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A nerd in the Great Northwest, she is married to Snack, creator of The Dungeon Runner.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Melisan gets her Wyland on

Hello All!

Please forgive me for the long break!

So many things have happened, LIKE GETTING MARRIED! It’s quite exciting. ^--^

The holidays were exciting as well, and the other reason I was gone so long is that I was painting all my close friends and family pictures!

So now that I’m back, I’m going to give YOU an art present…..an art lesson!

That’s right!

Grab your brushes and canvas and get ready to art!

I have always liked to watch the Bob Ross and Wyland painting shows, because there’s something so mesmerizing about watching a master paint. They make it look so easy…. and in reality, it is!  Painting is a simple art when you think about it- simple strokes of paint making up complicated (or non-complicated) images.  But, that isn’t to say that you don’t need practice!

Here, I have an easy acrylic painting project, inspired by Wyland’s paintings, that you can easily create in a short amount of time, and can add, subtract or substitute details as you like. This painting only uses 4 colours and 4 brushes! How easy is that!

So! Let’s get started!

Here’s what you’ll need for a 11x16 canvas:

Brushes (for a list of brushes see side bar Blick Art Materials)

1   3” Flat brush
1   2” Flat brush
1   Fan brush
1   ¼” Filbert


Titanium White
Prussian Blue
Pthalo Green (short for Phthalocyanine Green)
Mars Black


Clean water vessel
Cloth or paper towel for wiping brushes


Gesso (for making colours opaque)
Matte medium (a non-coloured medium that can add volume to your paint without you having to mix more, avoid gel and use liquid as it wont change the consistency that much)
Other various brushes

A few warnings before we begin- one, the colours you see on the computer are different than the colours you will see on your paintings, so don’t try to match colours exactly.  This will create an immense headache and wasted paint.  Also, the amount of colours mixed will be approximate, since there really are no rules to mixing paints. I will be using ratios to describe the mixing, so 4:1 Titanium-Prussian means 4 parts Titanium white paint to 1 part Prussian blue paint.  

Ok!  Now we’re ready to start!

Step 1

2” and 3” flats
1:4 Prussian-Titanium, with hint of Pthalo
2-3:4 Prussian-Titanium, with hint of Pthalo
Prussian, with hint of Pthalo/Titanium

Alright! The first step of this painting is probably the most important, setting up the background of the painting.  We will be “blocking” in, or filling in large areas, of colour for the background and then blending them together.  For this, you will need to work quickly, as acrylics dry very rapidly.  In order to increase the wet life of your paints lightly dip the brush into the water, just so that the tip of the brush is wet before you dip the brush in paint.  You don’t want your paint too wet otherwise it will drip and run, but you want it to last long enough to be blendable.

First, start with the Titanium and make a circle of pure paint about 2/3rds from the bottom and slightly off-center with your 2” flat.  This circle will become the point of light that is shining into the water. Make it a tad larger than you want your finished circle to be.

Next, using the same 2”, dip lightly into water and pick up some of the 1:4 mix.  Swirl in a circle around the first.  Don’t worry about overlapping the circles; this is because you want some of the paint to blend into the next colour. 

Continue the instruction above with the 2-3:4 mix and Prussian w/hint of Pthalo/Titanium, always using the 2” flat.

When that is finished, take your 3” flat and, making sure it is totally dry of paint or water, start to blend the layers of colour together, starting from lightest to darkest.  Start with the edges of the Titanium and blend quickly, radiating outward.  Light, long strokes and a dry brush is the key to good blending.  After you have blended to your satisfaction let the paint dry for a few minutes while you put any remaining paint mixtures in airtight containers and clean and dry your palette and brushes.

Step 2

2” flat
2:1 Prussian-Pthalo, with hint of Mars

Now that your background is done, it’s time to move on to some scenery.  For this, just use pure paint; you want that feeling of texture to the seabed. 

Take your 2”flat and dip it into the 2:1 mix.  With the brush parallel to the canvas, start tapping from the bottom corner upward to the top and along the bottom about a third or half way.

To create layers, dip your 2” flat into Mars and continue in much the same way as stated above, but let the paint you just put on show above the black.  This will create a sense of depth to the image.  If you want to create more layers, take the Prussian-Pthalo mixture and mix in varying amounts of black, then layer from lightest to darkest.  Here it is also ok for your paint to mix a little, and really let the tops of the layers show the one behind it.  Don’t make the layers uniform either, nature isn’t made of straight edges, so just let your hand do whatever. This will help you achieve that natural look.

Step 3

Fan Brush
Loaded Fan brush
¼” Filbert
Same paint used in Step 2

Let’s put some life into this painting!  Take your fan brush and load it with the same paint you used for your layers in the previous step.  We will now use the brush to make a coral fan. 
 Sketch a vertical line wherever you wish on your layers.  Then angling the brush sketch lines that radiate out in a fan shape from your main line.  Here is the base for your coral. 

 Next, take your brush and create a few light connecting lines to give your coral an outside dimension.   

Once this is done, tap your brush to fill in the coral.  Ta-da! You now have a beautiful fan coral!  

 Make a few more along the layers, and use the side of your Filbert to create wavy seaweed and small fish that are floating in the distance.  Don’t define your fish much, and you can use water to thin down your paint so that the fish look like they are in the distance.

 Step 4

¼” Filbert

So we started to give this painting some life, but now it’s time to make the star of the painting, the turtle! 

Using a pencil, very lightly make the outline of the turtle where you want it. Then, it’s pretty easy- just fill it in with the black!  Who knew that the focus of the painting would be so easy?  Just make sure that you either cover up all your pencil marks or that you erase them after your turtle is completely dry.

Step 5

Fan Brush

The final step is to give your painting some highlights. 

Take your fan brush and very lightly make some highlights on your corals.   

To make some waves of light around your turtle, scrape the tip of the fan brush in little arcs in the same circles of the background.   

Make some bubbles by VERY lightly tapping the tip of the brush in a broken vertical line. 

Once you have done this to your satisfaction, sign your name, sit back and enjoy your finished painting!  Good work!

1 comment:

  1. Cheers to Lizzyuh for posting links to your blog, fellow Northwestener!