Tag Archives: acrylic paint


6 Jun

Pop Art Head 1

I work part-time for a charity for people who are homeless, delivering art and craft sessions in different venues across the city. It’s much easier to engage people in crafts than in fine art, crafting seems to be more accessible and less threatening. I try out different things to motivate people who don’t think that they can paint or draw or sculpt to engage with art. I recently ordered a stencil book,  bought in some small square canvasses and did a quick little stencil painting during today’s session. It certainly attracted a lot of attention.

Pop Art Head 2

I used a stencil brush to put on the basic image in black acrylic (Liquitex Heavy Body) and while it was drying I cleaned the stencil on a piece of blue kitchen towel with a wet-wipe. I really like the ethereal image that appeared on the towel. Then I added some brush strokes in light blue and orange to give it a 1960s Pop Art feel. It was very quick and showed people how they could think about using stencils and paint to create artwork for their new homes. It also taught people quite a bit about how to use paint, without them realising it. I’m not a big fan of painting but I really like the Liquitex, it’s very strongly pigmented and can be thinned out to use in translucent washes, as with the stripes, or used fairly impasto, as I did with the stencil.


WAM night June 2018

Crazy Hair, Don’t Care

29 Mar

crazy hair dont care

I’ve been working on this painting for a little while, I rarely paint but this is a birthday present for my dear young nephew, just turned 14 and the owner of some very unruly hair. I painted this from a photograph which I particularly like for its typical teenage insouciance.

I used Liquitex Heavy Body acrylic thinned with water into translucent glazes, which I overlaid, rather like painting with watercolour. It’s painted onto a stretched, gessoed white canvas.


24 Mar

detail 3

I’ve been carrying on painting, I don’t normally paint but this is for a special someone. I don’t really know how to approach paint so I’ve come at it from the point of view of the printmaker that I am and I’m adapting a technique I use for monotypes, where I layer translucent glazes of yellow, red and blue, creating all the colours from the interplay of these colours on top of each other, adapted by the intensity of the brushstrokes. I think, if I remember correctly, that the Impressionists did something similar, they didn’t mix their colours before application to the canvas.

The monotype technique I use was taught to me by USA-based artist/printmaker Vinita Voogd, if you want to see how I do it please click here to my Tecchie section.

Colouring In

19 Mar


I rarely paint, it’s not a medium I feel much affinity with but I’ve been working on a painting the past couple of days, it’s for someone special. The reason I don’t paint much is because I feel that all my creativity goes into drawing and once I’ve got the drawing as I want it, painting just seems like colouring in, which is quite nice but nowhere near as creative, in my opinion, as drawing. Although I know a lot of painters who wouldn”t agree with me on this.

I’m using acrylic paints, thinned with water, to paint translucent layers of pigment onto a white primed canvas. This is a small detail of the painting in progress.



Big Banners

14 Oct

oppsFor the past few weeks, I’ve spent a couple of afternoons at a local drugs project, working with service users and volunteers to make banners for their Open Day. They’ve been on a series of educational courses and the project wanted banners to reflect this so we started by asking the service users to come up with a list of words that represent their feelings about the programme. We used ‘Achievement; Reachable; Opportunities; Confidence and Purpose’ and also included the name of the programme, ‘Links Coastal’.

I sourced some very cheap rolls of primed canvas, about 2 x 8 feet, in a local cut-price store and Swansea Print Workshop donated a load of used acrylic paints that had been mixed with screenprint medium; this made them very easy to use.We did a practice session on the first afternoon using cheap chalky pastels and sheets of newspaper stuck together and then chose the best designs to reproduce onto the canvas. I really like the results, they should look fab when they’re put up on the project walls.

Woollies Pigeons

3 Sep

Ink sketch: Woollies pigeon #1.

I sometimes go for coffee to Waterstones bookshop in Swansea, where the cafe is upstairs opposite the old Woolworths store. After Woollies closed, the signage was colonised by pigeons; before that, the signs were always lit up and too hot for the pigeons to sit on.  I liked to sit in the big old window and it gave me a great view over the street and started sketching the pigeons. I’d never drawn birds before and I found that they never keep still. Not when I’m looking at them anyway.

I went regularly for a few months and did dozens of drawings, using a variety of Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens.  Because they’re constantly moving, the sketches are very impressionistic and capture the essence of the birds rather than trying – and failing – to be accurate zoological drawings. Recently the store was re-opened with different signage and I must make time to go back and draw the pigeons on their new perches which is very different to the old Woollies lettering; it’s more loopy.


Ink sketch: Woollies pigeon #2.


I mounted some of them onto hand-coloured Zercoll paper, which I squeegeed with a gold metallic Acrylic System 3 paint, thinned with Acrylic medium. I squeegeed it straight onto the paper, rather than using a screen so it was very textured, rather than flat.

It’s very civilised sitting in a café in a bookshop in a converted early 20th century cinema, sketching. Must do it more often.

Going Over To The Dark Side: Experimenting with Acrylic Paint.

21 Aug
Acrylic sketch: Theresa in jeans.

I’m not a natural born painter – I like scribbling and printmaking but I’ve recently been going over to the dark side and experimenting with paint, with varying success. Watercolours and Oils are a joy to work with and I’ve had one attempt at using Gouache, which I quite liked. However, Acrylics just leave me cold. I can’t get used to the plastic nature of them; the speed of drying; the intensity of the colours; and simply the way they feel on a brush or on my fingers. Acrylic seems to me like a very clumsy medium for painting – I’ve used it for screenprinting and it works beautifully.


I managed to do one life study in Acrylic which I’m reasonable happy with. We did some clothed studies of our model Theresa at our life drawing group and I managed to get this one done. I usually have lots of fine detail in my work; preferring to draw directly with very fine ink pens and incorporating fine drawing detail into my monotypes, so handling something as clumsy and opaque as Acrylic paint was a challenge. Anyway, here it is. It’s OK but I won’t be using Acrylic again in a hurry.

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