I just started painting. I bought some acrylics to fix some scratches in my wifes Christmas manger and thought “what a waste it would be” to let these paints just sit in a box somewhere forgotten and not used.
So, I decided to try my hand again – old as it may be.
The first time I thought I could paint something was in sixth grade, in fact my instructor, Tolley Caution at Junior High 72 in Queens, NY, inspired me to follow an art profession.
My shining piece was “Man on the Bowsprit”, tempera on paper with varnish. The varnish has preserved it all these years and gave it a nice oil-like sheen.
Other pieces were more poster style – simplifying the pallet to 8 colors or less.
I’ve always liked charcoal and pastels for their ability to blend and wanted to work in oils for that reason.
But, I had these acrylics, and being frugal, I just can’t let them go to waste. So, throwing more money into the experiment – I bought a couple of brushes and a few of small canvases, 5 inch squares and a 5 x 7 rectangle.
My first attempt is a painting of Mt. Fuji which I got to see while traveling with my wife and son on the “Bullet Train” from Tokyo to Hiroshima.
On a later trip my wife was able to snap a picture with her phone of the snow capped mountain.
With this painting I learned that I did not have to rely on my brushes to make textures in the paint and experimented with blending colors and trying to capture atmospheric perspective and time of day.
Next, I tried to capture a surreal view I captured while first-time surfing in Hawaii.
The yellow edge for the surfboard on the black sand along side the windblown tree and blue sky that showed the threat of rain was a very striking moment for me.
Note the turquoise swim trunks drying amongst the branches.
With this piece I learned to trust my brush, that any mistake can become a new form or object and to just let it flow and work within its boundaries.
I really wanted to paint this scene much larger, but I figured I can test my skills first on an economical size. The size is great for economy of costs for paint, time of execution, and clean-up!
I was taught to mix your black from the hue you want it to represent. I mix all my colors from the three basics plus white.
While on a visit to Brevard, NC with my family we caught a glimpse of their local celebrity “The White Squirrel“.
I was fortunate enough to have my camera in hand and quickly snapped a photo of a quick little guy after he scampered up a tree with his prize in hand.
In this miniature painting I learned some blending techniques for the shadows around the face and the shape of the arms and leg. I also dabbled with the translucency of the medium to get a wisp-like feather effect on the squirrel tail. I also tinkered with having multiple colors blending while the brush is being applied.
Remember, these little canvases are 5 inches in their smallest dimension, the height of 5 quarters.
Each painting took about two hours from set-up to cleanup. And the big thing I learned is that I need more brushes and a lot of lessons.