Demo: Acrylic on Gesso & Non Gesso Surfaces
I wanna show you something with a surface that is gessoed and a surface that is not gessoed. Because, and I'm doing again, the cube and the ball to show a gradient versus something that isn't a gradient. So the one thing I'm gonna do here, I love grounds, I love surfaces. So I am gonna color this whole thing, but it takes no time for it to dry. And then we're gonna do some impasto painting. I gotta clean my brush, it's full of green. So now we have to decide what kind of colors we want for our grounds, and they can be anything. I don't know, does the audience have a, anybody suggesting a color for, let's say the side with the ball, the sphere.
Well, let's see. We had from Ryan, we had that amber and peirwinkle were the ones that he had thrown out. Can we do something that's more of a gray? I mean, with the ground?
Yeah, wanna do a neutral?
Okay. So, let's say we do something that's more of a neutral color. We can do a payne's gray, which is basically a blue-gray color. We...
'll do that on the ball side. Then, we're gonna do impasto on the other side, so we'll do a different kind of color there. It's a little less important simply because the color's gonna get buried. But I'm gonna try wet into wet with the payne's gray. It's really black, right? I want it to be a little more blue. Payne's gray is supposed to be a little bit more blue. It's supposed to be more like that. Oh look, and I didn't put any, (chuckles) I didn't put any tape on the edge other than the blue, which for me is like maddening, but I will live with it for right now. 'Cause it actually is influencing what I'm putting around it. So here's my tone. I'm using my acrylic in a really thin way. Then we're gonna throw some impasto color on top of that, but not too much, okay. So here's, the color's pretty malleable. This is a Arche's 300 pound. I'm going back and forth. The surface is just a little bit damp. I can still see that ball under there, okay. Now I can almost not see the ball. (laughs) But I can still, yeah, I can still see it. Now the other thing you're noticing, probably, is that the drier this gets, look a the streak.
And that's not a bad thing, it's just, and I'm trying to make the color really even, because in some sports the color might've gotten a little heavier, so I'm just going back and forth over this thing. I'll find my ball. It's in there; I know it is. Okay, so this kind of methodology is what will, what I'm trying to do is create consistency so I'm going back forth, like horizontally and then this way, and then at a certain point I better stop because it's acrylics and it's starting to dry. I can see it starting to dry now. Okay, leave it alone, walk away. (audience chuckles) Okay, all right, so that is the transparent side. Now this is gessoed, so it's not gonna let me use all that water. It's just gonna resist. So what we'll do here is, I think we'll do something where we use one of the mediums to coat this and that'll holp held it, help to hold it on. So now we have this gray color, I'm gonna flip it upside down so I don't smoosh this stuff. it's a little bit damp. Color suggestion? Does anybody have a color?
What about a peach?
Peach, all right. So peach would be accomplished with, what do you think makes peach?
Orange, yellow, red?
Mm-hmm, yep, exactly. Actually we have pretty much the color right there. So I will mix these colors up, make a peachy sort of tone, but we need what to make it more peachy? 'Cause that's just sort of orange? What would make it more peachy?
You could, yeah, I could use a little yellow ochre, and a little bit of white. Because white tends to make colors pink.
So I won't use so much that I bury my little cube there. But I have to use enough, yeah, you can see it right there. There's our peachy color. But I'm going to use a little less of the water and a little more, I'll use my favorite acrylic gloss medium, yes. Okay. Now you can see this feels and looks pretty different from this side. Oh, I just put my finger on that. Can you see that kinda? That it looks and feels kind of different from over here?
It shows more of the streak of the gesso. Trying to make it as even as possible. More the streak of the color. I'm gonna go back this way to kind of blend the color a little bit more. And the color's a little more intense because I'm using gloss medium and the mediums are intended to increase transparency of color. There. Peach is a nice color. So these are more neutral grounds. You don't have to use hyper vibrant ground. I'm going back over it in two directions, as you can see, and I will hit a wall where that acrylic color is saying, no. Okay, enough, and I think it's saying it right now. So I'm gonna leave it alone, flip this back this way. Now, I cannot subtract the color from here. It's too dry. You can't do what you can do with watercolor, but I can paint on top of it. If we could change that water, 'cause it's almost like chocolate colored, that would be awesome. While someone does that, I am going to put my white tape down. Notice my fingers are getting, and my hands are getting fairly full of color. Because it's acrylic color, I would have to stop and take time with soap and hot water to really get that color off, and we don't wanna waste time doing that. So if you don't mind, I'm just gonna leave the color on my hands. It doesn't bother me. Does it bother you, Kenna?
Okay, good. Okay, there goes my manicure, right? So now I'm gonna put the white tape on so I can really see this color a little bit better and see what I might wanna do with it. I think what we'll do on this side is the impasto, maybe. The thicker kind of painting. Maybe we'll play with the pallet knife to create the edge of the cube, and on this side, maybe we'll do something that's a little more fluid. Maybe we'll do some glazing. But we do have to decide the color of the ball and the color of the cube and what will pop off this surface. Okay. So these are drying, and I don't have any water. I would love some suggestions for what would you think would be a good color to put on top of this to get that render that ball? Do we have any audience suggestions?
Let's find out. Well, that's kind of what I was thinking right now, is what can you put over top of it that's not just gonna--
Go (blow raspberry).
Go into it.
Like can you put a bright color on top of that? Can you put a yellow?
You would wanna put a bright color.
You want a color that's gonna react. So what color, this is a kind of blue-gray, what do you think might react to that? What do you think's gonna make the most sense?
Could it be an orange-ish?
It could be an orange-ish, and that's an excellent choice, and the reason why is because this blue has a kind of greeny-grayness to it, so orange is the opposite of green, all the secondary colors are opposite each other, so that's gonna create a reaction. Thank you very much. Now, let's see. What brush do I wanna use? I'm gonna go back to some of the brushes that I'm a huge fan of, my soft bristled brush. I'm just gonna take the paint off of it. Okay, wait a second here. (clicks tongue) So it's another thing, you know, keeping your brushes really clean, especially with acrylics, I can't emphasize that enough. You don't wanna leave them in the water, but you also don't wanna leave them sitting there with acrylic on it. I'm actually gonna take this brush as my gesso brush, and I don't want it to sit here too long, this is plastic. I'm just gonna stick it in the side, I'm not going to swirl it around, 'cause it'll make that whole batch of water really white and I don't wanna do that, but I do wanna keep it wet so that color will come out. So let's try orange, and we're gonna use some gloss mediums to make that happen. We're gonna just do a little bit of matte action. We're gonna start out transparently. Again, this is not like watercolor. It's gonna act very, very differently. I'm gonna try to use the grayness of this to create a shadow tonality. I can still see my ball under there. It's very, very light, but I can see it. The thing is with these paints is, when you don't have water to move it around, you just have this medium, it doesn't move the way water does. It's doesn't smoosh across, it's creating a textural mark almost instantly, so you have to be mindful of that, be prepared for that. It's drying as I'm painting this. So it's a little harder to get a very consistent tone unless you work really fast with the watercolor. Okay, and I'm just creating, I'm creating a neutral sort of tonality to create what I would consider shadow color. I tend to do thick over thin, the shadow is gonna be thinner, and the lip part is gonna be thicker. This is drying so fast that it won't take long to get there. Okay, can you see the reaction kinda of the orange to he gray? You can see it pretty well, right?
And I'm using a brush that allows me, I could use a filbert or I could use this, this is called a round, and it goes right to the edge. I would not use a square-tip brush. That would just be silly. Because it's not, I'm trying to go around a round object, so that wouldn't make any sense at all. Okay. So, I can add to it, but at a certain point I have to stop because that color's just gonna start to pick up, and I can also layer over this. So that's just one shot. With acrylics, if you're painting impasto, you can do things in one shot and move things around. When you're working in layers and glazing, you're building, building, building. One layer over another over another, and that's how it works. So that's just my first pass at my orange ball. So now we have to decide color of the cube. Is there anybody here who has a notion? Color of the cube?
Ryan had suggested lime green.
Ooh, Ryan, that's awesome. That's the best color. Because lime green is gonna react to that peach and (pops lips) like pop right off it, but we have to make lime green. Lime green is a mixture. I'm gonna start with a pure green, not pure, it is a mix of other colors, but it's intense because it's coming right out of the tube, and I'm gonna mix it with yellow. Okay, (passes air through teeth). This I'm gonna do much more thickly and I'm not gonna use this brush. Which brush do you think I would use?
A flat surface one.
Yes, a flat. A square tip, flat brush. And I could even use a pallet knife to kind of push some color around. I think I'll use both those tools, and I'm gonna use a stiffer brush. I wanna use the right size, though. 'Cause this isn't a very big square. Okay, so I'm gonna mix the color with this brush. When you're using stiff bristled brushes or a pallet knife, mixing it right on the pallet is totally fine, but first we have to make our lime green. Fabulous color choice, I'm so psyched. It even looks good on the white of the surface here. Okay, but I want to a certain degree, I do want some of that pink to come through because the green and the pink will neutralize and that'll make kind of a shadowy color. So I'm gonna try, maybe it's a little more, it needs to be a little more limey, which means a little more yellow, lemon yellow. Again, you pinch the sides, pulls the color back in, put the cap back on. If you can do this, it's like putting your seatbelt on when you're driving, it's a good habit. I am trying to learn it myself. I have said and I will say again, it is not my specialty, I tend to, I get so involved in painting, I forge about the caps, and then I can't find the caps, and then the pain dries out, so good practice, squeeze the tube, put the cap back on. If you can remember to do that while you're engaged and having a good time painting. All right, so I am gonna mix up a color. It's a little thick on the end of this brush, so I'm gonna take some of that color off, because what I wanna do is try to brush like a streaky amount of color of this. I'm trying not to use much water, any water really at all. Okay, it's still too much of a patch on that. All right, so what I'm trying to do is reduce the amount of pigment on the end of it without reducing it with water. I'm not using any gloss at this point, I used it on this side. So I'm just going to paint and see how that color is being neutralized by the pink underneath. There's vibration, but they're together creating a kind of olive-y tonality. This is dry brush, and dry brush on a gessoed surface, for me, it feels really good. It's like there's a resist, and that resist makes it really fun to do. I'm also using the edge of the brush because I'm painting a cube. I'm gonna turn his upside down. So, I'm lefthanded, this'll make it easier for me. I'm trying also to make a pretty consistent color, so I might add a little bit of, tiny bit of medium to let it move around. Yeah, just a little, little bit. Because, if there's no medium on it at all, it gets so dry that you can't really get the pigment to come off onto the surface. There. So this is sort of my shadowy color of my cube. Now let's imagine this is one side of the cube. I might say to myself, aw geez, that's a little too green. I don't want it to be so vibrant. What could we do to reduce that vibrancy? Kenna, do you have any thought of what would make that green less green?
Well either add white or add some of that matte, maybe?
Maybe, yeah. If we wanna neutralize this green, what would we put on top of it? What if we glazed something on top? What would we use?
Perhaps the opposite color?
Yeah. And the opposite in this case that I think that I'll use, is, well first I'm gonna paint this and let this dry and then we'll go back to that and glaze it. But the opposite color I'm gonna use, I could use a kind of reddish color, but I might go back to the colors that made up that peach tone, just to kind of knock it back a little bit. But I'm gonna make the lightest side right here, and I'm gonna make that our of impasto paint, which will be white. I just wanna show you, I'm gonna create that edge, mix it over here, put the cap back on. I'm gonna move that into this color with more yellow. And again, this is like, you know, it's like baking. It feels really, really good. Mix it up. I'm using the edge of this to kind of, to stir it, to mix it. I might put a little more, I want a little more yellow in there. I'm gonna use the thickness as a kind of opacity to contrast the transparency of, say, that shadow color. Yeah. There's something really nice about that mixture before it's even mixed totally together that's quite lovely, but I'm gonna try to make it a little more of a consistent color, and that's just by I'm pressing on the surface, I'm mixing it, okay. And then, maybe I'll do the top? Well, maybe I'll do the side. So I'm just gonna do, let me get a whole big batch of it. Because you're using, it almost looks like toothpaste, doesn't it? I'm trying to use the edge of this tool to get a super clean edge. I'm gonna move this thing around, but look at how that color sits on the surface of this peach tone. It's completely delicious, and it's such a fun thing to do, I might end up going home and start painting impasto paints. It's the opposite of the way I normally paint. It's something, you know, I've worked this way before, but it's not my usual technique. But like I said before, the whole point of experimenting is you learn what you like and you learn what you don't like, too. Now, as I press this down, I am not pushing so hard on the surface that I'm going right back to the ground color, because I'll just end up scraping it away. So I'm very, very gently trying to apply the thickness of the paint that's on the other side of this tool, and then moving it around. Presumably, this is a box that has a certain amount of texture to it. It's, I'm not trying to make a smooth surface, I'm trying to make an edge, and I'm trying to utilize the beauty of impasto paint. I'm not afraid, also, to turn this picture in a few different directions to get that to happen. Scoot out of the way. Maybe that shadow isn't so bad. I might wanna neutralize it. I don't know. We'll wait and see. What I'm trying to do is make it look dimensional, so that's why I'm paying attention to does it look like a shadow? Does this feel like a shadow? There, so that looks kind of yummy. I'm not trying to make this perfectly smooth and flat. I could, I could put more texture in it, I could use more of that color. I'll just show you down here. You know you can literally get that paint to sit, whoa, really high off the surface. That will take some time to dry. You don't need a retardant for that. So I'm gonna clean this, we'll go back to our ball. Now, we wanted to make an orange ball, yes? Okay, so I'm gonna go to a different tool. I'm gonna use that round brush, one of my favorite brushes if I can find it. Where did it go? (clicks tongue) Yeah, this is a beautiful brush. There's a couple, this is probably my favorite because I just love the size. It feels right in my hand. What I do sometimes if a brush, these brushes are pretty big, but sometimes if you have a brush, and I'll find a little one here. Like, not that I would use something this small very often, or I'll hold it right here, but if I were, what I do, and you can buy holders for your brush, but you can also wrap tape around it, like artist tape or masking tape, to make a thickness so that when you're holding your brush in your hand it doesn't feel too tiny. I mean, I have fairly sizable hands and sometimes it feels like I'm cramping up as I'm using he brush, so I tend to wrap tape around my brushes.