rather than a free-flowing painting, Julie begins to prepare the underlying structure with some basic collage elements. Follow along with each step. Materials 18" Ă— 18" (46cm Ă— 46cm) canvas Gesso (black and white) Old papers Soft gel medium Anthraquinone Blue, Cerulean Blue Deep, Cobalt Turquois, Diarylide Yellow, Hansa Yellow Medium, Sap Green Hue, Titan Buff, Titanium White, Turquoise (Phthalo) Water Mark-making tools
STEP 1: Start With Gesso and Some Pages Prepare a canvas with white and black gesso. Only parts of the canvas should be prepped with black. The contrast will allow upper layers of paint to react differently with the base layers. Cut basic shapes from vintage papers. Arrange the pages so they frame the area of the canvas on the upper right. If a prominent focal element is added to the painting, this is an ideal location.
STEP 2: Block It In Scrub base layers of acrylic paint into the canvas. Before each layer dries, allow it to blend into the previous colors so that you do not have harsh lines of demarcation. Use heavy-body paint and what youâ€™ve learned about freestyle color blocking around the collage elements. Apply drips and drops. These accents will be subtle but they will provide depth because they will be slightly visible in the end result. Carve lines and scratches into the wet paint. Take caution so the collage elements are not covered up.
STEP 3: Add Image Transfers Add neutral image transfers. Transfers that feature a lot of light areas will allow for lower layers to remain visible. Notice the intricacies of the layered transfers. Youâ€™ll be able to see the book page text showing through the gate in the lower center of the painting and in the upper left-hand corner once youâ€™ve rubbed off all the paper. Let the painting dry.
STEP 4: Continue Color Blocking Continue color blocking so the colors become richer. Apply paint with caution until you decide which images will be covered and which will remain visible. Throughout the color applications, scratch into the wet paint to reveal what was applied underneath. Mix colors using Diarylide Yellow, Hansa Yellow Medium, Turquoise (Phthalo), Anthraquinone Blue, Titanium White and Titan Buff. In this style of painting, it is not necessary to mix the exact palette every time. Subtle color variations are desired. Transfer Tip Repeat the transfer theme throughout the painting. Each transfer should be complementary of the others to allow for a cohesive painting.
STEP 5: Build Sophistication Apply additional tones of the same paint colors to calm the surface and blend the paint. Carve more scratches into the wet paint. Add paint to the image and collage areas. While the paint is wet, use a rag or paper towel to remove and expose the layers beneath. This will allow you to tint some of the collage instead of cover it completely. Rich, Even Coverage Layering acrylic paint is what makes a dull painting become a rich one. Even though the canvas is covered, study how each layer reacts with the previous layer. There is no set number of layers needed; shoot for rich, even coverage. As you add layers, be sure to add marks to expose some of the previous layers. Show those layers off!
STEP 6: Grunge It Up At this stage, begin to apply paint in a more intentional manner. Block a horizontal green line onto the painting. Place colors to accent the line and make the areas take shape. Add layers of color and take care not to make the addition too precise, so that the previous layers remain visible. Add some white highlights. Carve playful circles into the wet paint. While this layer is still wet, use a damp brush over the circles to fade them into the background. Hold the brush flat to the canvas to make the circles seem not as harsh as when they are freshly applied, which adds to the grungy, worn look of this painting.
Chris Develops Layers of Texture Chris starts with a canvas prepped in textured papers, collage, and stencils. An overall soft blue stain is the building block for the rest of the developing color story. Materials 20" Ă— 20" (51cm Ă— 51cm) canvas Gesso Gel mediums Large pattern stencil Molding paste Textured papers Manganese Blue Hue, Quinacridone Magenta, Permanent Violet Dark, Naples Yellow Hue, Transparent Pyrrole Orange; Quinacridone Red, Titan Buff, Titanium White Spray bottle with water Palette knife Brush Paper towel Deli-wrap paper Hand-carved stamp Acrylic Glazing Liquid Watercolor Skin
STEP 1: Prepare the Canvas Surface Use Soft Gel Matte to apply various textural papers to the surface. Consider where you place your elements, as this will affect the total composition. Include crumpled papers and thick elements, such as corrugated cardboard, for increased surface texture. Be sure to seal these papers with matte medium before adding the gesso layer to prevent any future discoloration from non-archival papers.
STEP 2: Gesso Apply two coats of white gesso to the entire surface of the canvas.
STEP 3: Stencil a Pattern Using molding paste, apply a large, radial stencil pattern to the upper left and lower right sides of the canvas. Use only part of the stencil pattern and leave adequate open space to continue building the composition. When dry, the stencil pattern will be raised above the canvas about 1â „ " (3mm) deep. Allow to dry thoroughly before moving on. 8
STEP 4: Stain the Surface Mix three drops of Manganese Blue Hue (or a similar color) with a teaspoon of water and stir until mixed. Brush this mixture onto the entire surface of the canvas. Wait about a minute, then brush again. Wipe off the excess paint or water with a rag. Your surface should appear mottled and lightly colored. If it is too dark, spray a bit more water and remove some color.
STEP 5: Enhance the Structure With Color Washes Add additional color washes consisting of Quinacridone Magenta and Permanent Violet Dark. Spray the surface of the canvas with water. Pick up the fluid color with a wet, loose brush and draw over the surface. Repeat this with both colors and allow them to flow and mingle together. Soften some of the color by mopping up excess water with a paper towel.
Keep Layers Clean By allowing each layer of color to dry thoroughly in between applications, the layers stay clean and do not run together. Notice how the original blue color remains blue, while the two colors that were applied together ran together.
STEP 6: Level a Stencil Using a palette knife, create a level surface around the raised stencil by applying matte heavy gel over the area. Since gel mediums shrink when they dry, two coats may be necessary to create a level surface.
STEP 7: Mix Some Colors Select two areas to add additional color using the color patch technique. By separating the two blocks of color, the composition begins to develop additional texture through color. Mix these fluid colors to achieve the range shown here: Naples Yellow Hue, Quinacridone Red, Transparent Pyrrole Orange and Titan Buff. The patches are small by intention to allow for the greatest variation in color.
For a Mottled Look Rapid mixing yields better results if your colors are not completely mixed together. Pour out a few drops of each color you want to use, and dip your brush first into one color and then the next. The mixing will occur as you put the paint down on the surface, creating a mottled blend of the two colors.
STEP 8: Tone Down the Surface Rapidly mix Titan Buff and Naples Yellow Hue directly onto the surface. Work loosely around a few bright areas, which can be used at a later phase. Use this layer to tone down the previous color block section, pushing much of the area to a lower layer visually so it will meld well with the previously leveled stencil.
STEP 9: Add Linear Structure Use the drip technique with Transparent Pyrrole Orange, Quinacridone Magenta and Permanent Violet Dark. Add the paint at the top edge and then scrape down with a palette knife. Spray water over the wet paint to encourage dripping. Wipe some drips away to open up the center of the painting and keep the linear element over on the right side.
Recognizing When to Stop There is always the chance that youâ€™ll get through this or a later stage of the process and feel that the painting is done. That is a good thing. Whenever you reach the point where the painting is working for you, stop and wait. Let yourself step away. It is important to begin to foster an understanding within yourself as to where your sensibilities lie. There are no hard-and-fast rules for mixed-media paintings. Whenever you feel like your painting is calling for you to be done, then you are done. Sometimes a painting just comes together without an excess of layers; other times it calls for more and more. There will also be times when the painting that felt done six months ago calls to you to say â€œput me back on the easel.â€? Time and practice will help you develop awareness and refine your artistic sensibilities. Learn to listen to your internal voice when it comes to your art. Working with acrylics allows you such great flexibility.
UNTITLED Mixed media on canvas, 14" × 11" (28cm × 36cm), Julie Prichard
CELEBRATION Mixed media on board, 14 Ă— 11 (36cm Ă— 28cm), Chris Cozen
If you train yourself to look closely at the world, you will be able to glimpse the complexity that is inherent in everything around you. There are innumerable intricacies of form, nuances of color and shading, and aspects of line to be found on a walk through a garden or down an urban street. Learn to observe carefully at walls, cracks, shadows and corners. Seek out the details. Whether you are looking at a prize-winning orchid or a common dandelion, you will find complex shapes and colors. These next pages will provide you with techniques that add complexity to your compositions, teach you how to develop nuance through color applications, manipulate and position images freely, create shading and depth, concoct special effect glazes and more. Our goal is to help you create mixed-media compositions that are visually compelling and exciting.
Developing Complexity: You Can Draw This simple tracing technique is a great way to add some drawn images to your paintings, even if you think you canâ€™t draw. Materials Deli-wrap or tracing paper Pencil Prepared artwork Gel medium Acrylic paint Small detail brush
STEP 1: Trace Your Image Use pencil and a piece of non-waxed deli-wrap paper (or tracing paper) to trace your image. Carefully tear out the image. Torn edges will blend into the painting easier than the straight lines created by using scissors. Allow about 1â „4" (6mm) of border around the entire image.
STEP 2: Determine Placement Have a painted canvas ready for you to work with. Once you have your images ready, experiment with their placement before affixing them with gel medium. Anchor small, separate images by connecting them to any edge of the substrate or to a grounded line or painted element. Floating images are not visually appealing unless they are part of the storyline of the composition, or naturally found in the air.
STEP 3: Blend the Drawings Into the Background Mix a paint color that blends into the painted background. Using a small angular brush, paint over the deli-wrap paper with the background color until you reach the lines of the drawing so the paper edges disappear into the canvas. Variation: Print purchased or hand-cut stamps onto deli-wrap and use them in the same way.
STEP 4: Paint the Images Use a small brush to paint the inside of your images. Once the images are painted, it will be difficult to see the deli-wrap paper and your friends will be impressed with your new drawing skills.
Marking the Surface The pencil and mark-making details added to this surface increase its complexity. Whether you draw realistically, scribble or make interesting abstract shapes, each additional layer begs for the viewer to pay more attention to your work. THE BEACH Acrylic on wood, 24 Ă— 18 (61cm Ă— 46cm), Julie Prichard
Developing Complexity: Abstract Monoprinting This is a surefire way to add abstract blocks of color to your paintings in a way that does not look forced or contrived. The look will always be unique and â€œworn.â€? Materials Painted substrate ready for more layers Heavy-body acrylic paints Deli-wrap paper or any other disposable paper for transferring Synthetic paintbrush Acrylic Glazing Liquid
STEP 1: Paint the Base Layer Begin with a rusty brown color combination. Remember that these colors will be visible through the layers applied later.
STEP 2: Paint the Deli Wrap Choose a color combination that will calm the painted background and provide contrast between the two colors, which will allow the bottom layer to show through. Apply the new paint color haphazardly to the deli-wrap paper.
STEP 3: Print on the Substrate Press the painted deli-wrap paper onto the painted substrate. Work quickly so that the paint remains as wet as possible. Apply pressure to some areas of the deli wrap. Lift up the deliwrap to expose the new paint layer.
STEP 4: Blend Some Lines Use a synthetic brush and some Acrylic Glazing Liquid to smooth out some of the lines in the new paint layer. This will create more lift as the process is repeated.
STEP 5: Repeat the Process Apply paint to the deli wrap and press it onto the substrate a few times until the desired look is achieved. As more paint is deposited in combination with the glazing liquid, larger pits of paint will be removed with each lift.
Deposits and Pulls This painting featured several deli-wrap deposits and pulls. Layers and layers of paint have been added to create this rich and complex painting. Deli-wrap pulls and transfers allow for the creation and placement of abstract shapes without allowing the shapes to look like they were force-painted onto the artwork. UNTITLED Acrylic on wood, 24" Ă— 18" (61cm Ă— 46cm), Julie Prichard
Complexity: Painted Lines, Blocks and Design This masking technique is a favorite because of the ability to work and rework areas of the canvas until the desired complexity is achieved. We prefer acrylic paint with an extended drying time for this process. Youâ€™ll see why. Materials Prepared painted surface Acrylic Glazing Liquid Deli-wrap paper Synthetic flat brush Golden OPEN paint
STEP 1: Apply Acrylic Glazing Liquid Continuing on with the surface created during the abstract monoprinting demonstration, apply Acrylic Glazing Liquid generously to the right side of the substrate. This medium will hold a mask in place, and it will easily lift off of the painting without disturbing the paint underneath.
STEP 2: Place the Deli-Wrap Paper Press the paper down onto the freshly applied glazing liquid. Use your fingers to gently smooth it into place. If there are air bubbles under the deli wrap, apply additional glazing liquid under it and start again. The deli wrap should be firmly in place; it should not lift or move side to side. No glazing liquid should ooze out the side.
STEP 3: Add a Contrasting Color Use a synthetic flat brush to paint a contrasting color next to and on top of the deli wrap. Ensure the paint travels to the edge of the deli wrap so that a crisp edge will be created once the deli wrap is removed.
STEP 4: Remove and Repeat
Lift the deli wrap to reveal the new crisp line. Layer deli wrap and get creative with the number of pieces you utilize at one time to create intricate abstract designs.
After using abstract monoprinting to create this rich background, I used a masking technique to add complexity. I took the painting several steps further by adding shadowing to the masked lines to make them a stand-out. How many of the techniques shown in this book can you find in this painting? UNTITLED Acrylic on canvas, 14 × 14 (36cm × 36cm) •Julie Prichard
Adding Texture with Sheer Collage Elements Carefully selected collage elements can add a sense of mystery or a glimpse of surprise to your compositions. Collage can be mundane or it can be intriguing. There is so much more to collage than cut-out pictures or torn text pages. Collage elements can be one-of-a-kind painted skins, hand-drawn images or even your own photographs. When you elevate your collage choices, you add complexity to your work.
The collage elements added to this painting not only create interest, they also anchor the composition. The metallic acrylic skins and mesh draw the viewer’s eye to the lighthouse, which is the main focal point of the art. UNTITLED Acrylic on canvas, 14 × 11 (36cm × 28cm), Julie Prichard
Add Complexity With Collage Fibers and cheesecloth have been added to this composition to enrich and enliven the surface. These unique collage elements add depth and texture without visually crowding the space. IN RUINS Collage and mixed media on paper, 9" Ă— 12" (23cm Ă— 30cm), Chris Cozen
Developing Complexity: Paint Your Own Cheesecloth
STEP 1: Wet the Cheesecloth Cut and separate pieces of cheesecloth and dip into water. Remove and squeeze out the excess water.
STEP 2: Apply Your Colors Dip a large brush in water and pick up some paint. Dab the paint in various places. If using a second color, repeat the process, overlapping the first color. Colors will blend when applied to wet cheesecloth.
STEP 3: Finish the Cloth Work the wet paint throughout the cheesecloth with your fingers. Open up the cloth and let it air dry. Less paint and more water will provide subtle colors. The color is permanent when dry.
Complex Textures and Colors The addition of open-weave fabric, cheesecloth and filigree-cut papers to this highly textured background provided a perfect setting for glazing and staining. All the nooks and crannies created by the imperfect surface allowed for great variations in color and shading. Transfers of personal ephemera were added at both the middle and final levels of the process.
AGAINST ALL ODDS Mixed media on panel, 14"× 11" (36cm × 28cm), Chris Cozen
Developing Complexity: Create a Paint Skin It takes time to make an acrylic skin. Set aside a day or two to make several and store them on their palette paper for when your artwork calls for an embellishment. No two skins will look alike! Materials Disposable palette pad Fluid acrylic colors of choice Palette knife or brush Spray bottle with water Acrylic gel that dries completely clear such as self-leveling clear gel, clear tar gel, or soft gel (gloss) Rubbing alcohol
STEP 1: Apply Color Apply a few drops of Transparent Pyrrole Orange and Indian Yellow Hue fluid colors to the palette paper. Spray the colors with water to loosen them up.
STEP 2: Spread the Paint Use the palette knife to move the paint around. Spray the surface one more time, then allow the paint to dry thoroughly on the palette paper.
STEP 3: Cover With Medium Pour or spread clear medium over the dried paint surface, covering it completely.
If you are using soft gel, you will need to apply at least two or three coats, allowing each to dry in between.
STEP 4: Let Dry Allow the surface to dry until the product turns from white to completely clear. Thicker layers will take a longer time. If air bubbles develop in the medium, a gentle mist of rubbing alcohol will take care of the problem.
STEP 5: Remove Skin Separate the dried skin from the paper palette by breaking the seal at the edge. Peel away the skin to use. Keep the palette paper to store the skin.
STEP 6: Use in a Painting These skins are beautiful used whole or cut up in parts. They can change the color direction of a composition.
Incorporating Pattern With Stencils Pattern can add interest and excitement to shapes and spaces within a composition. One thing that is great fun is to cover an entire canvas with bright, colorful stenciled and drawn patterns, then utilize calming glazes to pull out fun shapes separating them from the riotous background with a quieter color.
VISION 1971 Mixed media art journal page, 7" Ă— 10" (18cm Ă— 25cm), Julie Prichard
UP FROM THE EARTH Acrylic on canvas, 20" × 20" (51cm × 51cm), Chris Cozen
ACROSS THE FIELD Mixed media on canvas, 12" × 12" (30cm × 30cm), Chris Cozen
MANIC Mixed media art journal page, 7" × 10" (18cm × 25cm), Julie Prichard
Glazing for Color Correction You may find times when color needs correcting or a shape needs emphasis. You may decide that the yellow you have chosen is just not strong enough and it needs to be more orange, or even red. Using glazes in your artwork can allow you to create these subtle or dramatic shifts of color without having to start all over. The beauty of using sheer glazes is that you can apply one layer or 50 layers, without building up a bulky surface. Your underlying surface can be pushed back or brought forward, warmed up or cooled down. Glazes can be gritty, metallic or opalescent. Glazes make a painting look finished while adding complexity to your palette.
IT’S COMPLICATED Mixed media on canvas, 24" × 24" (61cm × 61cm), Julie Prichard
Developing Complexity: Adding a Layer of Calm Mixing and applying glazes can quickly modify the color and temperament of your compositions. A calming glaze is useful for pushing back certain areas of the surface so that shapes and images can be pulled from the background and emphasized. In general, a calming glaze is semi-transparent, which allows the underlying color to influence, but not dominate, the final color. Materials Acrylic Glazing Liquid Cerulean Blue Deep, Hansa Yellow Medium, Manganese Blue Hue, Paynes Gray, Titanium White (or Titan Buff) Small synthetic angular brush Pencil
STEP 1: Create a Guide Lightly pencil in any areas you wish to keep visible. This will provide a guide for you as you apply the glaze. There are a couple of areas that look as if birds are flying.
STEP 2: Choose Your Colors Mix a tiny bit of the lightest blue with Titanium White and then mix in the glazing liquid. Work with small amounts of color, as the glazing liquid will allow you to work with the mixture for a longer time. It is important to use a slightly damp brush and no extra water for this process.
STEP 3: Apply the Glaze Paint the glaze along and around your pencil lines to push back the background and allow the selected areas to come forward. The first coat will be quite sheer and will dry with a hazy finish. Mix additional glaze as needed, to cover the areas that will become the background. Apply different-colored calming glazes to various areas on the surface, if desired.
STEP 4: Add Additional Layers
Once the first layer of glaze is dry, add an additional layer in Hansa Yellow Medium to the blues to create a green. Mix with the Titanium White and glazing liquid to create an additional calming glaze. The second coat will start to push the original oranges and pinks to the back. It is up to you how much or how little of the background color will remain visible.
Developing Complexity: Shading for Shadow, Volume and Depth Figuring out how to create shadows and volume can be tricky. A simple shading glaze can do wonders for giving the illusion of volume and depth in your compositions. Our favorite color for this glaze is Paynes Gray, which is a dark blue-gray with transparent qualities.
STEP 1: Create Semi-Sheer Mix Mix Paynes Gray with the Acrylic Glazing Liquid to create a semi-sheer mixture. The glazing liquid cuts the pigment load and allows the glaze to be moved and removed easily. Work a tiny bit of the glaze into a slightly damp angular brush and apply to the bottom edge of the shape you wish to shadow.
STEP 2: Soften the Line Use a clean, dry brush to soften the line of painted shadow glaze. Use a downward pulling motion to create a natural transition between the dark and the light.
STEP 3: Add Darker Layers Continue adding darker glazes to your composition until you achieve the volume you desire. When you select colors to create volume within a shape, look for similar, darker colors that have sheer pigment qualities. The glazing liquid will provide additional sheerness and allow you to control how much of the underlying color remains visible.
Itâ€™s all in a Glaze: Grit, Grime, Rust and Patina Sometimes painted surfaces need a bit of character. Glazes are the perfect way to achieve the patina of age, the grime of time or the rust of neglect. These simple-to-mix acrylic glazes, some of our favorites, can be applied to an entire surface or just small areas for a touch of interest. The trick is in the ratio of colors in each mixture.
Developing Complexity: Mixing Your Aging Glaze The recipes we have provided are only a guideline for you to get started in making aging glazes. Experiment with your own color choices to see what aging formulas you can come up with. Materials Palette knife Glaze formula color choices Water Acrylic Glazing Liquid Spray bottle
STEP 1: Choose a Glaze Use the glaze formula chart to determine your formula and mix the drops of paint together. Apply the glaze to your paper with a brush or palette knife.
STEP 2: Release the Pigment Spritz with water to release the pigment from the binder. Encourage the spread of the pigment into the areas where the water goes by pushing the paint across the paper with the palette knife.
STEP 3: Mix With Acrylic Glazing Liquid For an even more sheer application of glaze, mix the formulaâ€”without waterâ€”into some Acrylic Glazing Liquid and apply with a brush. In this application, the pigment particles stay close on the surface, held together by the glazing liquid.
Julie Develops Complexity: Fine Tuning With Color In the final stages of the painting, more specific color choices are made because they will be sitting on the upper layers. In the earlier stages, much of the layers were obscured, but they are needed so that they will influence the upper levels of paint.
STEP 1: Work on the Rectangle Determine a final composition. Itâ€™s important to know that if you decide to take the painting in a different direction from your initial idea, you can. Focus on the rectangle on the left side of the painting and add Cerulean Blue Deep to the shape to make it more pronounced. Using a glaze created using Cerulean Blue Deep and Acrylic Glazing Liquid, slightly darken the edges of the
painting to give it an aged appearance. The darkened edge makes the painting look like it has been handled over time.
STEP 2: Tone Down the Right Add light blue paint to the right to tone down the area so the window will remain the focal area. Add bright green paint to the upper edges so that framing is implied, and to tie the upper portion of the painting to the lower portion. Brush the remaining blue areas with light glazes to smooth the strokes and calm them down. Visibility Through the Layers Glazing is the perfect tool because it allows you to adjust the depth and dimension in your painting while still allowing the lower layers to be visible.
STEP 3: Add Green Add green paint to the base of the window rectangle. Use green paint as a glaze in the lower portion of the painting. Since the glaze is a sheer paint color, much of the blue paint and strokes created are still visible through the glazing.
Give the painting more of a garden feeling by adding green paint to the base of the window rectangle.
Chris Develops Complexity in Her Painting So far the process has been focused on developing the structure of the composition. Textures, layers of stencils and adjustments of color have brought us to a point where the painting begins to come alive. Itâ€™s time for more color layers.
STEP 1: Glaze It Add a calming glaze comprised of Acrylic Glazing Liquid, Titan Buff and Naples Yellow Hue over the area directly under the upper pinwheel stencil pattern and around the color areas that were previously isolated. Flower shapes begin to emerge. Repeat this for the upper right and bottom left. The stencil pattern receives a broad swipe of Permanent Violet Dark Glaze. Drips of Quinacridone Red and Transparent Pyrrole Orange are added to the upper right developing
the linear element that was established by the original placement of the collage elements and supported by the two color patch areas added earlier. Glazes Unify The addition of these two glazes brings cohesion to the surface, which really allows the shapes to take prominence.
STEP 2: Stamp Your Design Use hand-carved stamp blocks to create multiples of a specific collage element. Use a brayer to ink the blocks with OPEN acrylics and stamp them onto deli-wrap paper or archival tissue. Cut them out and experiment with placing them onto the surface. When a pleasing arrangement has been found, apply the cutouts to the surface using soft gel. Use black OPEN acrylic for the image to make the floral images pop off the surface. STEP 3: Add Petals
Create a watercolor paint skin using Permanent Violet Dark, Quinacridone Magenta and Quinacridone Red. Cut the skin into petal shapes and add to the painted shapes. Apply the skin cutouts to the surface with regular gel gloss.
STEP 4: Start Shading Add shading glazes under and around a number of the floral shapes to further define them and provide some depth to the surface. Mix Paynes Gray and Dioxazine Purple with Acrylic Glazing Liquid for this shading glaze. Tip Apply the shading glaze with one brush and use a second dry brush to soften the glazed area for a natural shadow.
STEP 5: Develop Contrast and Dimension Continue adding various glazes. Mix Titanium White with Acrylic Glazing Liquid to create a lightening glaze. Apply this glaze to several areas to increase contrast between the flowers and the background. Mask a few areas with a leaf shape before applying the lightening glaze. When you remove the mask, the shape of the leaf is outlined by the lighter color. Apply sheer color glazes to the deli-wrap cutouts to integrate them into the overall composition.
Finessing the Details
TAKE A LEAP Mixed media on canvas, 18 × 18 (46cm × 46cm), Chris Cozen
With all these techniques in play, there comes a time when we need to step back and assess our work. This pause before moving on to the final details allows us to breathe and take in what is happening. It’s important for artists at every level to develop an ability to critique what they have done. Here are a few questions that will help you in the process: • Have I placed the emphasis correctly? • Does my eye travel about the composition to the places I want to be seen? • Does any area need more color or definition? • Should a shape be further outlined or defined?
â€˘ Has the composition become too busy? â€˘ Is there something missing from the composition? These questions will provide direction for the final details. This is your opportunity to correct and refine your composition. These last few pages offer you a few of our favorite detail techniques.
Sometimes, the subtle details in a painting really bring the artwork to life! Here is a list of our favorite finishing touches. See if you can spot them throughout this book, and think about how you can add them into your own paintings. Rubber stamps. Rubber stamps are a great way to add uniform details. Mix a drop or two of OPEN Acrylic Medium into your fluid acrylics and apply a fine, thin layer of paint to your palette with a brush. Stamp into the paint and then onto your project. Or, stamp directly onto your project with a clean stamp to remove some of the paint. This works great with heavy-body acrylics or when Acrylic Glazing Liquid has been used. India ink. India ink allows you to apply solid black lines to your painting. Because of the viscosity of the ink, you can create uneven, imperfect lines with great ease. Ensure that the ink you choose is waterproof or acrylic-based so that it will not smear if additional watermedia is added to your painting at a later time. Quill pens and sticks. A quill pen is nice if you would like to add handwritten ink to your artwork. Various-sized tips are available for a relatively low cost. Costing even less, a stick
from your garden makes a great implement to use with ink. As the ink flows off of the stick, it creates an interesting, uneven line. Pastels and pencils. Pastels can be found in stick form and in pencil form. Use the pastels to enhance paint once it has dried. You can use the colors to add shading by smearing the pastels with a blending stump or cosmetic sponge. Some pastels are water-soluble, which is fun because they can be thinned just like watercolor paint. Apply pastels at the end of your painting and use fixative to ensure their permanence. Oil crayons and pastels. Oil crayons and oil pastels will create a more vibrant display of color than their chalk counterparts. These pastels will have more staying power on your artwork, yet they can still be blended nicely with a cosmetic wedge. Follow the package instructions regarding the permanence of your oil products, as they vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Specialty paints. Metallic and Interference colors are really fun to work with. Interference paint has color particles suspended in it that read differently depending on which direction light hits them. Think of an oil slick, or the iridescence of a cultured pearl, and how they shine and pick up color in the light. Interference paint reacts in the same way. The effect of the paint will be subtle or vivid, depending on how much you use. Try the paint on a cosmetic wedge with a stencil for a cool upper-layer effect. Metallic paint can be applied with a detail brush, cosmetic sponge or palette knife. Experiment with writing, stamping and scraping the paint to see which look you like best. Charcoal pencils. Charcoal pencils come in several levels of hardness. Try soft pencils for a smudgy look, and harder pencils for more detailed work. Colored charcoal pencils are also available. Add charcoal details to your project in the final stages, and use fixative to ensure permanence.
The Eyes Follow the Line Use line to call the viewer’s attention to specific areas of your painting. Subconsciously, their eyes will follow the line and rest where the line tells them to. Imagine a painting without any line. Does your eye linger on the painting, or travel to the focal point? Line can be created with color, ink, paint, pencil or collage. Look at the art around you. Notice the lines that may be implied by shapes within the painting. You can use line to draw someone’s attention to your focal point. Photographers study line in images and even fashion designers use line to create clothes that are the most flattering. Line is everywhere! GHOST WRITER Mixed media on canvas, 12" × 12" (30cm × 30cm), Julie Prichard
Finishing Touches: Bold, Imperfect Lines Whether you work in a quiet monochromatic palette or a riotous array of color, a strong, black line is often just what is needed to finish off a composition. We are using permanent India ink and a wobbly stick plucked from the garden for this interesting play on line. You may want to practice your doodling skills before you start. Materials Tall bottle of India ink (make sure it is permanent) Skinny, wobbly stick from the garden Acrylic Glazing Liquid Small angular brush Your work A fearless attitude!
STEP 1: Load Your Stick Dip the stick deep down into the bottle of India ink. The ink will drip down the stick and provide you time to do your drawing.
STEP 2: Draw Your Line Donâ€™t worry about the occasional drip or drop. They only add to the boldness of the technique. You will get thicker lines right after you first dip, and then the line will thin out. Dip again as needed until finished.
STEP 3: Make Corrections Should you truly need to correct an ink mistake, quickly add a bit of Acrylic Glazing Liquid to a small angular brush. Use the brush to erase the mistake. Wipe off the brush and continue to remove the ink until satisfied.
STEP 4: Add Drama Add drama to the surface of an otherwise simple composition by adding lines as needed.
Paint a Surface to Draw On Acrylic paint is not an easy surface to draw on with charcoal, chalk pastel or pencil. Luckily, there are several different products you can add to your artwork to give the surface more tooth, so your drawing mediums will travel over the surface nicely. We like the soft look that translucent mediums add to our art. Here we will examine a few of those mediums. Each of these mediums applied in thin, even coats will provide a suitable surface for drawing. Even though we are talking about drawing on these modified surfaces, don’t overlook how paint will react on top of them too! Acrylic Ground for Pastels. Probably our favorite of the drawing mediums, this medium adds unmistakable tooth in just one coat. Its very slight, hazy appearance when dry creates a slightly ethereal look which can increase as more layers of this ground are added to the art. There is not one pencil or pastel that will not love this texture. Coarse Molding Paste. This paste will add tooth and texture to your project. Coarse Molding Paste is a medium with ground up particles that are similar in size and appearance to hand-ground salt. It dries a warm white, and is translucent in applications up to 1⁄8"(3mm). Thicker applications will cover underlying layers. Only a very thin application is needed to create a drawing surface. Light Molding Paste. Light Molding Paste is a “fluffy” cousin to the heavier molding paste. Its airy, lightweight quality is ideal for prepping surfaces without adding weight. When dry, the surface feels similar to heavy watercolor paper and receives marks easily. Because it is so absorbent, it is fabulous for wet applications, allowing color to pool and puddle. Light Molding Paste dries white and opaque. A very thin coat will allow some visibility to the lower layers. Heavier coats of Light Molding Paste can be formed and molded with a wet brush. Matte Medium. Matte Medium does not dry perfectly clear. Particles suspended in it that allow the medium to be matte will create a slight surface texture or tooth that will accept pencil and pastel. Apply at least two very thin coats, allowing each coat to dry before the next to create the drawing surface.
Acrylic Ground for Pastels In this example, a single coat of Acrylic Ground for Pastels was added to a piece of painted watercolor paper. Once the ground was completely dry, it left a nice, translucent surface to draw on.
Test Your Mediums Try painting a sample board to test your mediums. Use acrylic paint to create 4" (10cm) colored squares on a large substrate. Once the paint is dry, apply thin, even coats of medium to each square. When they are dry, use pencils or pastels to make your mark. Save the board for reference. The samples will show how pencil and pastel react differently on top of each medium.
Using Color as Detail Using color as detail is a way for you to emphasize, enhance, modify or embellish your work. Simple swipes of color with your palette knife will catch the edges of texture in a delightfully random manner. Using jar lids or cookie cutters dipped in paint can add that extra pop of color and shape needed to pull things together. The final phase is a perfect time to add a bit of shine or shimmer using Metallic or Interference paints. These final steps will often move your composition from just okay to something outstanding. Here are some shots of color details that we love.
By highlighting the edges of the leaves with a bright color, it releases them from the background. The leaves appear to pop off the surface. TIPPED Mixed media on board, 20" Ă— 16" (51cm Ă— 41cm), Chris Cozen
Special Effects Paint Applications There are wonderful paints available that provide artists with metallic and interference effects. Used sparingly, these paints can provide luminosity and sparkle to your work. Try mixing these paints with your palette colors to discover how you can multiply your color library instantaneously.
1. Use a palette knife to scrape Iridescent Gold over a layer of Quinacridone Magenta mixed with Interference Violet. 2. Make a sparkly dirty glaze by mixing Micaceous Iron Oxide with Acrylic Glazing Liquid. 3. Mix Pyrrole Orange and Iridescent Bright Gold for vivid light reflecting color. 4. Apply Iridescent Pearl to a make up wedge and pounce through your favorite stencil for a luminescent pattern. 5. Mix Interference Blue with Acrylic Glazing Liquid for a sheer veil of color. 6. Add a layer of Interference Green to your surface and see how it changes the colors below.
Special Effects Department Interference paint is fun to work with! Experiment by painting over both light and dark surfaces. We’ve created some sample mixes to get you started. What other mixes can you come up with?
• Bird: Interference Blue + Phthalo Blue (GS) • Center leaf: Interference Blue + Phthalo Blue (GS) + Iridescent Copper • Top leaf: Interference Blue + Phthalo Blue (GS) + Acrylic Glazing Liquid
• Left Leaf: Interference Green • Bird: Interference Green + Phthalo Blue (GS) • Center leaf: Interference Green + Phthalo Blue (GS) + Iridescent Copper • Top leaf: Interference Green + Phthalo Blue (GS) + Acrylic Glazing Liquid
• Left Leaf: Interference Violet • Bird: Interference Violet + Phthalo Blue (GS) • Center leaf: Interference Violet + Phthalo Blue (GS) + Iridescent Copper • Top leaf: Interference Violet + Phthalo Blue (GS) + Acrylic Glazing Liquid
• Left Leaf: Iridescent Stainless Steel • Bird: Iridescent Stainless Steel + Phthalo Blue (GS) • Center leaf: Iridescent Stainless Steel + Phthalo Blue (GS) + Iridescent Copper • Top leaf: Iridescent Stainless Steel + Phthalo Blue (GS) + Acrylic Glazing Liquid
• Left Leaf: Iridescent Gold • Bird: Iridescent Gold + Phthalo Blue (GS) • Center leaf: Iridescent Gold + Phthalo Blue (GS) + Iridescent Copper • Top leaf: Iridescent Gold + Phthalo Blue (GS) + Acrylic Glazing Liquid
• Left Leaf: Iridescent Pearl • Bird: Iridescent Pearl + Phthalo Blue (GS) • Center leaf: Iridescent Pearl + Phthalo Blue (GS) + Iridescent Copper • Top leaf: Iridescent Pearl + Phthalo Blue (GS) + Acrylic Glazing Liquid
Finishing Touches: Spray It! Acrylic spray paints offer flexibility, so they donâ€™t crack when used on flexible substrates such as canvas. These professional paints allow for great control of your spray, and different-sized nozzles control how much paint will be added with each spray. Before you begin to spray paint, take safety into consideration. Always spray in a wellventilated area and wear protective gloves and a mask to protect your hands and lungs. Follow the manufacturerâ€™s instructions. Materials Painted artwork Stencils Respiratory mask Artist spray paint Protective gloves
STEP 1: Choose Your Base
Make sure that your base layers of paint are completely dry before you spray paint on top of them.
STEP 2: Stencil the Base Shake and test paint on a scrap surface to make sure your paint is mixed and flowing properly. Spray through a stencil. Stay close to the stencil.
STEP 3: Add a Second Stencil Add a second stencil. Spray only a portion of the stencil so you are not left with a cookie-cutter image.
STEP 4: Monoprint With Stencil Use built-up spray paint on the stencil to print your work while itâ€™s still wet.
Julieâ€™s Finishing Touches: Adding Complexity at the End Even though they are quick and small, these finishing touches add more complexity to your art. Take a look at how some oil pastels, pencil and a stencil add another layer of depth. Materials Acrylic Ground for Pastels Oil pastels (red, blue) Alphabet stencil No. 2 pencil Fixative
Switch Hands Use your non-dominant hand to make marks that look less deliberate.
STEP 1: Add Acrylic Ground for Pastels Once the added ground is completely dry, use red oil pastel to add accents around the shape of the window and the collage elements. Create conflicting emotions with small accents and blend them with your fingertips, so that nothing looks too precise. Add blue pastel around the window shape and scribble some blue to match on the opposite side. Use a no. 2 pencil to scribble random thoughts above the window and in the green area.
STEP 2: Stencil Letters and Numbers At this stage, step back and study the painting. Consider if you have too many marks, or not enough. Imagine how any further marks will enhance the feel of the painting. Add some stenciled alphabet lettering in pencil to some areas on the left side. To make the red circles under the window a little more whimsical, color them in so they almost offer the feeling of floating flower petals. Smudge the new red additions slightly.
STEP 3: Make Changes Make your changes as you see fit to complete the painting. If you don’t like the circles, hide them with a bit of journaling. Once the painting is finished, apply fixative. SOLITARY Mixed media on canvas, 18 × 18 (46cm × 46cm), Julie Prichard
Chrisâ€™s Finishing Touches: Enhance and Emphasize As a painting nears completion, step back and look carefully for opportunities to enhance and emphasize the elements you have completed so far. Materials Red open-weave mesh Soft gel (gloss) Sheer fabric and mesh Acrylic Glazing Liquid Micaceous Iron Oxide, Sap Green Hue, Permanent Violet Dark, Napthol Red Light Brush No. 2 pencil White permanent gel pen
STEP 1: Apply Sheer Collage Elements Add some sheer collage elements to the surface to extend color areas through a central vertical band emphasizing the pink paint drips created during an earlier layer. The scroll pattern picks up on the rounded flower shapes. Apply red open-weave mesh underneath one of the large flower elements and down in the bottom left corner to tie in with the textural layers below. Apply open-weave mesh or sheer
fabric elements with soft gel (gloss) just as you would a paper element. Take into consideration the overall composition when adding these elements. Avoid getting overly busy.
STEP 2: Add Three Colors Brush a dirty glaze of iridescent Micaceous Iron Oxide and Acrylic Glazing Liquid over the surface and push into the textured areas to create a sense of age and depth. This glaze really emphasizes all the subtle texture of the surface. The particles in the Micaceous Iron Oxide are gritty and simulate dirt and grime. Add a green glaze to the leaf shapes using Sap Green Hue. Break up the long, vertical band with a swipe of Permanent Violet Dark, bringing the eye towards the bottom.
STEP 3: Complete the Painting Skim a bright swipe of Napthol Red Light over the surface of the raised stencil at the top of the composition. This ties into the two red mesh elements. Add graphite pencil lines, arrows and
numbers to the surface to build interest. Also add a few white lines with a permanent gel pen. Review your composition for any last details that need adjusting. Bright yellow centers added to a few of the painted flowers complete the details. THE GARDEN PATH Mixed media on canvas, 20" Ă— 20" (51cm Ă— 51cm), Chris Cozen
About Varnishing We have taken you through many varied techniques and hopefully you are inspired to create your own layered mixed-media compositions. Before we close the pages on this adventure, there is one last layer to discuss. The question of whether or not to varnish acrylic artwork is one that frequently gets asked. We think it is important for artists to understand what a varnish does and how it protects your artwork. When a layer of acrylic of any kind dries, tiny little holes remain in the surface. These holes are the result of the water evaporating from the acrylic product, leaving you without any trapped moisture under the surface. These holes collect dirt and grime over time. If you use only another acrylic product instead of varnish to finish your painting, you are not dealing with the holes at all. A varnish layer fills in the holes and eliminates the issue of dirt collecting in their spaces. In addition, varnish layers are designed to be removable in the event that the surface gets excessively dirty over time, is exposed to smoke or pollution, or even gets light damage during shipping or use. There are acrylic varnishes that have UV protection in their formulas. This additional layer of protection is necessary in mixed-media work, as some of the papers and other materials used may be subject to fading if the colorants used are not lightfast. There is much useful information available about preparing your pieces for varnishing. Application of a clear isolation coat is critical as this puts a barrier between the surface of your art and the removable varnish coat.
ALTERED PERCEPTION Mixed media on multiple canvases, 28" Ă— 54" (71cm Ă— 137cm), Holly Dean
ART IS MY SANCTUARY Mixed media on canvas, 24" × 24" (61cm × 61cm), Andrea Raft
VECTOR Acrylic on cradled wood panel, 12" × 12" (30cm × 30cm), Seth Apter
SOOTHING SEA Mixed media, 20" × 20" (51cm × 51cm), Brigitte van Tienhoven
Dedication Chris dedicates this book to Roger Poitras who first taught her how to see in an artful way. Thanks, Dad, you are always with me. Julie dedicates this book to all artists everywhere whose spirit and creativity have lifted mankind through the ages and especially my internet muses both seen and unseen who have guided me to the same noble purpose.
Acknowledgments Julie and Chris would like to acknowledge: All the people at North Light Books and F+W Media, Inc., who lit a fire under us to write this book and stoked the flames to get it completed; the countless students, both real and virtual, who support us and feed our creative energies every day; and the many people who visit and comment on our websites and that encourage sharing and community building online. Julie would like to acknowledge: My husband, daughter, mother and father who have always stood behind me, and the inspiring Chris Cozen, my extraordinary mentor and friend. Chris would like to acknowledge: My husband of 35 years who doesnâ€™t understand any of this but supports my endeavors anyway, Julie Prichard for being the kind of student, friend and colleague that makes it all worthwhile to the end, and my kindred artist friends who are both near and far for their enthusiasm and belief in me.
About the Authors
Chris Cozen is a self-taught artist who enjoys exploring color, texture, and pattern in her art. Her ability to develop and teach a wide range of classes is rooted in her professional training as an educator. Chris is a Working Artist for Golden Artist Colors, Inc. (US), manufacturers of acrylic paints and products presenting 30 or more professional lectures and acrylic workshops throughout Southern California and the US each year. Since 2008 she has published three highly popular Acrylic technique books focusing on different applications of Acrylic paints and textures: Altered Surfaces (2008), Transfers & Altered Images (2009) and Mixed Media & Color (2010) with Design Originals. Her online classes with Julie Prichard can be found at thelandoflostluggage.com. Her works are held in private collections throughout the US, Europe and Israel. Chris lives with her husband in Pasadena, CA. You can find Chris on chriscozenartist.com.
Julie Prichard is a multi-media artist living and working in Southern California. She currently writes and produces online mixed media workshops making them available to a global audience. Through the internet Julie shares her knowledge with fellow travelers in a voyage of ever evolving creativity. Julieâ€™s current artwork can be seen on her website: TheLandOfLostLuggage.com.
Edited by Vanessa Wieland Designed by Wendy Dunning Acrylic Solutions. Copyright ÂŠ 2013 by Chris Cozen and Julie Prichard. All rights reserved. No part of this eBook may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review. Published by North Light Books, an imprint of F+W Media, Inc., 10151 Carver Road Suite # 200, Blue Ash, OH 45242. (800) 289-0963. First Edition. Other fine North Light products are available from your local bookstore, art supply store or online. Also visit our website at fwmedia.com. eISBN: 9781440321184 This e-book edition: March 2013 (v.1.0)