Tag Archives: acrylic

Oh boy, more pirates!

I just found these photos of the decorations we did for Vacation Bible School at Third Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh.  The theme was pirates, and since I’m your go-to guy when it comes to pirate stuff, Michelle (our associate pastor) asked me to come up with something.

I sketched images for banners, then gridded them off and transferred the designs onto 12 ft lengths of Kraft paper.  We grabbed every jar of poster paint in the playroom, then 3 of my Sunday school students, Emma, Charlotte and Hannah colored in the areas I’d outlined.

Michelle needed an area for kids to sit, so we bought a cheap rug and I painted a treasure map on it in acrylic paint.  I don’t remember what the tiki hut was for.

Dead man’s chest o’ books

Update: Welcome, Bittersweet Harvest readers!

Now that it’s December, I’m wistfully recalling the first hot weekend of last Spring, the one I used as an excuse to paint outdoors.  I created some surface decoration on this wooden bookcase, to be auctioned off at a charity event for Beginning With Books.

I chose for my theme: pirates—natch.

I enlarged the sketch by drawing a 1″ grid over it, and drawing a 1′ grid on the bookshelf. The sketch was drawn so that one inch equals one foot.

The winning bid was from my pal Charlene Langer, an instructor at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

What do I paint second?

Michael asks:

Thanks so much for posting your technique, I am currently working on my first painting and have been doing exactly what you’ve done here. i think i did do something wrong though, a friend of mine said to do a light wash over the entire piece ,but I think it just confused me. Anyhow , why do you not put more detail in the underpainting, are you modeling further with your glazes?

I’m not sure what the light wash is for, either.  I’m assuming you’re using acrylic paints, which dry to a hard finish and so allow you to paint a wash on top of them.  I use gouache, and a wash would scrub off whatever was painted underneath.  So, I start my paintings with washes and build up to opaque brushstrokes. A wash is paint made transparent by adding water.  A glaze is paint made transparent by adding a medium—for acrylic, glazing medium; for oil paint, linseed oil and varnish—or glazing medium.

I do an underpainting to block in and organize big areas of light and dark.  I long ago found out it’s too complicated for me to figure out light and dark and color all at the same time.  There’s no point in me putting lots of detail in the underpainting, because I’m only going to paint the same details on top with opaque paint.  In fact, to discourage myself from getting into details while underpainting, I use an oversized brush.

Here’s a step-by-step example of how I build up from an underpainting.  This is a continuation of a previous post, What do I paint first?