Fast and Fancy Backgrounds. Free Workshop. Part 4.

Welcome to part four of our free workshop series. (Click here to watch parts 1&2. Click here to watch part 3.) This workshop is replacing our "Pretty Papers" online workshop which is no longer available. This new FREE workshop is bigger and better, so we hope you are having a good time watching the videos. We are here to answer your questions and love to hear form you! Post your comments and questions here and we will be along to answer them in the thread.

In this lesson, we are going to start with a new page in our Strathmore Mixed Media journal. First, Chris applies a nice amount of Golden's Acrylic Glazing liquid (AGL) directly to the page. The AGL is really a must-have product. Unlike other "glazing" mediums, the AGL retards the drying time of the paint and creates glazes without altering the paint color. In this application, we are looking for the AGL to help "slide" the paint on top of the paper without the paint sinking in and drying up too fast. Use a soft brush to spread the AGL.

Next, Chris applies small amounts of Golden fluid acrylics in Quinacridone Red, Hansa Yellow Medium and Anthraquinone Blue to her palette. She also adds in a small amount of Interference Blue. The colors that we have on our palette are all transparent colors at this point. They will not make mud when combined. As Chris moves the paint around, you can notice that the AGL allows for a nice slippery surface on the textured paper in our journal. The areas in which the texture shows through the paint do not have AGL on them.

Adding Interference Blue paint on top of the color that is already on the paper will create a nice effect. Notice how the Interference paint reacts differently with each color. To add some variation to your page, use a palette knife to help spread the paint.

On the right half of the page, Chris sprays water and then applies the acrylics to achieve a more watercolor appearance. Spray enough water to allow the paint to move and bleed. You can add stronger pops of color into the painting by using less water in some areas. We like the look of mixing the water effects with the "slide" we get when using the AGL.

At 4:46 in the video, we introduce Titanium White to the palette. Titanium White is a dense pigment that offers great covering power. Since the paint on the journal page is still wet, Chris can blend in the Titanium White and mix new shades right on the page. Practice making tonal variations in your artwork to create interest and depth. Vary the pressure on your brush. Using a light hand will leave the paint under the Titanium White undisturbed. A heavy hand will mix the color.

Around 7:14 in the video, Chris is using a light hand to gently blend the colors together. Avoiding harsh lines of demarcation, the colors feather nicely into each other.

Chris mixes a glaze with AGL and Iridescent Stainless Steel on the palette and then applies the glaze hit and miss onto the painting using a palette knife. She then uses a soft brush to blend the paint a little more.

This is just the beginning! We're going to be using this page in the next tutorial...stay tuned!

Field Notes:

  1. Acrylic Glazing Liquid (Golden) has many fantastic uses. If you live in a hot climate or if you're having trouble moving paint around on any surface, apply a coat of AGL to the substrate first and then begin painting.
  2. Chris cleans her paint brush often. Keep a dry paper towel or a rag available for frequent cleaning. Built up AGL can be difficult to work with. Chris did not clean her brush in water the entire video.
  3. Don't be afraid to mix your paint directly on the substrate! Using the transparent colors first will avoid mud on your artwork.
  4. Artist grade paints have high pigment concentration. This is why we were able to cover a large page with very little paint.
  5. You don't have to work in a journal to use these techniques! Memorize them and mix and match them into your repertoire.

We love your feedback! See you next time.

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