How it's Done
II always use high quality materials. I prefer synthetic brushes that hold water and have a nice snap to them. I like a medium tooth canvas, even for my portraits. I use Saunder's Waterford 300# cold press watercolor paper. I only use the highest quality professional paint, and I use several brands depending on the color and intensity I want.
I carefully plan my work and do a master drawing that I refer to during the creative process. Although most decisions are made before I ever start a piece of work, I leave room for changes if need as I proceed with the emphasis always on composition.
Acrylic Painting on Paper
Day 1 & 2
I tape my drawing to a piece of acrylic or watercolor board. I decided to do a split compliment color scheme using green, red and yellow. I begin by doing a detailed drawing on newsprint and then I trace it onto transfer paper and finally my watercolor paper. This way I have the drawing to refer to throughout the painting process. I always begin painting the background, then the foreground. I work backward to forward. In the above photograph, I have used masking fluid around the figure and masking tape on the the lower left side.
Day 3 & 4
I am working on the reflection since it is basically part of the foreground. I use a soft acrylic brush for most of the painting. On canvas I use acrylic brushes which are normally much firmer.
I am now working on the upper figure now since she is on top of the foreground and in front of the background. I do the face first since it is behind or underneath the clothing. The colors I have used for the skin are Cadmium Red Light, Cerulean Blue, and Cadmium Yellow Light plus white. I add Hooker's Green to the shadow areas since it will be reflected from the counter. Hooker's Green and Ultramarine Blue are the counter and chair colors. The clock in the background is Burnt Umber and Dioxazine purple. The wall is Yellow Ochre and Dioxazine Purple with Titanium White as needed.
Day 6 & 7
Now I am getting the hair in with Cadmium Yellow Light, Yellow Ochre and Dioxizine Purple with reflections here and there of green. I use a very stiff brush, separate the bristles and do a dry brush. Many times I will block out areas with masking fluid and a stiff brush, remove the fluid as I build layers of paint. The trim on the left is painted with yellow and purple and in the reflection I have added more purple and green.
Day 8 & 9
Now for the arm and the finishing touches. I paint the arm and finally the front of the blouse. The blouse is a Cadmium Yellow and Thalo Green Yellow and white as needed. I continue to build the darker values and add detail where needed.
I continue building transparent layers of paint until I am happy with the values. I have darkened the the face in the reflection so the focal point is on the upper face. I have darkened behind her face and hair and added layers of transparent greens and blues to the clock in the reflection. I refer back to my drawing if needed and retrace the areas I might have lost using a white Saral transfer paper.
Acrylic Painting on Canvas
Painting a car
Each day represents 8 - 10 hours
First I do a very detailed drawing, then I lay in the background with three thin layers of paint. I have used Prussian Blue and a combination of complimentary colors to make black.
The foreground is made from a mixture of Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue and Raw Sienna. This will be a limited palette in the primary colors of blue, red and yellow.
Day 2 & 3
I paint the background rectangle shapes, and I add some light reflections in the background with a gray mixture of Burnt Umber and Ultramarine Blue and white. I mix my colors with water to make a glaze and wash over the shapes. Next I mixed yellow ochre with Dioxazine Purple and paint the base of the building behind the car. I now work on the inside of the windows of the car, building up layers. Then, I work on the motor using neutral colors mixed from complimentary colors plus white as needed. I also mix the primary colors I'm using together to get gray colors. This repeats the colors so they are not isolated. Now I paint the inside seats using a warm gray by adding Raw Sienna to my gray mixture.
Day 4 & 5
I finish the seats and motor. The area in front of the motor is done using thin layers of paint. The first layer is the light neutral blue. When dry, I add the dark blue using Prussian Blue and the Burnt Sienna to lower the intensity a bit. I all the stipe area with a gray mix, light magenta, Ultramarine Blue and white. I paint the outside of the window frames using the gray mixture, and some magenta highlights. I add a glaze over the side window.
Now for the roof. I do three thin layers of blue, magenta and gray. It looks too disjointed and bright, so I mix a glaze of Cobalt Blue and white and wash this over the entire roof.
I paint the area around the windshield using the same combination I used on the roof. I paint the windshield wiper and the area between the roof and the sun visor. I start the area under the windows and motor. I use a mixture of Cobalt Blue and a touch of Cadmium Red Light and white. I paint several layers over both areas. Now I add some Ultramarine Blue and a touch of Burnt Umber for the darker blue under the motor. I lighten it with white and paint the reflection. Under the windows, I paint the reflections using Naples Yellow with purple and white for part of the buildings. The rest of the buildings and windows are painted with browns, yellows and gray. The trees are painted now using Prussian Blue and some magenta and lighter blue. I'll come back to these areas and the rest of the car before I finish the painting to refine everything.
Now for the mag wheels. I start with the inner metal part by mixing various greys with complimentary colors and white. When complete, I move to the outer tires. I paint flat areas over the tires in approximately the color of the tires, in this case, Burnt Umber, Ultramarine blue, and a little Raw Sienna with white as needed. When dry, I start putting in the treads with a black and brown mixture. Then I repaint inside each tread. Now, I add another layer of paint to the foreground, making sure that there is some transparency to the shadows. In a photograph, the shadows may look black, but in real life, you are able to see through them a bit. This entire process (the tires and mag wheels) takes a full day to do. I haven't found a quicker way to do them.
Day 8 & 9 & 10
Day 8, I paint the hood using the same colors that I did on the rest of the car. Day 9, I add the grill, emblems, part of the bumper and background for the little sign. Day 10, I start painting the back fender section and the car reflection. I use Raw Sienna, Dioxidine Purple and Nickel Azo Yellow with white as needed for the car. There will be three layers of paint on the reflection gradually getting the values changed to look more like a reflection than simply "painted on."
Day 11 & 12
I finish the reflection of the car, the running board and the back fender with reflections. The reflections in the fender are Naples Yellow and purple for the building, some magenta and dusty blues. I have done three layers of paint in order to get the depth and sheen. I start adding the first layer of paint to the front fender.