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I love to work in layers

Updated: Jul 6, 2022

When I started to paint landscapes, I used to think I was finished when I painted the first layer. After all, I had created the sky, horizon, elements such as trees, midground and foreground. So why did it look so flat and boring?

It came down to a simple understanding of acrylic paints.

I had no idea in the early days that acrylic paint could be transparent, opaque, semi-transparent or semi-opaque. I remember being so frustrated that I had painted a blue background and I wanted to paint yellow flowers over the top. I just could not fathom why the yellow flowers looked green.

Of course I do now, the yellow paint I used was transparent and therefore showed the blue from behind and as everyone knows blue and yellow make green. To fix this you need to either choose a yellow that is opaque (Naples Yellow) or paint the area you want the flowers (or any other image) with Titanium white and then when the paint is dry you can paint over it with the yellow you have.

Its also worth mentioning that the quality of the paint can determine the opacity of the paints. The cheaper the paints the chances are the opaque's are not as opaque as you'd like. Also, the colour shift in acrylics are lighter whilst wet and darker when dry and the difference between the two is larger with the cheap paints than the more expensive. Again, another lesson I learnt the hard way.

Once I got a handle on the acrylic paints I fell in love with the way I could create interesting and vibrant landscapes.

In this landscape painting called 'Golden Vale' I started with vibrant blues, greens and yellows. I waited for each layer to dry before working on the next one. As each layer developed, patterns and textures emerged and created this beautiful landscape.


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