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January 13, 2019

Painting in Progress

by Eric Thompson in Acrylics, Demonstrations

This is a selection of photos showing how I develop a painting. This is an acrylic painting on canvas of Bishop Auckland at Christmas. Below that is the process used to paint abstract acrylics.

I start by painting in the background sky then gradually block in the buildings getting stronger to the front. Figures are dotted in randomly using just black acrylic, then colour is added to bring them to life. Windows are added and bright spots of yellows and whites accentuate the light coming from them. Some reflections are added to the wet roads and brighter patches of snow are laid down.

How To Paint Abstract Acrylics

  1. Black Out The Canvas.

    Use black gesso to cover the surface of the canvas. This helps gives you immediate coverage and sets you free to just paint.

  2. Use Textured Mediums.

    Mix a textured paste such as resin sand or black lava from Liquitex onto the canvas the same time as the black gesso. This gives a tooth so that paint can be dragged across it just catching the particles on the top surface.

  3. Block In The Larger Shapes.

    Use a large brush to paint in the main shapes of your painting. A brush at the beginning will work the paint into the textured surfaces.

  4. Use A Palette Knife

    Use a broad palette knife to drag colour across just catching the textured surface, Add a lighter colour to the knife and repeat the strokes, just with a lighter touch. Build up the paint to give a more abstract feel with the black gesso peeping through.How to paint acrylics

  5. Add Detail.

    Use a brush to define smaller shapes such as figures or architecture. Then drag an accent of colour over the shape using a smaller palette knife.

  6. Stop Early.

    Don’t overdo the detail in an abstract painting, let the viewer’s eye add their own vision. Less is more.

  7. Review Your Painting.

    Keep stepping back from your easel to see the bigger picture. On this painting the trees were just the black gesso with colour dragged in between and across the broken surface.