Acrylic Tree

Experimenting with lots of new stuff, a new space, a new easel, new palette, new paints, and new technique. I cleaned up the den and rearranged things so I could set up a more or less perminent painting space. I modified a camera tripod to use as an easel. I'm trying a new Masterson's Sta-Wet plastic palette box which I'm using with Golden Fluid acrylic paints, and I'm both mixing colors and painting with a metal palette knife. I placed my iPad just to the right of the easel to use as a photo reference. The photo I'm using is one I took in the Oregon Garden a few weeks ago.

I haven't painted with acrylics for over 40 years. So, I'm re-learning how they mix and dry. I'm working small, 5 x 7 inches (13 x 17.3 cm), so I can work fast and have the paint stay wet.

I started by projecting the image onto the paper with my 3M Streaming projector and tracing the image with a pencil. I then applied Scotch- Blue Painter's tape for delicate surfaces to mask the edges of the painting. The paper I'm using is an Aches Hot Pressed 140 lb. Watercolor Block. I mounted the block on my homemade canvas/panel holder which is made out of 1/8 inch plywood. It has two wooden dowels that hold the panel at the top and a sliding block with a thumb screw at the bottom. It's my own design. The palette and water containers are clipped to another piece of 1/8 inch plywood. This shelf is clipped to the central stays of the tripod.

I cut a piece of Glad Press'n Seal sealing wrap to line the bottom of the palette. I sticks nicely to the bottom and is a lot cheaper to use than the special papers that come with the Masterson palette and cleanup is a breeze.

I bought a sample pack of the Golden Fluid acrylics. I comes with 10 colors in 1 fl. oz. (30 ml) squeeze bottles. The colors I used were: Hansa Yellow Medium, Pyrrole Red, Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Green, Burnt Sienna, and Titanium White.

I like my new set-up. It's very comfortable and easy to move around. The tripod easel panel holder combination is stable. The mixing palette is a good size. The blue masking tape comes off easily and cleanly. The iPad works well for photo reference. I plugged it in and set the AutoLock to Never.

Pencil sketching a projected image speeds things up considerably. I only used it to place the basic shapes on the page. As I painted I looked at the iPad and as you can see I wasn't a slave to the reference photo. I simplified the values, colors, and details.

The hot pressed paper and fluid acrylic is a nice combination. You can make very interesting marks and mixes with the palette knife. If you zoom in, you can see how the wet paint blends with each stroke of the palette knife. I love it when a medium gives you a gift like that.

All in all I'd say my first experiment with acrylics was a success.



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