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Intro to Acrylic Painting

Alex Rowe, Illustrator & Children's Book Artist

Alex Rowe
Illustrator & Children’s Book Artist

♪ Alex’s Studio Playlist ♪

Winsor & Newton

Materials provided by Winsor & Newton

Fredrix Canvas

Materials provided by Fredrix Canvas

Acrylic Painting Supplies

Art Supplies: Tall Plastic Container
Art Supplies: Off Set Palette Knife
Art Supplies: Acrylic Paint
Winsor & Newton Acrylic Matt Medium
Winsor & Newton Slow Dri Medium
Winsor & Newton Acrylic Brushes
Winsor & Newton Pro Acrylic Gloss Varnish
Winsor & Newton Pro Acrylic Semi-Gloss Varnish
Art Supplies: Blue Painter's Tape
Art Supplies: Freezer Paper
Art Supplies: Winsor & Newton Payne's Grey
Art Supplies: Winsor & Newton Titanium White
Art Supplies: Winsor & Newton Permanent Rose
Art Supplies: Winsor & Newton Naples Yellow
Art Supplies: Winsor & Newton Mixing White
Art Supplies: Winsor & Newton Cobalt Green
Art Supplies: Winsor & Newton Cobalt Blue
Art Supplies: Winsor & Newton Alizarin Crimson


Ruth Lee

Ruth Lee
Project Assistant

Acrylic Still Life Painting, Ruth Lee

“I think more than anything, still life paintings are an exercise in patience, determination, and artistic stamina. Although it can be a bit tedious to see to completion, there is no better way to hone technical skills, observation, and understanding of color dynamics.

One of the many challenges I encountered while working on this piece was mixing the right colors I wanted, and properly shading areas of both shadow and different tone altogether. I found it was extremely easy to end up wasting a whole bunch of paint trying to mix a small swatch for just one small area of the painting, because you keep adding and adding paint and mixing it in and realize later that you have a giant lump on your palette that you won’t even use.

Additionally, I learned the hard way not to let brushes soak in my water container for too long (and completely dry them on a towel before diving into paint again), because when painting larger swaths of color, I began to realize that even a tiny bit of water turned my paint into a wash and killed the thick opacity of color I wanted.

Though it felt a bit like a game of whack-a-mole scrambling to fix constant technical difficulties I ran into while painting, this very aspect of the project is what made it so valuable: it allowed me to self-diagnose my problems and technique errors and teach myself lessons for what to do in the future.”

Julie Sharpe

Julie Sharpe
Project Assistant

Acrylic Still Life Painting, Julie Sharpe

“Most of my work tends to be focused on portraits or figures, so painting a still life felt refreshing for me. The first aspect I focused on was creating a visually interesting composition. I didn’t want to cram the scene with many objects, but I also didn’t want to place the objects in a predictable way.

I experimented with many compositions before choosing a final setup. The objects were placed on a silk cloth, which I moved around to create folds that would be interesting to paint. Next, I made a preliminary observational sketch with pencil on a wood canvas, and then began mixing colors. A challenge I faced during this time was knowing which colors were most important to the piece – I wanted to cover as much surface area in as little time as possible.

Then, I would be able to focus on details later as opposed to starting with detail work (which is a habit I have). After covering most of the canvas, I started to correct mistakes and work on details. At this point, I worked mostly from a photograph that I took of the piece because I got hungry and had to use some of the food for a meal!

Although I think I should’ve worked from observation the entire time, I learned a lot from this painting. Creating a still life was a rewarding experience for me, and I’d love to paint more of them in the future.”

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