Monthly Archives: August 2013

I am loving my new acrylic paint …

After a frustrating week of not being able to buy my art supplies on-line, I was so desperate to get paints that I drove up to Porto ( just under 2 hours away) on Tuesday.

I enjoy visiting the city, so made it into a mini break and stayed over night. I even managed to get to the beach, where I took about 140 photos of the sea, waves, rocks and people, thinking they might be useful when I attempt painting seascapes. More to the point I was able to get the paints and other stuff I needed to continue painting.

porto and beach 055

Today is the first chance I have had to use them. I have been longing to try them out, but had other jobs to do first.

I read bits from the “blue and yellow don’t make green ” book, and thought I would try to do some of the exercises, to understand more about these new colours.

Well, that lasted about 10 minutes. I decided it was far too scientific for how I was feeling this morning

After 2 days of mathematical calculations and measuring material to make roman blinds, painting little squares of colour seemed too scientific and precise. I felt like being more open more “free” with my painting exercise .
So I put out my 6 new colours and white, tried all the different permutations and painted a colour tree.

I am sure I won’t remember how I made all the colours, but I have a better understanding of colour mixing from it, and it was much more enjoyable for my brain.


1. The Liquitex artist paint I bought is MUCH more intense, and vibrant than the cheap stuff I use for crafts.
2. Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson makes a nice purple colour but Phthalocyanine Blue and Cadmium Red is almost black.
3. Phthalocyanine Blue and Hansa Yellow makes a very vivid green, whilst Cadmium Yellow and Ultramarine Blue is a much more mossy colour.

4. I enjoy painting trees a lot …

5. I would not have the patience ( even if I had the understanding) to attempt Pointillism ! Hats off to Monsieurs Signac and Seurat.

6. Contrasting paint colours are Red + Green Yellow + Purple Blue + Orange

7. It’s amazing how many beige, grey possibilities there are with so few colours. The difficulty will be remembering how to make them again !

8. The more I experiment, the more I find out.

9. Many artists use contrasting colour in shadows. Shadows are rarely solid black .

10. I love gloopy thick paint …

So that’s it for today. I am off to continue with my experimenting. I want to try working out how the warmness or coolness of the reds, yellow, and blues affects what browns and greys are made.

I think I might need a bit more of a scientific approach for this part.

Colour . The fun and the theory

 red, ochre  ultramarine blue  and white

red, ochre ultramarine blue and white

I have had lots of fun with colour this week. I have been seeing what colours I can make with the few paints I have, and have been learning to paint clouds.

I made a list of paints I thought would be good last week and tried to buy them on-line, but due to the complicated banking system about buying on-line here, I was not able to so, and have been waiting for a ” virtual bank card” all week.

The delay turned out to be a good thing, as after making the order I was given some paints that were on my list and a book called “Blue and yellow don’t make green” to read, which explained more about colour mixing

So after a bit of colour mixing, and book reading,
my list became ….

Phthalo blue or Cerulean blue (blue-green)
Cadmium yellow light ( orange-yellow)
Cadmium lemon or Hansa yellow ( green-yellow)
Quinacridone violet or alizarin crimson (violet- red)
Cadmium Red light ( orange- red)
Titanium white ( lots)

I was lucky to have been given some tubes of
ultramarine blue ( violet-blue)
Yellow ochre
Burnt sienna

So with these colours I Hope to make all the colours I need. (once I have the understanding to go with them )


1. The colour wheel is not the best way to understand about mixing. Pure red , pure blue and pure yellow paint does not exist. So when they show red and blue making a lovely purple it is not correct. It depends which red and which blue. Some do make purples and others make sludgy grey browns.

2. The Swedish painter Anders Zorn is well-known for using as few as 4 colours, yellow ochre, vermillion, black and white, to create amazing works of art .

3. Mixing two or three colours can make a huge colour range, as long as you think about the amounts and don’t just add them willy- nilly. Otherwise you get MUD !

4. A small plastic plate is not big enough to mix colours ( for me any way) Bigger is better.

5. White is so important in acrylic painting. I seem to need more of it than any other colour.

6. The colours in the artists paints I was given are much more intense than the ones in my Amsterdam student paints, and feel nicer too.

7. Reading about how colours are made, and how we see them is like being back in a school science lesson, except this time I am more interested !

8. Every day I paint, I learn something about colour ( and composition , tone, light , shape perspective loads of other stuff too ) so the more I do, the more I learn …. and the more FUN I have !

Here’s what I have done this week

Paint Glorious Paint …

This week, I have not done my 5 quick sketches. The reason being that after dabbling with acrylic paints a few weeks ago, I seem to have turned into a painting ” addict”
Last week I made a tree painting from one of my sketches. I then did another,and another and another. I only stopped when I ran out of white paint !

My whole week has been taken up with this new passion.
When my paints ran out, I decided I should buy a few good quality acrylics, and see what the difference is with the ones I have been using . I found a place where I can buy on-line, but when the LONG list of paint colours appeared I had no idea which red, blue or yellow I should buy. The choice was enormous.

So I then spent a whole day reading up about colour mixing, making a colour wheel , finding out about different artists preferred colours, which colours are best for portraits and landscapes, and working with a limited palette.

facig 20013 029

After all my research, I ordered what I think I need, and am waiting patiently for them to arrive.

In the mean time, a friend lent me some great books on landscapes painting, colour mixing and painting techniques, which I am reading. She also,very kindly, gave me some of her acrylic paints, so I don’t have to go ” cold turkey” until my order arrive.
Thank-you Bren !

My quick daily sketches led me to this new medium, and I am really enjoying learning about it .

My sketching now has a different focus. I want to paint the landscapes and skies around the area, and so I am going to concentrate more on drawing trees, hills, skies, flowers and plants, to enable me to do that.

I have always wanted to paint, but for many years have shied away from it. I dabbled with watercolours ages ago but was never happy with the results, and quickly gave up.

This time It feels different. I like the feel of the paints more for a start , and I am no longer expecting to pick up a brush and to paint everything well. I am willing to ” work at it ” and to practice.

I will keep you updated on how I progress, and share what I learn along the way.( Once my paints arrive )

Here are my first attempts using a small pack of Amsterdam acrylics on canvas paper and card, using what brushes I could find .

Sketching challenge – Trees .

I enjoyed painting with acrylics for the last challenge, so I have done some more.

Here’s what they look like .

I also made a few fimo pieces which I coloured using either acrylics , powdered pastel , or eyeshadow .

So that’s it for this weeks challenge, now to continue with some more painting .

Enjoy the rest of your week-end .

Sketching Challenge – a week of trees

no shortage of trees to study !

no shortage of trees to study !

This week I chose one subject for my sketching challenge. Trees .

I am surrounded by them where I live, but sometimes there seems so many I don’t know where to begin .

So rather than try to sketch lots together, I picked one tree to do a sketch of from life, and then tried some from photos and others were a bit made up as I went along.

Now to decide what my end piece will be ……

I really enjoyed painting with acrylics last week, so I might continue and try a tree painting. I am not sure yet .

Have a look tomorrow, to see what my trees inspired me to make.