Acrylic painting is something I’ve done on occasion, but I wouldn’t say I’m great at it. I also don’t like working with the medium. It’s messy, cakes on my brushes, smells funny, and is hard to thin out. You can paint over it if you make mistakes, but I find it really frustrating to work with.
Inspired to Paint
It’s funny how something spurs me on to create. I am a triplet and my (triplet) brother died when we were 17. I was cleaning and came across this picture of him. It made me smile and made me sad at the same time. 22 years later, I still miss him. But this is how I remember him–loving the trees and woods, being near the lake, and loving nature. His favorite movie was about a boy that ran away from home and lived with a raccoon on a mountain. I think it was called “My Side of the Mountain”.
This was taken at my grandparents cabin, which I haven’t seen in almost 20 years. I suddenly was reminded of the birch trees that surrounded their property. I have always been fond of birch trees. I’m not sure why. I just love how the bark has contrasts of black and white. I like how it peels off the trunk. I like the knots and texture of it. Not to mention the leaves and all the colors it displays. So I decided I wanted to paint some birch trees.
I didn’t have any watercolor canvases but I did have some for acrylic. So I decided to try that. I really had no idea how to create it and didn’t watch any videos. I did find a picture online that I liked of birch trees and I came up with this:
My Acrylic Painting Process
The background is a dark green so I painted the entire canvas dark green, however, it did show different shades of green at times because I mixed green and black together and hints of the green shown more than the black. So it had a really neat look to it. I let that dry. Then I took a small brush and painted the white. Sometimes I watered the white down, giving it an off white effect. I also mixed a very tiny bit of black with white and created a light gray. I also made a darker gray for some trees in the background. I made the foreground trees bright white. Then I added in some black for the little knots on the tree.
The black was really shiny, so to tone it down, I mixed water with a little white and I added it to the dried black and it gave a shaded appearance. I tried to outline the bigger trees with black, but then toned it down some with the white. I didn’t want the black to be the focal point.
Learning by Trying
I had no idea how it would turn out, but I have to say I really like it. After I took this photo, I wanted to add a little shimmer. I didn’t have any acrylics that had shimmer so I had a metallic silver sharpie and I just added a little bit to the black parts to give it a sheen. The trees have a few mistakes, but overall, I really like how it looks. I will probably hang it in my bedroom. I’d like to make another one the same size and hang them together.
Overall, I love watercolors way more than acrylics. Acrylics can be really trying and sometimes stressful especially if you are used to watercolors, but it is fun to try something new–to play around and learn new techniques that you can’t learn in watercolor painting.
The links below are some items I recommend, although I didn’t use these specifically. I’ve heard great things about the Ph Martin paints, but use whatever you have if you are just starting out. You can get value canvases at most craft stores and brushes are pretty cheap, although the better the brush, the less likely the hairs will fall off in your painting.