Sunday, February 12, 2006

Garden Painting Day 3 : Trial Canvas, New Brushes

Yesterday I visited Michaels (arts & crafts store), and bought myself a set of 15 assorted brushes for $20, a small plastic palette with 10 paint wells ($1.30), and a set of three 5"x7" canvas boards ($5). I stopped short of buying artists acrylics, because this was the big-ticket item, the choices were bewildering, and I didn't have with me the notes I had made from their website (which had good descriptions but not prices!). In the store, there were prices, but not much descriptions. :-(

For my first eSmall pansy painting in progressxperiment with the 5"x7" canvas, I am using the craft acrylics which I already have, as a starting point at least. I started by filling the background with dark green. Then added foliage, and my first pansy. I will add several more pansies on top of the foliage. I will also decide which other flower to place behind the pansies. I'm thinking of painting the 4'x3' from front (bottom) to back (top), so this will be a small test of my approach. The photo shows my progress after a few hours of work.

I have learned a few techniques so far. The foliage first followed by flowers seems to work pretty nicely. When mixing up the paint colours (I have basically only the primary colours), instead of mixing them well, I crudely mix them, so I can show some colour variation with my strokes, to give a more 3-dimensional or shaded effect (I don't know if it shows up in the photo at all, perhaps I need to work on a bit more variation). The craft acrylics are quite fluid already, but to hide my brush strokes, thinning with water, and painting a second coat works really well.

I will make another attempt at investigating and purchasing a set of acrylics. Having been made aware of toxic pigments by Linda's blog, I will look for non-toxic ones. I would usually dismiss such concerns (after all, I'm not planning to eat the paints!), but I soon found out how easily it is to get the paint on my skin, and table, and then in the sink when cleaning up. Not to mention I'm using one of our drinking glasses in which to wash my brushes. With small children in the house, I won't take the chance.

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