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Acrylic Painting For Dummies

Acrylic Painting For Dummies

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by Colette Pitcher

IN FULL COLOR!

Learn To :

• Utilize acrylics to produce different looks and textures
• Improve your technique with four-color, hands-on instruction
• Complete full-scale projects
• Discover your inner artist

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Book Details
 Price
 4.00
 Pages
 323 p
 File Size 
 25,498 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 ISBN
 978-0-470-44455-9   
 Copyright©   
 2009 by Wiley Publishing, Inc 

About the Author
Growing up in Colorado, Colette Pitcher always made art — even if at first folks
weren’t convinced it was art. She majored in television communication at the
University of Northern Colorado but had enough art credits to graduate a year early
and did so. Her first job out of college was as a graphic designer for an engineering
and architectural firm. Her next job was in New York City for a Fortune 500 company,
and she later worked for a well-known children’s book author. While in New York, she
lived at West Point and attained an MBA from the University of Long Island.

She returned to Colorado in 1986 and started Art Department for companies that
didn’t have an art department in-house. In the 1990s, she founded the Showcase Art
Center in Greeley, Colorado, and filled it with other like-minded businesses and art studios.
Activities at the Showcase have included Project Ability, for developmentally
disabled artists; a workshop for blind artists to use touch in 3-D artworks; and selling
art from Mozambique to fund a kindergarten in that country. The Showcase presents
art created by youth to encourage future artists and art by seniors to encourage lifelong
creativity. It remains a great place to find art and supplies, framing, art-to-wear,
piano lessons, art classes, and art studios.

Colette also sculpts. Her husband Gary, owner of Dragon Casting (a bronze art
foundry), is also a creative resource for making the impossible come true daily.
Together the couple has installed many monumental bronze public artworks. Colette
is the author of Watercolor Painting For Dummies (Wiley) and on occasion writes for
PaintWorks magazine. She also writes and conducts demonstrations for art material
manufacturer conventions, including Loew-Cornell, Aamoco, Dynasty brushes,
Duncan, Fredrix canvas, and Speedball. She is a Rotarian, a member of Greeley Art
Association, a signature member of Colorado Watercolor Society, and an associate
member of the National Sculpture Society.

Introduction
Welcome to Acrylic Painting For Dummies! You’re about to embark on a
wonderful journey. Acrylic painting is a fun way to communicate
through art, and I love to share the “gospel” of art with others. A real dedication
to art changes your life — challenges you, inspires you, and is your companion
for as long as you let it be.
Acrylic paints are a great painting choice. They’re easy to use and simple to
clean up with soap and water, dry quickly, have no toxic fumes, allow you to
make changes quickly, and offer many surprise tricks. This book is your
ticket to exploring these and other aspects of acrylics.

About This Book
Given its title, you’re probably not surprised that this book is all about painting
using acrylic paint — painting, as in you creating paintings. Although you
may get an appreciation of the art of painting by reading this book, there’s no
substitute for doing. You must paint yourself (that is, you must paint; whether
you paint a self-portrait or paint on yourself is up to you). It can not only be
one of the most satisfying activities you ever do, but it’s also the only way to
truly appreciate others’ work. It can help you see art for the first time with a
new appreciation of what you’re looking at.

So this book helps you do just that — actually paint. Most chapters offer at
least one step-by-step project that incorporates the theory and the techniques
introduced in that chapter. After duplicating the paintings, you can try
the projects again with subjects of your choosing. Although I give you all the
instructions to be successful in painting the exercise, you can also make your
own choices at any point. Want to change the painting size, surface, or color?
Do it. I encourage you to make the projects your own.

Along with all the painting projects, I also show you how to create interesting
effects, compose a good picture, and use color to full advantage — all in an
easy-to-access and easy-to-understand format. And I don’t use art speak — I
just tell you in plain English how to plan, compose, design, and paint. That’s
what you were hoping for when you picked up this book, isn’t it?


Table of Contents
Introduction ............................................................................1
About This Book................................................................................................................1
Conventions Used in This Book ......................................................................................1
What You’re Not to Read..................................................................................................2
Foolish Assumptions ........................................................................................................2
How This Book Is Organized............................................................................................2
Part I: Getting Acquainted with Acrylics ..............................................................3
Part II: Exploring Tricks and Techniques .............................................................3
Part III: Finding the Fun in Fundamentals.............................................................3
Part IV: Acrylic’s Versatile Styles...........................................................................3
Part V: Projects for Different Surfaces ..................................................................3
Part VI: The Part of Tens ........................................................................................4
Icons Used in This Book...................................................................................................4
Where to Go from Here.....................................................................................................4
Part I: Getting Acquainted with Acrylics ...................................5
Chapter 1: Acrylics Are Awesome!.............................................................................7
What’s So Awesome About Acrylic Paint? .....................................................................7
Versatility..................................................................................................................8
Fast drying time.......................................................................................................8
Durable finish...........................................................................................................9
Resistance to cracking............................................................................................9
Nurturing and Growing the Acrylic Artist in You..........................................................9
Developing your own talents .................................................................................9
Finding and capturing inspiration.......................................................................10
Getting in the zone ................................................................................................11
Finding your style while expanding your horizons...........................................11
Project: Painting Your Sketchbook ...............................................................................14
Chapter 2: Setting Up Supplies: Brushes, Surfaces, and Palettes ......................17
Brushing Up on Brushes ................................................................................................17
Get a handle on it ..................................................................................................18
Hair today, gone tomorrow ..................................................................................18
Get in shape (shaped brushes, that is) ..............................................................19
Size matters............................................................................................................19
Brush substitutes ..................................................................................................21
Beginning your brush collection with the bare essentials...............................22
Maintaining Your Brushes..............................................................................................23
Prepping a new brush...........................................................................................23
Avoiding damage ...................................................................................................23
Washing...................................................................................................................24
Storing.....................................................................................................................24
Repairing a worn brush ........................................................................................25
Knowing when it’s time for a new brush ............................................................26
Picking and Prepping Common Paint Surfaces ...........................................................27
Canvas paper .........................................................................................................27
Canvas.....................................................................................................................27
Boards.....................................................................................................................28
Preparing boards and canvases ..........................................................................30
Thinking Outside the Canvas: Alternate Acrylic Painting Surfaces..........................31
Painting on fabrics ................................................................................................31
Working with wood surfaces................................................................................31
Taking a shine to metal.........................................................................................32
Scratching the surface of glass............................................................................32
Plastic......................................................................................................................32
Terra cotta..............................................................................................................33
Walls ........................................................................................................................33
Purchasing Palettes and Other Handy Stuff ................................................................33
Palettes ...................................................................................................................33
Other useful supplies............................................................................................34
Chapter 3: All About Paints and Mediums...............................................................35
Getting to Know the Different Properties of Acrylic Paints.......................................35
Pigments and binders ...........................................................................................36
Viscosity .................................................................................................................37
Finish.......................................................................................................................37
Drying time.............................................................................................................38
Lightfastness or fading .........................................................................................38
Compatibility .........................................................................................................39
Hues ........................................................................................................................39
Different Types of Acrylic Paint ....................................................................................39
Specialty acrylic paints ........................................................................................40
Additives, Mediums, Gels, and Pastes..........................................................................42
Acrylic medium .....................................................................................................42
Water .......................................................................................................................43
Flow enhancers......................................................................................................44
Retarders ................................................................................................................44
Glaze........................................................................................................................44
Gel mediums and paste ........................................................................................45
Specialty mediums and finishes ..........................................................................46
Part II: Exploring Tricks and Techniques ..................................47
Chapter 4: Basic Painting and Finishing Techniques............................................49
Setting Up Your Palette and Supplies ...........................................................................49
Getting a Grip on Your Brushes: Practicing Various Brush Strokes .........................51
Crisscrossing..........................................................................................................52
Scumbling...............................................................................................................53
Stippling..................................................................................................................54
Dry brushing ..........................................................................................................54
Making fine lines with liners ................................................................................55
Scratching with scraffito ......................................................................................55
Painting with a palette knife.................................................................................56
The Best Basic Painting Techniques.............................................................................57
Under painting .......................................................................................................57
Base coating ...........................................................................................................58
Wet-into-wet and blending....................................................................................59
Layering ..................................................................................................................59
Glazing ....................................................................................................................60
Finishing with Finesse ....................................................................................................61
To varnish or not to varnish ................................................................................61
Presenting your paintings: Mats and frames .....................................................63
Project: 30-Minute Artist Trading Card ........................................................................66
Chapter 5: Building Your Repertoire with Quick Tricks and Techniques ..........71
Ready, Set, Experiment...................................................................................................71
Adding Stuff to Your Paint..............................................................................................72
Salt...........................................................................................................................72
Alcohol or water ....................................................................................................73
Sand, sawdust, and beyond .................................................................................74
Thinking Outside the Brush...........................................................................................75
Sponges and rollers...............................................................................................75
Plastic wrap............................................................................................................76
Cobwebs and cheesecloth ...................................................................................78
Dripping, Spraying, and Spattering...............................................................................79
Jack the dripper.....................................................................................................79
Spray it again, Sam ................................................................................................80
Spray stenciling .....................................................................................................81
Project: Combination Technique Abstract ..................................................................82
Chapter 6: Drawn to Paint — Even if Your Drawing Skills Need Work.............85
Making Thumbnail Sketches..........................................................................................86
Enlarging Sketches ..........................................................................................................86
Eyeballing it............................................................................................................89
Gridding it...............................................................................................................89
Copying it ...............................................................................................................89
Projecting it ............................................................................................................90
Tracing Your Way to a Great Painting Sketch ..............................................................90
Finalizing your sketches with tracing paper......................................................91
Copying a photograph by using tracing paper..................................................91
Getting Your Drawing onto the Painting Surface ........................................................92
Blending with Paint.........................................................................................................93
Making a smooth transition .................................................................................93
Blending to create depth ......................................................................................94
Project: Create a Still Life ...............................................................................................96
Part III: Finding the Fun in Fundamentals .............................101
Chapter 7: Taking a Quick Color Tour .....................................................................103
Looking at Popular Colors ...........................................................................................103
Red ........................................................................................................................103
Orange...................................................................................................................104
Brown....................................................................................................................104
Yellow....................................................................................................................105
Green.....................................................................................................................106
Blue .......................................................................................................................106
Violet .....................................................................................................................107
White.....................................................................................................................107
Black......................................................................................................................108
Deciphering Paint Descriptions ..................................................................................109
Common chemicals.............................................................................................109
Common descriptors ..........................................................................................110
Hues ......................................................................................................................110
Working the Color Wheel .............................................................................................110
Primary, secondary, and tertiary colors ..........................................................111
Clear as mud: Using color bias to mix colors (or mud) .................................111
Three Color Exercises ..................................................................................................113
Exploring value with monochrome: The one-color exercise .........................113
Taking your painting’s temperature: The two-color exercise........................115
Harmonizing with primaries: The three-color exercise..................................117
A Few More Color Plans ...............................................................................................118
Complementary ...................................................................................................119
Split complementary...........................................................................................120
Analogous.............................................................................................................121
Full wheel..............................................................................................................122
Chapter 8: Design of the Times: Design Elements and Principles ....................123
Elements of Design........................................................................................................123
The Principle of Balance ..............................................................................................125
Balancing color ....................................................................................................125
Balancing value....................................................................................................126
Balancing dots .....................................................................................................126
Balancing texture.................................................................................................126
Balancing line.......................................................................................................127
Balancing shape...................................................................................................128
Balancing size ......................................................................................................128
Balancing volume ................................................................................................129
The Principle of Contrast.............................................................................................129
Contrasting color.................................................................................................129
Contrasting value ................................................................................................130
Contrasting shape ...............................................................................................131
Contrasting texture .............................................................................................131
Contrasting lines..................................................................................................131
Contrasting size ...................................................................................................132
Contrasting volume.............................................................................................132
The Principles of Repetition, Alternation, and Variation .........................................133
The Principle of Direction............................................................................................134
Direction of texture .............................................................................................136
Direction using lines ...........................................................................................136
Direction using shapes .......................................................................................137
The Principles of Emphasis and Subordination........................................................137
Dominance of color temperature ......................................................................138
Dominance of value.............................................................................................138
Dominance of dots ..............................................................................................138
Dominance of texture..........................................................................................139
Dominance of line................................................................................................139
Dominance of shape............................................................................................140
Dominance using size .........................................................................................140
Dominance using volume ...................................................................................141
Chapter 9: Putting the Pieces Together: Composition .........................................143
First Things First: Intention and Placement ..............................................................143
Determining and placing the focal point ..........................................................144
Give ’em room......................................................................................................146
Off-setting the horizon........................................................................................146
Setting the mood .................................................................................................146
Less is more .........................................................................................................148
More Composition Guidelines .....................................................................................148
Going with odd numbers....................................................................................149
Avoiding tangents................................................................................................149
Varying your edges to create depth and
to help the focal point stand out ...................................................................150
Keeping light and shadows consistent.............................................................151
Check Yourself: Analyzing and Revamping Your Composition ...............................151
Keying the painting .............................................................................................151
Thinking in threes ...............................................................................................152
Cropping ...............................................................................................................154
Implosion and other shapes ..............................................................................154
Unity: A final checklist ........................................................................................154
Part IV: Acrylic’s Versatile Styles .........................................157
Chapter 10: Letting It Flow: Creating a Watercolor-like Landscape.................159
Born to Run: Thinning Acrylic to be Like Watercolor ..............................................160
The Sky’s the Limit: Painting Translucent Skies .......................................................161
Riding off into the sunset ...................................................................................162
Raindrops keep falling on my head...................................................................163
Clouding the picture ...........................................................................................164
Getting Edgy: Defining the Edges of Landscape Objects .........................................165
Hard edges............................................................................................................166
Soft and lost edges ..............................................................................................166
Seeing the Forest for the Trees....................................................................................169
Defining tree edges by painting and spattering...............................................169
Making a tree brush out of rubber bands ........................................................171
Layering Paint for Endless Possibilities .....................................................................172
Getting a little perspective.................................................................................172
Backgrounds, middle grounds, and foregrounds ............................................172
Project: Putting Together a Watercolor-like Landscape...........................................174
Chapter 11: Laying It On Thick: Painting Like the Oil Masters ..........................179
Getting Ready to Create an “Oil” Masterpiece ..........................................................179
Extending your acrylic’s drying time to mimic oil..........................................179
Choosing and prepping a surface......................................................................180
Trying Oil-Inspired Techniques...................................................................................181
Painting backgrounds with aerial perspective ................................................181
Overlapping..........................................................................................................183
Creating texture ...................................................................................................184
Simulating depth with shadows ........................................................................188
Project: Irresistible Husky Dog....................................................................................191
Project: Fall Corn Still Life............................................................................................195
Project: Son of Corn Painting (A Sequel) ...................................................................198
Chapter 12: Thinking and Painting Abstractly ......................................................205
Cruising through Abstract Art Movements: An Overview.......................................205
Finding Abstract Ideas in the Real World...................................................................207
Creating a cropping viewfinder .........................................................................207
Pushing a shape out of shape ............................................................................209
Abstract Ways to Send a Message in Your Art ..........................................................211
Putting words in a painting ................................................................................211
Looking at what various symbols and elements can communicate .............211
Handy Products and Techniques for Abstract Art ...................................................223
Under it all: Starting with grounds and pastes ................................................223
Over the top: Using products that go on top of grounds and substrates....226
Planning Your Own Abstract Painting: A Few Questions to Consider....................229
Project: Abstract Extravaganza...................................................................................230
Part V: Projects for Different Surfaces...................................235
Chapter 13: Creating Collages and Transfers........................................................237
What You Can Use in a Collage....................................................................................237
Deciding What You Want Your Collage to Say ...........................................................238
Preparing Your Background Surface...........................................................................240
Layering Your Collage...................................................................................................241
Layering with paper ............................................................................................241
Layering in paint..................................................................................................244
Working with Images and Direct Transfers................................................................245
Making a direct transfer .....................................................................................246
Transferring drawings ........................................................................................249
Making sure your collage doesn’t infringe on copyrights..............................250
Project: Southwestern Cliffs Collage...........................................................................251
Chapter 14: Cool Projects for All Types of Surfaces ............................................255
Wild About Wildcats: Painting on Wood and Clayboard..........................................255
Wooden wildcat box............................................................................................256
Coasters................................................................................................................261
Grape Art: Painting Grapes on a Violin (Yes, Really)................................................266
Wall Art: Painting a Mural ............................................................................................269
Art to Wear and Carry: Painting Fabric and Other Materials ..................................270
Rock On: Painting on Rocks and Stone ......................................................................275
Heavy Metal: Painting on Steel ....................................................................................275
Odds and Ends: Faux Stained Glass, Bricks, and Candles .......................................277
Faux stained glass ...............................................................................................277
Painted brick........................................................................................................279
Painted candles ...................................................................................................279
Part VI: The Part of Tens ......................................................281
Chapter 15: Ten (Plus One) Genres: Figuring Out What You Want to Paint......283
Chapter 16: Ten Ways to Get the Creative Juices Flowing.................................291
Index ..................................................................................295


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Conventions Used in This Book
When writing this book, I used a few conventions to make reading easier:
 Italicized text shows up to define words or terms being used for the first time in that chapter.
 “Acrylic paints” are often described as just “acrylics”.
 “Pigments,” “paint,” and “color” are often used to mean the same thing.
 Bold text indicates keywords in bulleted lists or the main instructions in a numbered list.
 The occasional Web site or e-mail address appears in monofont to help it stand out on the page.

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