Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Vicki Norman - Indian Townscape in Acrylics

What an excellent teacher and communicator Vicki is!

She usually paints in oils en plein air but teaches in all media. For our demonstration she worked in acrylic using as reference a photograph she had taken in India.

A painting usually begins with thumbnails using just black shapes onto white paper to establish that the composition works. When working from a photograph she will also print it first in monochrome as that shows the values and if the picture doesn't work tonally it will not work in colour. The next step is a small scale sketch such as the one shown here.

Drawing prepared for demo
Vicki had prepared her drawing in advance and also added some texture to the upper right of the drawing using a heavy acrylic medium.

She would normally mix that in with her pigment but it takes a long time to dry so she had applied it well in advance so it formed a textured ground to paint over it during the demonstration.

Do take a look at her website to see more of her work.

She uses a double primary palette but had added burnt sienna and a bright pink (for the saris). She recommends continual practice with colour mixing using just the primaries to gain confidence in colour matching. A suggestion was to spend 20 minutes or so practising using whatever remains in the palette after finishing work on a painting. She used a palette knife to mix her colours taking the time to colour match them with her reference photograph and to check how they work with each other. Getting the colours mixed in advance sets here free to concentrate on the creative process.
Paints were mixed before painting began
With opaque media the dark values are added first and that gives shape to the painting fairly quickly. Vicki rarely adds water to acrylic paint as it can appear slightly cloudy. A gloss medium (acrylic polymer) can be used to thin paint if required. Applying the medium as a varnish to a finished painting after it has dried avoids having some areas shining and others matte.
Taking shape as the darks are painted first
Part of the reference photo is visible in this shot
Although Vicki has a fine art degree this didn't teach her much about painting so she sought private tuition. Her recommendation for choosing a tutor was to seek out someone whose work is the sort of thing you aspire to. She learnt a lot from Barry John Raybold who has set up the Virtual Art Academy.

The images that follow show progress through to the end of the demonstration.
Thick acrylic medium added to paint
creates texture for the foreground

Notice how the wall has been painting to enhance textural
appearance and paint has been thin with water
and the brush has been pressed against the top to create runs.

Colour is beginning to appear on the figures

Notice how little detail is needed for the figures

This is where the demonstration finished

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