Author Topic: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.  (Read 2940 times)

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Offline cause the rat

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A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« on: March 23, 2019, 04:41:24 pm »
This is more like an open blog. A way to share my triumphs and failures learning a new craft. Everything along the way.

A bit of my art history. I tried watercolor. Tried. And tried. If you don't have enough aggravation in life try watercolor. Any little mistake is there. You can't cover it up. And hardest of all you can't add light. The white of your paper is all the light you have. And when it's painted over it's gone. Yes you can 'scrub' it out. Scrub meaning ripping the surface of the paper away. Enough of that and your finished painting looks like zits on the Mona Lisa. And if you use white paint? THE HOROR!!! Your cheating. You have to suffer as much as everyone else or your work is not good enough to be called art. Well, I don't do art to suffer. All my paints most of the brushes will find new homes.

The reason I chose watercolor painting was the lack of chemicals. I would love to play with oil. But even the water based oil paints can lead to chemicals. Because my house is closed up ( allergies ) what i bring in stays in. Unfortunately oil paint is out of the question. But water? I get that out of the tap. Acrylics? The only acrylic paints I ever used were those cheapo craft paints you get at Walmarts. Used enough of those and it smells like you just freshly painted a room. So you may be asking why I chose to try acrylics anyway? Because quality acrylic paint doesn't have that painted wall smell. Because the cheaper the paint the more additives they use. And no matter how good the acrylic paint you can still clean it up with soap and water.

What I'm doing now.
Unlike watercolor painting it's better to have the surface your working on straight up. We're talking wall flat. So the first thing I'm working on is brush control. Holding the brush with no support between me and the canvas. Practicing my A, B, C,s. And I thought my handwriting was bad. A bit wonky. I'm also doing color saturation and hue studies. With a little under by belt I'll do my first painting. I want my first painting to be the absolute best I can do. Then I'll put that painting away and continue with excursuses. Then do the very same painting a second time. Just like learning to write with a pencil. You learn the moves your hand has to make to create the shapes. Then it's off to the races.

My first AH HA moment. What I've learned so far,
The farther back I hold the paint brush the more control I have. It sounds counterintuitive but it works.

When I do start posting works feel free to comment and critique.
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Offline cause the rat

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2019, 04:35:46 pm »
Still learning to control the tip of the brush. I've done four 12x18  (12.5x45.8) sheets with the alphabet. What i'm using to paint on is old watercolor paper I've gessoed. Figure already have the paper. Might as well not let it go to waste. And unlike watercolor I can use both sides of the paper for this. I have my first painting paper primed and ready to go.

Going through the watercolor brushes here I've learned that a few of them are also used for acrylics. Acrylic paint is actually hard on brushes. It can build up over time and damage the tip or edge of the brush. It also gets into to ferrule and spread the bristles. So there is a difference in brushes. My favorite watercolor brushes would die within days of use with acrylics. So I tried the ones recommended for acrylic paint. One brand that stands out. I can get thinner lines with a size 6 of this brush then I can get with the size four of the other brand. Way better control of small curves and backstrokes. Now looking for an alternative to this brush. Escoda Versatile brushes are a bit pricy. Not sure if I want to go hog wild. Like I did when buying watercolor supplies. I'll wait till I get to the point where I need them.

Things i've learned so far.

Made my own 'wet pallet' for acrylic paint. Been three days now and the paint is still good to go. Used a 14x9x3 (35.5x23x7.6) Rubbermade food container. Put a layer of paper towels down first. Then a sheet of parchment paper. You can get parchment paper in the same place you'd find plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Put some water in to wet the paper towels under the parchment. Paint goes on top of the parchment paper. Lid goes back on when your done painting. Works! I'm not using craft paints. The brands are 'M Graham' and 'Winsor & Newton'. Not sure if this would work with craft paints. After three days there is still no cheapo acrylic paint smell! Gesso stinks. But you don't paint with gesso.

Painting the alphabet over and over again is boring.  :D
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Offline Varg the wanderer

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2019, 08:47:20 pm »
Pictures or it didn't happen ;)

Is there a solvent you can use to clean the brushes? Soak-em outside in mineral spirits or something?
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Offline cause the rat

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2019, 09:33:31 pm »
Pictures? Picture a six year old with crayons. :) that's kinda where I am right now. Not much to look at if it's just the alphabet over and over again. I will post my first attempt. Got my composition planned. And a bit of a value study. Going to work on that a bit more before I commit. Trying to keep from getting a dark blob. May have to introduce another light source. I'm starting with the same idea I had for my first watercolor painting. A bar with outdoor umbrella tables under a large tree. Changing the composition up and going for more of a dusk or night time scene. Trying to make it as hard as I can. 

I've read you can use denatured alcohol to clean out some of the mess. But once paint gets deep into the ferrule there's not much you can do. The synthetic fiber my favorite watercolor brushes ('Silver Brush Black Velvets' ) are made of  are to thin to handle acrylics.
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Offline cause the rat

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2019, 11:03:09 pm »
Pictures or it didn't happen ;)

Not sure how to post pics here. I click on "Attachments and other things" and all I get is other things. Nothing to add an attached pic. Insert Image looks like it wants a hyperlink. None of this is on the web.

Getting a lot of help from Wet Canvas's acrylic painting forum. Same place I got loads of help when I was trying watercolor. Lots of great people. Every month they have a 'Different Strokes Challenge". Joining in this months painting idea. 'The (Secret) Garden'. The idea is to go crazy with a garden. Anything goes. So I asked if nudes are allowed if I 'landscaped'. :) No, not what I'm paining. This will be my official first acrylic work. Pushing myself and trying things I've never done before. Not even sure if most of what I want to do will work. Doesn't matter. Going to have fun with it. Best part is it's not watercolor. If I make a mistake I can paint over it. If the entire piece is a mistake I can re gesso and repaint the whole thing. No one will even know. :)

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Offline FarFar

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2019, 08:20:02 am »
Sounds like u are making some good progress!  :) Art is always a work in progress (personal experience here), so keep at it!
I took the red pill...

Offline cause the rat

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2019, 04:08:27 pm »
Thanks FarFar. Art is like playing an instrument. The more you put into it the more you get out. The only way to get better is to push yourself.

Bad news is I messed this up. Good news is I don't have to throw anything away. Unlike watercolor I can gesso over it all and start again.  This quarter inch thick piece of plywood I'm playing with might be three quarters of an inch think by the time I'm done. :)
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Offline FarFar

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2019, 04:44:54 pm »
:D
Yeah, I know what you mean. Sometimes, the stuff I draw/paint/sketch is not the greatest but I keep doing it so I get better.
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Offline cause the rat

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2019, 03:00:54 am »
Practicing my peeps. Background people that is. Just an expression of a figure. Allowing the paint brush, with just a bit of guidance to say what that particular person is doing. Really starting to like angled brushes. I can paint small with the tip. Then push a bit to get a wider stroke. All wile still allowing for expression. Finding the more I try to control the brush the stiffer the figure. Did a lot of this when trying ( more like a constant struggle ) watercolor painting. Acrylics are a lot more forgiving. If I make a mistake I can paint over it. :) Strangely enough the bigger the brush the easier it is to paint a small figure. Each figure between an inch and a half to two inches tall. Brush is a one half inch wide filbert. That's a rounded top brush with a flat edge. And before you even ask. Yes some of these peeps are anthro. Honestly I don't see myself making badges and things like that. There's plenty of people making them. May do furry art. Anthro characters in land/city/town scapes and the like. But here my mouth is a few miles ahead of my skill. Have to see where this goes.

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Offline cause the rat

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2019, 05:22:51 pm »
The world of difference. In watercolor I could experiment and make a really nice effect. Then, using the same colors. Using the same brush and technique. Never have the very same effect. Or worst, never even come close. With acrylics I can get the very same effect. No matter what combo of colors I use. I'm learning and moving forward. With watercolor I would get something to work. Then fight to make it work again. I think this will be the last reference to watercolor. There are things I did learn. Color mixing. The difference and effect cool and warm colors have on each other. And how to mix grays without using white. There is quite a bit more I learned. So my dive into watercolor helped me. I don't think I would have this level of understanding about color theory had I started with acrylics or oils.

I might have to continue this thread in the 'Artwork Techniques and Tutorials' section of the forum. Watched a few digital painting tuts on youtube. Quite a bit of what I'd have to share work in both digital and traditional art. And because I can't find a way to imbed pics most of the posts would be about techniques anyway.
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Offline FarFar

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2019, 07:57:27 pm »
Sounds like you are progressing!
I took the red pill...

Offline cause the rat

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2019, 08:13:24 pm »
Thanks FarFar. Having a blast with it. Today I painted 7 skies. All on the same substrate. Get done. Slopped a different shade of blue over it and start over. I'd of gone through seven sheets of watercolor paper to do the same.
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Offline cause the rat

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2019, 01:04:29 am »
So on a site called 'Wet Canvas' they have a monthly painting challenge. Decided to join in the fun. I've gone through a few ideas and finally decided on a painting. Drew this idea out. Really took a look at it. it could not have looked more like the bottom half of a female body if I would have drawn that instead. So, I did a few redrawing and finally have something that will work. Even at my age my libido is still larger than life. :)

This month's challenge is 'Secret Garden'. Make a garden out of anything. So I decided to paint a garden with concert lighting. It'll be my Rock Garden. Having no experience with acrylic everything I do is helping me learn. Hopefully what I come up with will look good enough to at least convey  the idea. I'm using a glazing medium to layer the colors coming from each light on a somewhat black background. Then I'll use this to create a color fog around the shrubs. That's the idea anyway. I can't find anything online on how to do this. Guess it's painting by the seat of my pants. :)

When it's finally uploaded to that site I'll put a link here.
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Offline cause the rat

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2019, 12:46:20 am »
Well, It's my first. So LET ME HAVE IT! Tell me like it is. I have the skin of an oak tree and all the warmth of an opossum. Not going to hurt my feelings.

Here's the link. Hopefully it goes right to the page.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=21587869#post21587869

If it doesn't go right to the picture look for 'wet rat'.
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Offline FarFar

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2019, 08:18:26 am »
Like the colors! Better then anything I can do!
I took the red pill...

Offline Jade Sinapu

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2019, 09:57:49 pm »
I see how you put specular highlights on the bushes that show the colors of the spot lights. Good attention to detail.
Fun idea, Rock Garden!

Although we can't hear the music in the painting, what song is rocking the joint?
Anything I would know?
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Offline cause the rat

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2019, 03:32:18 am »
Thanks guys. It was fun and a learning process as well.

FarFar, ? I think you'd give me a run for the money when it comes to painting.

Jade, Van Halen's first album. Every song on it. That album was already two years old when I was a senior in high school. The art class had a turntable. We listened to that album every day.
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Offline Jade Sinapu

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2019, 11:51:04 pm »
Love it!
Thanks for the auditory accompaniment!

I had a math class (algebra 1) where my teacher let us listen to Mike Olfield's Tubular Bells electronic music!
It got me SOOO interested in electronic ambient.
That teacher has a lot to answer for!  It also let me focus in on the concept of algebra.
If at first you don't succeed, you have the diode backwards, again! -- Me.

RIP Heidi 11.5yrs, 07/08/2019, 2000 UTC.

Offline FarFar

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2019, 08:22:08 am »
Thanks guys. It was fun and a learning process as well.

FarFar, ? I think you'd give me a run for the money when it comes to painting.

Yup, you got my name right!
I'm better with digital which is a completely different concept. I'm thinking about taking some classes this summer. Want to improve on what I do.
Keep up with the good work.



Jade, Van Halen's first album. Every song on it. That album was already two years old when I was a senior in high school. The art class had a turntable. We listened to that album every day.
I took the red pill...

Offline cause the rat

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2019, 01:22:34 pm »
FarFar, The only difference between digital and traditional art is the material and tools used. Color theory, value, perspective and even PHI ( the golden ratio 1 to 1.618 ) is all the same. It's art. One of the best digital channels I've watched,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQfF-P70V2Q&frags=pl%2Cwn

Even though I'm using acrylics I still learned from this guy. The best advice anyone can give is to learn something and run with it. Make mistakes! Looking forward to seeing your stuff!

Breaking my learning down into sections. Fist was brush control. The second is what I'm doing now. Atmosphere. The sky. In art a blue sky is a blank space no one wants to see. I've already got color theory and values under me belt through learning ( struggling ) watercolor.
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Offline FarFar

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2019, 10:21:38 pm »
Thanks! Good thoughts.
I took the red pill...

Offline cause the rat

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2019, 01:32:01 am »
Whoda thought skies would be a problem. I've seen skies for well over 50 years now. Look up. Look out the window. There it is. Just paint it right? So why does it look like I threw food on a blue wall??? :) I've painted  eight skies now. Parts. Parts of the latter ones look better. Just parts. Need to get the entire painting to look like those small parts. :) Using plywood panels. Sizes range from 8x11 to 10x13. So all I have to do is re gesso over my mess and start over again. In all honesty having way to much fun. Throwing paint at a board. Let's see what happens next! I am taking it seriously. Learning from my mistakes. Knowing all along it's going to take time to get good at this.
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Offline Jade Sinapu

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2019, 02:57:45 pm »
I remember when someone asked me to draw a cube.  I did the "zero-point perspective" where I drew a square, with all other edges leaving the cube face, all parallel to eachother.  This does not exist at all in real life, only as a concept.

What we see in everyday life is not what is there.  I am still learning that. Our minds apparently filter all we see and reduces it to concepts.

Skies, yeah, I bet its harder than people think.
I still have trouble with geometric shapes.

Keep going, you will keep improving and amaze yourself.
If at first you don't succeed, you have the diode backwards, again! -- Me.

RIP Heidi 11.5yrs, 07/08/2019, 2000 UTC.

Offline cause the rat

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2019, 02:39:29 am »
Thanks Jade. Haven't even started on shapes and perspective. Other than what I did in watercolor. Color theory and how we perceive color is mind boggling. There's a famous landscape painting that's mostly shades of orange. When you look at it you see an area that's green. In reality it's a grayed out blue. Color theory that doesn't make sense until you see it in a painting. If the subject is in warm colors then shadow and depth are done in cool. If the subject is in cool colors then the shadow and depth are done in warm. Art has nothing to do with reality and everything to do with perception.

My biggest problem right now is my color value. Everything should be muted and pastel. My painting looks like a bowl of fruit loops in blue milk. Painted a few more skies. Gessoed over a few more skies. What's not seen never happened. :) It looks like I'm still playing with crayons. Going to fix that next.
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Offline cause the rat

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Re: A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.
« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2019, 03:16:31 am »
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=865506&stc=1&d=1556417208

Getting the idea of sky down. Top one is a keeper. A bit over worked but I like it. Kinda looks like a light glair off the left side. It's not. That's how I painted it.  Bottom one is way to overworked. Should have stopped half way through.  Painted a few more after these two. Not where I want to be. Know that will take a wile. But I'm getting results that I can live with. Learning a new lesson. When to stop adding paint. Stop covering up really good looking areas. If it looks good it is good. I wont make it look better. :)

Got the drawing down for my first full painting. Going to push myself hard. Once I get the WIP thread started I'll post a link to it here.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2019, 03:28:13 am by cause the rat »
It's been said that rats can gain access to your home by climbing up threw your toilet. I prefer to use the front door.