I borrowed this phrase from the recently deceased Canadian painter Robert Genn who believed that there is only so much we can learn about how to paint from the many fine instructors and resources available today. The true learning comes from going off on our own and just doing it - Go to your room!

I have had the good fortune to take instruction from outstanding artists in Canada and the USA. I continue to work on my own development ( Going to MY room!) . I share, through this blog and workshops, what I have learned and what others have shared with me.

I created this blog primarily for those attending my workshops to keep in touch and to further share as we grow together. If others are interested in following that would be great.

Enjoy the journey.

Thursday 26 December 2013

One Approach to Developing an Acrylic Painting - a progressive series

It been quite a while since I posted a progressive series on the development of an acrylic painting.

The reference is a photo I have used to create three smaller paintings in the past few years. I thought I would take a different approach and attempt a larger piece - 30x36.

 I chose to "flip" the image placing the open sky on the left. A quick placement of the larger shapes below.

I flipped and cropped the photo. Initial sketch of large shapes was done using a Montana acrylic pen black. 

Golden Liquid Quin Violet and gloss medium brushed on using wide Liquatex brush and scraped off in light areas using large rubber colour shaper. Creates a bit of a value plan in the under painting.

Redefined the large shapes using a Montana pen grey. Then wiped on Golden Liquid Magenta with water and paper towel to dampen down the light pen lines and add colour to them - see below. 

Laying in the darks - rocks, trees - pthalo blue grayed with raw umber at variable values. Tree limbs pthalo blue and iron oxide black for dark under painting. 

Adding colour and shaping to trees

T square to draw the horizon (water) line. You can also see where I picked out some of the blue on the rocks using the rubber shaper to create variation. 

Water blocked in 

Placed distant tree line and hills. Beginning to shape rocks using the lighter and warmer grass colours. Added dark values and warm reds to the tree limbs. 
Shaped trees and branches outline with high key grayed greens and blues of sky. 

See above and below the use of a mid sized rubber shaper that was used to lift off areas of the blue to expose the under painting and create variation - light/dark, warm/cool. Also placed spots of the yellow grass then used the shaper to pull out and shape impression of grasses.

More definition of grasses, tree limbs, add branches to the left side and create highlights on the rocks. Intense lighting of the studio pushes the photo. Added some spots of warm to the sky and water. 

Been an intense couple of hours. Time for coffee, get the painting off the easel and take a look at it thoughtfully for critique. 

Under cool light of a dark dull day

Warm it a bit with an incandescent light.  And, yes, that's what our living room looks like most days. 


Now the hard part. Consider it for a few days under different lighting conditions and decide what it needs  to reach a finish. 


  1. Thanks for sharing your process Brian, very informative. I love your colorful style!

  2. Love your bold use of colour, Brian!

  3. Thanks for sharing. Great to see your process. This painting is a beauty. T-square! Why didn't I think of that. Better get one, no more sloping water for me now. Happy New Year!

    1. Hi. Happy New Year to you folks. Enjoy your skiing. Our Mt Washington is green - and its raining up there today. Not looking good. Cheers.

  4. Fantastic studio set up inspiration! This is my favourite painting of yours and it feels a real privilege to get the behind the scenes on it.


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