A4 Skb, acrylic:

Trying a different approach on this one. Starting with a prepared page I slipped some thin Burnt Umber or white to make general tonal decisions before marking out proportions. Proportions are vital and a weakness that has cost me time in repairs in previous pictures. Just as tricky is composition. Placement on the page gives some sense of meaning in the picture. That meaning could be a narrative fragment, or mood.

Half hour in…

Plus another hour, done.

I’m happy with this one, it’s got quite a classic look and took less time than any of he others. Skin tones used Yellow Ochre, a first for me. By itself, ochre has a sallow look in skin, but with a sniff of vermilion, the magic happens. In real life, these pictures are all smoother than the photo suggests. To finish, a few fine details will help – eyelashes and a bit of modelling on the top lip. I can hardly wait to see ochre in oil.

Oil on canvas, 10×16″.

Canvas, with gesso and burnt sienna ground.

Day 1: drawing up

Day 2: scrubbed it back and redrawn the face bigger.

Texturing the landscape.

I know I need to develop landscape skills more, see above. I’ve always relied on photography for landscape. This will have a milky zinc glaze for the fog. But that can’t go on until.other stuff has dried enough.

A4, sketchbook, acrylic.

Afterna faulty start, this is looking good tonaly. In he next stage, we’ll seen whether I went to far with tonal underpainting. I don’t really know what happens when colour is laid over black.

Day 2.

It may be strange painting over black and white overpainting. Possibly, this monochrome ground could suck the colour out of overpainting layers. We’ll soon see

Nearly done.

In conclusion: Adding colour was, initially a struggle against the grey. It’s true, grey under-painting does indeed suck the colour out of the image. I compensated by adding extra layers of colour thus wasting the time spent on the second grey layer. A picture like this only needs 3 layers, not 4.


I’m not doing it that way again. The monochrome picture could have been left and a second version made in colour that would not have take much longer to end with two pictures.

A4 sketchbook: Old lumpy acrylics

This not my own paint, I was visiting and found some.old but good quality Cryla Galleria paint in the garage. The range of colours is very narrow and the white is very lumpy. Nonetheless, it gives interesting texture for free.

With the DofE season about to start, I fancy taking a set of acrylics for campsite evenings. They need to be small tubes and a selection that I’ll actually use.

  • Titanium white
  • Burnt umber
  • Cadmium orange
  • Pthalo blue
  • Cerulean blue
  • Rose madder
  • (Pthalo green?),

Oil, A3

On canvas paper, A3.

It looks a bit goofy now, but that’s easy to fix. I would have used a canvas board but this is about sorting out the best brushes and colours. Some of the tubes of oil paint are a bit hard; one had to be chucked out.

I’m trying to follow the pattern used in recent acrylic painting – 1, ground; 2, tonal underpainting; 3, colour warmth underpaint. 4 overpaint…

Next layer will be linseed oil instead of Turpentine. I have found a tube of bright pthalo green, that’ll be fun.

There goes the pthalo green.
Finished, I looks a bit pale in this shot.