Surreal Art

www.etsy.com/uk/listing/811041194/surreal-painting-morning-mist-acrylic

Surreal Art Painting Daybreak Mist Landscape

Pleased to share my latest artwork the original is now for sale in my Etsy shop.

Art Tip when Varnishing

A little bit of a tip here I have just created…

When vanishing a wrapped canvas, put blue tack on the bases of three or four shot glasses attach the canvas and hey presto…you can gloss the top and sides at the same time….

Serenity Zebra Painting in Acrylic

Serenity Zebra Acrylic Painting

“Serenity” Acrylic Zebra Painting with Damask Stripe and Butterflies by Ellie Burdett

Zebra Painting

By Ellie Burdett

“Serenity” Zebra Acrylic Painting with a Teal Damask Stripe and Butterflies.  

A wonderful challenge this painting was to be, all I knew when I started was that I wanted to paint a Zebra.  I wanted something different, however I had no idea where I was ending up eek.  I thought Zebra so it made sense for the background to be black – looking for more of a serene silhouette.  

So off I went and painted the Zebra and when complete wondered what next?

I put the painting down for a few days as I couldn’t decide what next….I did a couple of coloured pencil drawings instead….pretty pleased with those…note to self remember to blog the Kingfisher in Coloured Pencil.

 

Then on about the third evening I started to get some ideas, I had a lovely damask stencil and had been itching to use it with the airbrush.  My favourite art toy by the way the airbrush – its so versatile in adding many elements into my artwork.  So out came the art masking tape and with a quick measure up, I was airbrushing away.

Beautiful I thought but still something missing, a final touch to bring the picture together.  Then after a flick through Pixabay for some inspiration it hit me…….of course Butterflies! 

Serene, Serene, Serene,

Of course there was no option but to paint the butterflies in teal to match the Damask stripe and with a final touch of teal added to the eye of the Zebra, I felt the Zebra painting had been brought to its conclusion.

On sitting back from my art table, I did not have to procrastinate for long over a name, it came to me from the feel that I got from the painting, “Serenity” 

 

“Tip:  Don’t be afraid to try new things in art – it is only by experimenting you find the art from within yourself “

Zebra Painting

“Serenity”

Zebra Acrylic Painting with a Damask stripe with Butterflies in black and teal

Method:

I started by painting the canvas with Mars Black then drew the Zebra straight onto the canvas (truthfully I had already drawn my Zebra as a draught – however when looking to transfer it to the canvas with transfer paper – I thought ooops not big enough for the canvas – so with a big deep breath – I got out the chalk pencil).  

Unlike normal where I usually paint around the outline in unbleached titanium white, it was obvious at this point, that this would not be possible considering the black background.  In this instance, I blocked in the Zebra stripes in unbleached titanium white to form the shape and body of the Zebra.

I continued to layer from the unbleached titanium white followed by a glaze of raw sienna and finally in titanium white.  At this point I wanted a little more detail in the fur so went over the edges of the stripes with the black again.  

Since I had started the Zebra on a black back ground, I was unable to get the look of the black maine – not deterred by this I used grey to give the impression of the maine.  The nose was block in with unbleached titanium white followed by deep grey. 

A quick measure up with the ruler and masking tape applied, with the stencil having its first art day out – I sprayed away in Teal. 

Finally a dash of teal to the Zebra eye and onto the butterflies….

Again the butterflies were drawn directly onto the canvas using a reference photo from Pixabay.  I block them in using light teal and gradually darkened the mix to add depth.  

“Tip:  Next time I do this – I will defiantly go from dark to light – its much quicker to get a lighter tone to the colour you have already mixed rather than a darker one”

 

Glossing:

Glossed three times with Liquitex Gloss Varnish Medium, gave the painting its freshly painted zest – incase you hadn’t noticed, a big favourite of mine. 

 

Supplies List:

 

  • Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paint
  • Liquitex Gloss
  • Stretched Canvas 40cm x 40cm
  • Iwata Neo Airbrush
  • Hand Mixed Teal Paint for Airbrush using Liquitex basics mixed with water and airbrush medium
  • Brushes: Flat, liner, filbert, rake and sponge brush for glossing

A big thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I hope you enjoyed it

Ellie Burdett

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Reflections Surreal Acrylic Painting

Reflections a Surreal Acrylic Painting

“Reflections” A Surreal Acrylic Painting by Ellie Burdett

By Ellie Burdett

Reflections….to date one of my favourite paintings I have completed so far on my artistic journey.  From choosing and editing the original image to painting and varnishing – every part of this painting was a pleasure.  Very often during my artistic journey I have sat for hours thinking and fuddling, sketching and colour matching and all the time thinking – I hope I don’t fluff this one up eeek….

Well not this time…..from the moment this idea was realised – I was able for the first time to see the whole journey of the painting ahead of me.

Is this due to the hours of practise I’ve put in?  

Is this because I have learn’t to plan my artwork better?

Is this because I was painting something that struck me as absolutely beautiful? 

Yes, Yes and Yes again 

As a relatively new and developing artist (a little old too – but don’t tell anyone else that) and self teaching a new skill – I have found my biggest critic has always been myself.  That being said…I have not found that detrimental on my artistic journey (a little frustrating at times granted as what I was painting was not what was in my minds eye),I think the skill of looking back at your work and thinking how can I improve on that has actually helped me raise my own standards.  I think when you can take a step back from your artwork and think….wow I painted that – it suddenly makes all those hours of practice worth it.

 

“Tip:  Practise, practice and practice some more and it is only through making mistakes you can improve and sometimes mistakes end up having a really great effect ”

Reflections

A Surreal Acrylic Painting depicting rose with floating orbs containing Rose Reflections

Method:

I started by painting the canvas with Mars Black and Phalo Blue, when totally dry I drew the outline of the image directly onto the canvas using a chalk pencil – for this I used a new found gem by way of the Lyra Pastel White Pencil – I found it behaved like a chalk pencil, rubbing straight off if I needed to change anything.  (I would have used my chalk pencil as normal but unfortunately I had worn it down to a stump – this was not a bad thing as it made me think and I gave myself another option)

I started by filling in the rose with a deep transparent red in alzarin crimson, this was perfect for the base colour to give some depth to the rose.  Highlights to the rose were painted in using a cadmium red hue, this combination worked very well in adding tonal value giving a form of depth that I have long striven for.  By pure accident initially and much reading after on tonal value, I worked out that it is the shades of the colours that add the level of depth that give the painting more depth and ultimately make them look more realistic.  My method of reviewing and researching what had worked and why, enabled me to understand the result in relation to the theory and apply this again.

The outsides of the orbs were painted in next using a very thin liner brush on the outside followed by a small flat brush for the swirls.  The cloud details then painted in a final thin glaze of cerulem blue hue into the orbs gave a reflective quality.  Back to the flat brush to add in the stream effect ensuring predominantly horizontal strokes were used.  The colours of the stream were taken from the colours of the rose and the orbs to ensure the painting maintained its continuity with respect to colour.  Finally the rays and light source were hand painted in with a final blast of the airbrush for an even look and to eliminate the brush strokes.

Glossing:

Once finished, this painting really needed a real shine to it to compensate for the deep black, I have read and have to agree that black can give a rather flat look – add that to the fact I had used Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paint which also tend to give a mat look (I must add here that in my personal opinion they are a must have for layering and quality, especially given that they do not lift the layers underneath once dry when you are painting) I found the only way to give back the painting its zest was to gloss.  I ended up giving it three layers of gloss in order to give the high shine and reflective qualities I was looking for.

Supplies List:
  • Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paint
  • Liquitex Gloss
  • Stretched Canvas 40cm x 40cm
  • Iwata Neo Airbrush
  • Creatix White Paint for Airbrush
  • Brushes: Flat, liner, filbert, and sponge brush for glossing

A big thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I hope you enjoyed it

Ellie Burdett

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Springer Spaniel in Acrylic

Painting a Springer Spaniel in Acrylic

creating a custom pet portrait in light-fast acrylic paint on canvas

By Ellie Burdett

The goal this week is to paint a pet portrait in acrylic paint on canvas, not an easy task if this is your first attempt at a fur baby, however totally achievable.  There are tips and tricks to painting pets in acrylic for the beginner artist to complete this project.

This tutorial aims to take you through the steps needed to complete this project at home from choosing your reference photo to  the processes I found useful on this project.

The very thought of painting a pet portrait can be quite daunting after you get over the original excitement, however taken in a step by step approach it helped me get from the idea stage to the completed project.  I spent a lot of time trying and a few fluffed attempts before finding a formula that worked for me.

It is about trial and error and finding what works for you.  the worst thing you can do is to not try or give up if at first your attempts are not as you perceived they would turn out.  The thing to remember here is the more you paint – the more you will learn and lets face it acrylic painting is vey forgiving and it is easy to just paint over any bits your not happy with (tip: make sure the layer underneath is totally dry before you do this or the previous layer will lift)

“Tip: Always start with a good reference photo – this I have found is the difference between success and failure”

The Reference Photo:

Stating with a good reference photo is the key to success here.  Things to look out for here are clarity within the photo.  An image that shows the pet is just not enough, the photo needs to be up close and personal and show the direction of the fur.  Another important feature of the reference photo for the painting is to ensure that there are no areas of shadow that may obscure any detail of the subject.  Particularly as a new artist, you need to pay more attention to the reference material than your actual painting.

On the section below there are a few examples of good and bad photos – notice how some are in shadow on the face and the detail is difficult to pick out.

A quick note on permissions: always get the photo owners permission to post the photo and artwork online as I have done here.

IMG_0223

Poor Reference Photo

Although at first glance a beautiful photo, it does not give the clarity required for the detailed work needed for an acrylic painting. There are areas around the side of the face merging into the ears where the detail is not clear.

IMG_0675 (002)

Good Reference Photo

Although this photo appear less than attractive at first look with a bin in full sight, it is worth noting that the image has all the required detail and focus for painting. The background can be changed to enhance the subject.

Creating the back drop:

Choosing a background to your painting is the first job on the agenda…I found it very productive to work from back to foreground.  Colour choice is also important and I have found it useful to ensure your background both matches and complements the pet you are intending to paint.

I personally like a little twist and creativity in the background adding my personal artistic style and atmosphere.  I have found that just painting the pet, although great does not give a completed look to the artwork.

In my painting, I choose a cloudy grey scale background and I have added at the final stages some floating feathers to give some additional foreground focus and interest.

I started by painting the whole canvas deep grey then added the clouds by first hand painting the base of the clouds in grey, graduating to lighter grey towards the top.  I then airbrushed around the clouds in black creatix paint with a final layer in white over the tops of the clouds.

If like me, you have no formal art training – it is worth having a quick internet search on “the rule of thirds” this helped me with the elements of painting composition and position.

Transferring the Sketch to the Canvas:

It is an absolute must to spend time on the sketch stage of your painting to ensure your drawing is as accurate as possible as when painted any errors in size or scale will be exaggerated.

Once happy with the sketch a quick and easy method to transfer to the canvas is by using transfer paper.  You can find this at most art/craft stores and is readily available online.  By using transfer paper, it eliminates the mistake and correction process on the canvas.

Layering the Paint to form the Pet Portrait:

As you can see from the photo above it is then a process of gradually adding layer of paint in the direction and pattern of the fur.  A big lesson I learnt here was not to concentrate too much on the strands of fur at first and just get the general colours blocked in.  Once the general colours are blocked in, you can get to grips with the fur detail.

When painting fur use shorter strokes for the short fur and longer strokes for the longer fur.  Another tip for fur is to painting clumps rather than single hairs. When painting the clumps, I started with darker grey tones and graduated to lighter grey tones.  I added the lighter grey tones and whites to only the tips of the clumps, this gives the illusion of depth.

When considering colours during the painting process, do not focus too much on colour choice…it is more important to get a variation in tonal value.  Colour can be adjusted during the final stages with a very thin glaze (this can be either the paint thinned with water or a glazing medium).

An example of this can be noted as following completion of the pet portrait, I added some feathers to add an element of interest.  The base colour was grey tone and the next colour was unbleached titanium white with final highlights in titanium white.  Having painted the feathers I noted that I needed to pull some of the unbleached titanium white into the body of the dog to ensure that they blended into the portraits theme and did not stand out as a stand alone feature within the painting.  This was achieved by glazing a wash over some of the fur.

Tip: Glazing can change the look and feel of a painting and enhance the colours.  Glazing is a great way of adding depth to the painting.  The light will refract though the layers beautifully.

Supplies List:
  1. Artina Canvas
  2. Liquitex Basics Paints
  3. Creatix Paint
  4. Liqitex Glazing Medium
  5. Pro-arte brushes (Flat, filbert & no 1 rigger brush

I hope you have enjoyed this blog and thank you for taking the time to read through.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post or email.

Ellie Burdett – Self Taught Artist

ellieartwork.com

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Dragon Painting in Acrylic

Dragon Painting in Acrylic

Dragon Painting in Acrylic with a flame background

Blog by Ellie Burdett
An Artistic Journey

Starting with a small canvas I painted it black…..I wanted to do flames for the first time with the airbrush……I had the airbrush, the paints and the french curve…..here we go……..

I found a couple of photos of fire & flames as reference photos and airbrushed away.  I started with red creatix freehand airbrushing followed by french curves in varying shapes by moving the tool for different patterns.  The colours were layered in red, yellow, white, orange and a final white highlight.  Not bad for a first attempt I thought.  With a fiery canvas, the only thing to add to it was of course a Dragon.

It is at that point you realise that by experimenting in unexplored art territory you may well fall down and need to practice more to get your desired effect but more importantly, you may put something together rather pleasing.

As usual I used the chalk pencil to draft out the drawing….I wanted this piece to be vibrant and colour reflective and to achieve this added the colours in layers that were mixed with glazing medium.

“Tip: for depth of colour shinning through add the colour in layers with glazing medium – it lets the colours reflect through”

In total there were around five layers of colour before I achieved the look I wanted, but definitely worth the effort.  Final highlights were added with titanium white with the addition of deep red/black mix to define the shadow areas.

Dragon Painting

The Process:


Supplies List: Note paints are all Liquitex Basics range unless stated

  1. Neo airbrush
  2. Creatix Paint
  3. Titanium white
  4. Naples yellow
  5. Orange mixed from yellow and red (primary)
  6. Black
  7. Magenta (the big star here giving the burnt fiery look
  8. Liquitex  Gloss medium two coats

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Moonlight Unicorn in Acrylic

Moonlight Unicorn in Acrylic

A dreamy painting in a combination of acrylic hand painting & airbrushing

Blog by Ellie Burdett
An Artistic Journey

Introducing the second in this series of unicorn is the Moonlight Unicorn a variation from the Midnight Unicorn…painted in a dreamy fashion to meet the taste of the young person it was destined for.  Another collaboration of hand painting and an airbrush background.

“Tip: preplan the piece……I went into this painting with a clear idea and plan of the outcome.  The only thing I did not plan was the colour scheme, as you can see by the gallery images below, I had in my head a two color scheme for the top and bottom, which did not sit right at all so I had to change it.  I have now invested in a  Photoshop app to test the design and the colour theme before painting.  I have learnt that a little time spent planning means less time procrastinating over the piece for longer periods and risking the painting going aray or taking longer to complete”

The first stage was to paint the primed canvas in primary blue then using an airbrush and a cut out circle template, airbrush in the moon in titanium white.   The cosmos and moon effects were airbrushed using the trusty fx stencils.  It is worth noting that the fx stencils although pricey, are both durable and good value for money.  I airbrushed the clouds in next using a hand torn piece of card as my guide – quite an inexpensive and effective part of my kit now 🙂

The unicorn was then drawn in using chalk pencil (easy to rub away in the event of a mistake) and colours added for the unicorn highlights.

I wanted something different in this painting and something to make it special and with that in mind chose a butterfly for the foreground interest.  I again used the chalk pencil to draft out the butterfly before gradually bringing in the colour.

I thought a lot about the butterfly and decided it needed a transparency to it and with this in mind painted the first layer in transparent mixing white and bringing colour in with dioxizine purple.  Final highlights were added with titanium white to the maine and tail (this was after trying a gold which did not work) again another example of colour matching before starting.

 

Supplies List:

  1. Iwata Neo Airbrush
  2. Creatix Paint
  3. Water for dilution
  4. Primary blue
  5. Dioxizine Purple
  6. Transparent mixing white
  7. Titanium White (highlights to the unicorn)
  8. fx stencils
  9. Liquitex glazing medium
  10. Spray mat varnish (fist coat)
  11. Liquitex gloss varish final two coats

Thank you for taking the time to look over this blog, I hope you have enjoyed it…….if you have any questions or comments please feel free to submit them.

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Otter Painting in Acrylic

Otter Painting in Acrylic

A combination of airbursh and hand painted technique

Blog by Ellie Burdett

This was a great piece to paint, I found the reference picture on Pixabay a free download and royalty free.  I started by painting the canvas hoockers green to form the base for the painting then airbrushing several layers from light to dark.  I wanted the background out of focus to ensure the viewers eye was drawn to the otter.

“Tip: I first tried to paint the planks in the colour shown in my reference photo – having done this, I realised this was not lending itself favourably to the overall mood of the picture, being darker wood.  With this in mind I decided to go over the wood again once it was dry.  During the process another artist gave me a tip not to put to much detail on the wood again ensuring that the otter remained the star of the painting”

img_0558

The next stage was to get the otter into the art work.  I used a chalk pencil to sketch out the otter on the canvas, ensuring that the painting so far was dry.  A complete coast of unbleached titanium white formed the base coat of the otter.  Following this is was a case of gradually adding fur layer by layer.  A great combination for getting the fur colour was the use of a three mix of colour using;

Unbleached titanium white, naples yellow with a hint of burnt sienna.

“Tip: I tried to add the darker fur around the feet of the otter to highlight the shaded area – this stuck out like a sore thumb and did not blend in well in fact it really drew the eye to that area of the painting.  After much time, research and reading – I discovered a big tip on colour theory, in that it is better to ensure you gradually layer the colour from lighter to darker (or the reverse), to gain a more natural look”

 There are some examples in the gallery below of this process and again to re-affirm that if you don’t get it right first time….with acrylics, you can correct it and carry on.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog today.

Supplies List:

Airbrushing the back ground and heads of the dandelions:

  1. Iwata Neo Airbrush
  2. Creatix airbrush paint
  3. Water to dilute the paint

Hand Painting the Otter and the Wood planks:

  1. Master philbert brushes
  2. Proarte detail brushes
  3. Liquitex basics acrylic paint
  4. Chalk pencil
  5. Liquitex glazing medium
  6. Liquitex gloss varnish

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Owl in Flight

Blog by Ellie Burdett

Owl in Flight – Acrylic Painting

www.ellieartwork.com

I wasn’t sure where this picture was going when I started it…….always a risk; not to pre-plan, my only idea was clouds. So off I went and painted the sky with layers of pastel coloured paint that took my fancy in a diagonal fashion. Why diagonally – I’m not sure….maybe because I’m left handed. After drying I automatically went for the airbrush to layer in the clouds using a very wobbly and torn piece of paper that took my eye.

Method:

I studied the clouds for some time and realised the most obvious subject would be an owl in flight (of course….strange artistic mind). Using transfer paper I moved my sketch to the canvas and lightly painted the outline with unbleached titanium white.

I then filled out the owl with more unbleached titanium white following the direction of the feathers and matching my paints strokes to the shapes of the feathers.

I gradually added variations of colour for the feathers details using different shades of brown darker to lighter. Final feather highlights were then added in titanium white.

A few washes with glazing medium further defined the colours and finished with a coat of medium gloss varnish.

Supplies list:

  • Liquitex Basics paint
  • Creatix spray paint
  • Neo Iwata airbrush
  • 40cm x 40cm square art in a canvas 280gsm
  • Liquitex heavy body unbleached titanium white

Artists note:

I actually thought this project would make a really good cushion so curiosity being what it is went on to order a print.

Happy painting Ellie.