Posted in Acrylic Painting

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 ”


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


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.


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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