Last weekend I had the pleasure of being invited to the Western Cape Artists’ Society AGM to do a demonstration once the meeting business had been completed.
The title of my demo was “Acrylics in a loose and vibrant way” and over the course of the demo I worked between two paintings, one on stretched canvas and the other on 300gsm Waterford watercolour paper.
My materials were Lucas acrylic paints which I have started using only quite recently, and find nicely free-flowing to use, and my special favourite FW Ink. At this point I should mention Cape Town art supply shops Artsauce and Deckle Edge who rushed supplies of white FW Ink to my door in the week prior to the demo!
The other thing I should point out is that I used harvested rainwater which I had collected from my garden that morning (this being the drought-stricken Western Cape!)
I started with the canvas which I used (as usual) without any preparation. Using a flat brush I applied some Red and Lemon Yellow FW Ink to give a glow to the background of the painting. The FW Inks are very strong and long lasting which is why I favour them above other products.
While I was waiting for this to dry a little, I started on the watercolour paper. I had taped the paper onto a board, but otherwise had not stretched or prepared the paper, if the paper does wrinkle I have a way to deal with this (see my Watercolour Painting Tips). I started off with Lemon Yellow ink and a little Red, using a scrubbing action with my flat brush. Then I applied quite a lot of water. Next I went in with some Navy Blue ink, to create some depth.
Returning to the canvas I applied Prussian Blue ink, diluted with a little water, immediately followed by Prussian Blue acrylic paint to emphasise the contrast between light and dark. At this stage the ink and paint started to run, but I never worry about this as I always have paper towels on hand to blot with, or I can always paint out with white. Then I applied more black and blue to form the shapes of the trees and added highlights in the water using ordinary white PVA paint from the hardware store. By stepping back I judged where the reflections from the trees should go.
Back to the paper, and I mixed Navy Blue with Black and water to get a misty feel. Then using a rigger I made very strong lines to define the trees. I had to stop at this point as the paper needed to dry before I could go any further. This is the painting which I finished back in my studio.
I was just able to do a little more work on the canvas using FW Ink in White to define the trees. Finally, I mixed Black ink with acrylic and applied with my rigger to add grasses and more reflections. The finishing touches were done back in my studio the following day.