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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”
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.
Airbrushing the back ground and heads of the dandelions:
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.
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.
Liquitex Basics paint
Creatix spray paint
Neo Iwata airbrush
40cm x 40cm square art in a canvas 280gsm
Liquitex heavy body unbleached titanium white
I actually thought this project would make a really good cushion so curiosity being what it is went on to order a print.
I Painted the sky with a mix of phalo green and phalo blue then airbrushed over a space feel with the stencil. For the main body of the base drawing, I used a water-soluble pencil to sketch out the outline (this ensured no pencil marks were visible after painting).
I next layered in the mountains working from the furthest away from the viewer. Several layers were applied to include Grey (base colour), purple, blue, white and burn’t umber.
The tree line was next and blocked in with hookers green with subsequent layers of lighter green shades mixed down gradually with white. There were around four layers of green to complete the look. I find layers add depth to the painting and give a good level of contrast.
Unusually I outlined the whale tails before putting in the background – a bit of an experiment as usually I would finish the background and then add fore ground detail. Varations of phalo blue and phalo green where again used to create the ocean, detailing with light blue sea foam finally highlighted with white.
The whale tails were painted using a deep grey tone mixing titanium white with mars black. Detail over the fins again using lighter version of the blue tones above and finished with titanium white
Finally water falling from the fins and around the base of the whale tails was added to ensure that the whale tails looked part of the sea rather than just stuck on. I did enjoy this piece – especially learning ocean colour variations. The great thing about acrylic painting is that if you don’t like the colour scheme you can paint or glaze right over the top (as long as the previous layers are dry).
I painted the background with phalo Green with a small quantity of blue and once dry airbrushed the stencil on the top and bottom. I the made my outline drawing with chalk pencil filling in with transparent titanium white. I gradually darkened the dark areas and lightened the light areas in a gradual build up of layers.
Finally the grey wolf fur was added layer by layer. Lastly a wash of liquitex glazing medium to finish.