Week 3

Today was our third class working on the same portrait. In my demo I talked about how to use glazing to de-emphasize (lower the contrast of) collage elements that were too dominant. I also talked about two different kinds of blending with acrylic: steps and wet into wet.

To get a smooth transition, or blend, from one color to another you can create mixtures of the two colors that start with the mixture having more of one color and then gradually changing the mixture to have more and more of the other color. In this way you can create "steps" from one color to the other. When you go to paint that transition/blend you can achieve the appearance of a smooth blend by placing these steps side by side as discrete colors and not have to worry about literally blending one wet color into another wet color. 

Wet into wet blending is just what is sounds like. You are literally blending one wet color into another wet color. This is possible but it requires a little more practice with acrylic because of how fast acrylic drys. You can use retarding mediums but I find that they cause more problems than they fix when used regularly. For wet into wet mixing you need to have the colors you want to blend mixed before you start painting. Put one color down on the canvas thicker than you need to in order to keep the paint wet for longer. While that color is still wet you can pick up the other color with a different brush and paint it next to the first. Then you gradually push the two colors back and forth into each other until you get as smooth a gradation as you require. 

Of course a combination of both techniques is also a great way to go - mix discrete steps then then them wet-into-wet into each other as you go. 

Scrubbing a wet color onto a dry color will not achieve a blend. If you can see the dry color behind the wet paint you are putting on the canvas - it is a glaze. Glazing is essentially any technique where you paint a transparent or semi-transparent layer on top of a dry layer. Glazing  is great more many things but it won't replace the need to learn blending. 

I used glazing and blending to paint the general highlights and shadows on my portrait with just black and white. I used glazing where I wanted to be able to see information in previous layers of color, texture or collage. 

Next week I we will continue developing the portrait with acrylic paint. I am going to show you another round of how you can use a combination of glazing, opaque layers and transfer drawing to further develop the image. I am also going to show you how to use acrylic gel medium to add surface texture. Bring gel medium if you have it. 

Great work this week. I am really liking all of the portraits.