Acrylic Painting – Planet
Acrylic paint is a great medium because it is easy to mix, quick drying and washes off! I started painting with acrylics a few years ago and sold some paintings in cafes. My preferred technique is to use fine brushes and toothpicks for tiny detail.
I bought a canvas (available from art stores), acrylic paints in blue, magenta, red, white, yellow and black, a packet of fine brushes, kebab sticks and some toothpicks. During all my paintings I have used a plastic palette with concave areas, a water mug and newspaper for underneath the painting area.
I painted the canvas with white acrylic paint (including the sides) and let it dry. I repeated this twice. Painting the background with white means the colours are more vibrant and also provides a better texture than the original canvas grain.
Then I drew on with a pencil a rough design of what I wanted to paint (in this case, the circle for the planet, the continents and the checkerboard area). I find this helps to keep shapes in position and proportion while painting.
Using a large brush, I started by painting the large areas of colour (like oceans, black background, grey/white of moon and green land patches). I also painted the sides of the canvas in black. While the colour was still drying, I added some dabs of yellow and white for the oceans and land with a medium size brush.
After the first layer had dried, I repainted the black background and canvas sides and also the oceans, land etc. I also re-dabbed with the yellow and white (this allowed me to work out what looked best and rectify it on the second layer). I also painted the checkerboard pattern, making sure to paint another coat of white over the background canvas (to keep the layers even). Although acrylic paint doesn’t build up much thickness, I still find that a few levels above the background canvas can meet unevenly with it.
After the second layer dried, I did a third layer where I went over all areas completed so far with a light coating of the same colour. While this layer was still wet, I used a fine brush to detail the yellow beach areas, blue rivers, red teardrop with eye and whirligig thing. Some of the elements of this painting were influenced by my favourite two artists, Wassily Kandinsky and Miro.
When the third layer had dried, I repainted over the yellow beaches etc from the second layer to bring out the vibrant colour.
For the fourth layer, I used toothpicks to dab paint on small objects, such as the yachts, hearts, trees, flowers, birds, mushrooms and sheep. I was after an effect of busyness that would make people want to look closely at the painting.
The fifth layer consisted of touching up the white yacht sails etc, but I also used the end of a kebab stick to paint the moon craters. I dipped the kebab stick in black paint, blotted it a few times on newspaper until it showed a crescent shape, then applied it to the moon.
To finish, I let the painting dry and applied a clear gloss varnish of two coats (drying 24 hours in between each). I usually find either nail varnish or spray varnish is quite effective.
I found a very cheap picture framer and got a wooden knot frame put on the canvas. There was no need for glass, due to the gloss varnish and I am pleased to say, that after many years of being exposed to cigarette smoke in crowded rooms, the colours in my paintings still look good!