Successful Painting: Arcrylics Essay, Research Paper
Successful Painting: Acrylics
Ching Hao once said, “There are six essentials in painting. The first is called spirit; the second , rhythm; the third, thought; the fourth, scenery; the fifth, the brush; and the last is the ink.” This brings us to the three main steps to a successful acrylic painting: planning, preparing, and painting, to include all six of the essential elements.
The first step to painting with acrylics is planning. Deciding what to paint is the first step of planning for most. Sometimes inspiration comes from just wanting to paint and then deciding what to paint or seeing something first and then deciding to paint it. A small minority of artists simply pick up a brush and start painting without any plan of action. Sometimes this method leads to disastrous results, but the artist usually develops a plan as they go along, eventually acquiring a subject for their piece. For the beginner though, picking a subject or scene is usually the best idea. Once an idea or subject is acquired, sketching it is the next step so that a clearer view can be attained as well as working out any problems with proportion or details. After a sketch is drawn and possible problems worked out, a workplace needs to be found. It needs to be quiet with minimal distractions and a place where there is no danger of your easel being knocked over. It is also a good idea if it is a place that is easy to clean or doesn’t matter if paint gets on the surrounding surfaces.
The next main step is preparation. For this step the workplace need to be prepared, for example, plastic laid on the floor or surrounding objects that shouldn’t get paint on them. The canvas size you wish to use also needs to be brought to the workplace, as well as brushes and paint. Paper towels, a water bowl and water are also necessary to have for cleaning and using different colors for the same brush. The next step is preparing the canvas. For acrylics there really is not that much preparation needed compared to the preparation needed for oil painting. Some artists choose to paint a layer or two of just white paint over the canvas just to make the surface a little bit more even, others just do a wash of color (using water-diluted acrylics) to give them an idea of where the warm and cool colors will go. This method also helps add dimension to the painting later on.
Now comes the fun part, painting. A common saying among acrylic painters is “the greatest advantage of acrylics is that they dry so fast and the greatest disadvantage of acrylics is that they dry so fast. This advantage/disadvantage allows for mistakes to be painted over in only an hour or so compared to the weeks or months it would take to paint over mistakes with oils. At the same time though, this leaves little flexibility to work with the paint while it is still wet. With acrylic painting, the background is painted first, this includes the sky, the ground or anything in the distance or behind your main focus, depending on your subject. Examples of this might include a distant tree-line or wall, this depends on what your subjects surroundings are. After the background is done, the middle ground is painted. This includes shadows and the base colors and outlines of the main subject. After that layer is finished, high-lights are added, which include the places where light would land on the subject and surroundings, along with details, which would include seams in clothing, details on feathers, jewelry, and knotholes in boards.
Through careful planning, preparing and painting you can achieve success with acrylics. These three steps offer structure to acquire all but the first essential. When that first essential is present and these steps are followed, a successful painting will evolve.