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Acrylic Landscape Painting Techniques – Part 3

landscape painting palette acrylics

“With a limited palette, the older painters could do just as well as today… what they did was sounder.”
Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Lessons for an Absolute Beginner

Part 3 of this 4 part video series for beginners to acrylic painting

The first thing I do is block-in the bottom half of the sky with the pinky tone; I’m not worried about too much detail, just getting a general tone blocked in.

This helps you judge relative tones and assess the next layer of colours that need to be added.

The ‘block in’ is still using the same premixed colours that we used for the sky and the clouds.
By using a limited palette, it makes it easier to create a visual balance and harmony.

Continue ReadingAcrylic Landscape Painting Techniques – Part 3

Acrylic landscape painting techniques – Part 1

acrylic landscape painting

“Painting is very easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do”
Edgar Degas

Lessons for an absolute beginner

A step-by-step approach to acrylic painting

In this series, I will be posting a weekly video on my YouTube channel to follow along at home. It’s free to subscribe to the channel so you can keep updated with the painting progress.

Continue ReadingAcrylic landscape painting techniques – Part 1

How to Apply a Varnish to an Acrylic Painting

varnishing_an acrylic painting

An uneven finish in your painting, some parts matte, other parts glossy can be very off-putting to the viewer.

A unified finish enhances the colours and is a great way to add both a professional finish to your paintings and add dollars to the sale price.

No one technique for varnishing suits every situation. The texture of the paint surface, the desired finish, speed of completion, etc all affect which technique is best to use.

On a side note, it’s also the number 1 trick to making your acrylic paintings look like oils…

Continue ReadingHow to Apply a Varnish to an Acrylic Painting

The 5 Key Differences between Acrylics vs Oil paints

The difference Oils and Acrylics

A Beginners Guide

What is the difference between Oils vs Acrylic Paints?

Do you want to learn to paint but don’t know where to start?

Get excited about all the paintings you are going to create but don’t know which types of paints to begin with?

To understand the pros and cons of oils vs acrylics you need to ask yourself a few simple questions to decide which medium is best for you…

Continue ReadingThe 5 Key Differences between Acrylics vs Oil paints

Are these 3 Black Paint Myths Holding You Back?

warm and cool black velazquez

Diego Velázquez, portrait of Juan de Pareja, 1650

Are you scared of using black in your paintings?

Or secretly feel they are the missing ingredient to your work?

If you don’t use black whilst mixing colours, you could be missing a trick.

A tale from two masters:

John Singer Sargent and Claude Monet used to go out and paint together.

One day, Sargent had left his paints behind and asked Monet to lend him his to work with. “Where’s the black?” asked Sargent.
“I don’t allow myself to use black,” replied Monet.
“It’s against the impressionist theory. In nature, all colours are made by mixing.”
Sargent refused to understand how anyone could paint without black.

It’s a matter of taste…

Continue ReadingAre these 3 Black Paint Myths Holding You Back?

Is Green Ruining Your Acrylic Paintings?

Ballet rehearsal-Degas

Edgar Degas, Ballet Rehearsal, 1834 – 1917

Green paint is like peanut butter is for dieters, dangerously addictive.

I don’t quite know why, maybe the freshness, the feeling of a landscape, the memory of nature… whatever the reason it’s a bad one.

Step 1. If you buy a starter set of beginners paints, throw away the green that is included (usually this is Emerald green)

It is usually terrible and very unforgiving when trying to create harmonious colour in painting.

“Can’t I use it  to tone down red? or use red to tone down the green? I know about complementary colours; I’ve only just bought it, I can’t throw it away!”

You must.

Still got it?…

Continue ReadingIs Green Ruining Your Acrylic Paintings?

How to Paint a Still Life with Acrylics

Time lapse preview for New painting course The Art of Acrylics with Will Kemp

“The Art of Acrylics” Painting Course

Developing your artists eye

When I was first learning to paint my results were often disheartening, the apple looked too flat, the greens looked garish and harsh and I was generally getting more and more frustrated.

I often took a large palette knife to the canvas and smeared the entire painting.

The result?

My new abstract period!!!

The problem with learning to paint is that you have an inbuilt ‘taste’ meter. You know a good painting when you see one. You don’t have to be art educated or have studied the classics, you just need to trust your own judgments.

So when you attempt your first painting and it goes wrong, you know it is wrong.

You just might not know why…

Continue ReadingHow to Paint a Still Life with Acrylics

How to add Depth to Your Mountains in Acrylic Landscape Painting

aerial perspective Leonardo-da-Vinci- Leonardo da Vinci – The Virgin of the Rocks (detail), 1491-1508

Why do mountains look blue in the distance?

Have you ever wondered why a hill, that you know is covered in green trees, looks purple or blue when viewed from a long distance away?

Trying to create a sense of depth and distance in your landscape painting is key for creating realism in your paintings.

The simplest way to do this is with Aerial perspective…

Continue ReadingHow to add Depth to Your Mountains in Acrylic Landscape Painting

Self Portrait Painting selected for Ruth Borchard Competition

Will-Kemp-artist-self-portrait

Off – Screen, Oil on linen, 40 x 30 cm, Will Kemp self portrait 2011

I’ve just had my self-portrait selected for the Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Competition.

It was painted with Ivory black, raw umber (both Micheal Harding oil paints) and titanium white (Winsor and Newton) on pre-primed linen.

About the painting

Offscreen represents a conscious shift away from the formality of traditional portraiture.

It was inspired by the snap-to-capture culture in which we live, where everything from the mundane to the most important moments in life are a mobile phone photo away, I like the juxtaposition of an instant snap, taken in a moment, with the meticulous hours needed when painting a traditional portrait.

The portrait took over 50 hours to complete.

It poses the viewer the simple question –  if the subject is not engaged in something worthy, does that make the painting less important?

The national exhibition runs from 14th October to 25th November at the King’s place gallery, London.

Continue ReadingSelf Portrait Painting selected for Ruth Borchard Competition

How to Draw Perspective for Beginners

perspective-painting-beginners

Caneletto, Venice, The Grand Canal, about 1740

Perspective techniques for absolute beginners

How to solve a problem like perspective?

Perspective is one of the most common issues beginners have with drawing and painting.

Get it wrong and it can easily ruin a great start, get it right and it can instantly improve your work.

If you’re like most painters you are probably trying to create a sense of depth in your work.

Leading the viewer’s eye deep into the scene giving the illusion of reality.

But sometimes it just doesn’t look right.

The distant object doesn’t look so distant, your figures look out of proportion, a building looks like it is sliding off the page. And your still life just looks….odd.

You are not alone….

Continue ReadingHow to Draw Perspective for Beginners

How to Make Pink? (and Purple) Colour Mixing with Acrylics

How to make pink?

It seems straightforward.

Two colours, red and white make pink. Simple.

But why does your colour mixing look wrong? or your pink looks salmon and not hot pink?

How to make a bright pink colour?

A quick look at the undertone of a few red paints can show you how mixing the perfect pink can easily elude you.

Cadmium won’t allow you to make a hot pink; this video will show you how.

This is not due to a lack of mixing ability, just the wrong red paint colour for the desired result.

Mixing a bright purple?

The right choice of red will influence your ability to make a bright purple, and Part 2 of this video (at the end of this post) will show you how easily purple can go muted and grey rather than bright and vibrant.

This is due to the ‘muting down‘ effect of complementary colours.

It’s all to do with the colour bias of the pigment hidden in paints…

Continue ReadingHow to Make Pink? (and Purple) Colour Mixing with Acrylics

8 Key Differences of Artist Quality vs Student Grade Acrylic Paints

differences-artist-vs-student-grade-paint

A brief overview of Artists’ vs Student quality paint

There are usually two grades of colour available, artist quality and student quality.

But what is the difference?

And, is it worth the cost?

When first starting painting lessons it is often overwhelming to try and decide which brush to buy, what canvas to paint on and the biggest choice of all. What paints to buy!

Your paints can help greatly in your progress as a painter, what usually happens is a hesitancy on investing in the ‘good quality’ paints until you yourself become a better painter.

This is a mistake.

One of the key things to understand is the labelling and differences between artist and student quality paint and how better quality paint, can make your life as a painter much easier…

Continue Reading8 Key Differences of Artist Quality vs Student Grade Acrylic Paints

How to Choose a Basic Portrait Painting Palette for Oils

Will Kemp Artist head study

Head Study – After Collins, Oil on Linen, Will Kemp

“Every time I paint a portrait I lose a friend”
John Singer Sargent

How not to paint a portrait, a personal tale

Let me take you back several years to the beginning of my experiments with portraiture.

It was a bright sunny morning after a long arduous night painting and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself, I had finally cracked my self-portrait…. enter my wife Vanessa

Vanessa: “Why do you look like Tom Jones?”
Me: “I don’t look like Tom Jones”
Vanessa: “You do, what have you done? The portrait was looking great last night!”
Me: “I don’t look like Tom Jones”
Vanessa: “You do! Look how orange it is, you look like the freakin’ Tango man”
Me: “Shit….. I look like Tom Jones”

Skin tone, it isn’t easy….

Continue ReadingHow to Choose a Basic Portrait Painting Palette for Oils