What I learned from trying out a new technique

"Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be." Khalil Gibran

watercolour acrylic portrait

I just got back from my European vacation and I could hardly wait to immerse myself in this series of online lessons by the very talented Lauren Rudolph.

The idea is to get acrylic paints to the consistency of watercolours, or almost, and then use them to paint portraits on watercolour paper.

Why not just use watercolours?

Well, some artists are already heavily invested in acrylics and buying good quality watercolours is just not an option. If you have checked the prices of art supplies, you will know why artists might prefer to invest and work mainly in one medium.

I have also seen comments from artists on social media saying that they do not want to ever go back to watercolour painting because the medium is just too unpredictable, too difficult to handle.

I found out that the best part about painting with acrylics is that they can be painted over and over and over again and the results can be very astonishingly beautiful whereas I haven't been able to do that with watercolours without the paper starting to give up on me. But then, as you know, I am not a school taught artist so maybe the problem was with my technique all along.

Nonetheless, I am very happy with everything I have learned in this short online workshop with Lauren Rudolph.

monochromatic portrait in watered down acrylics

What is the "take-away" from these lessons?

1. When the portrait is ugly at the beginning, one must calm the inner voice that screams to quit while ahead. Perseverance almost always pays off. The ugly portrait can be redeemed and this is just a normal part of the process.

2. It's ok for splotches and lines to show here and there. I have this compulsion to make everything smooth but I think letting the different layers show through is actually visually interesting. So the technique is teaching me to let go of blending and keeping everything smooth. ( I can always just my apps to create that smooth look). I think it will be helpful for me when I use watercolours as well. So everything I have learned in this course is useful not only with acrylics but also with watercolours.

3. Just because I can find lots of faults with my paintings doesn't mean I haven't learned some very interesting and useful techniques. For example, mixing colours to achieve various skin tones was one of the lessons I learned that I have had difficulty with in the past. Of course, I still need to work on this aspect; however, I am further along than I was when I started these lessons.

app version of watered down acrylic portrait

In this portrait, I uploaded the original painting into some of my favourite apps to create a smooth look.

WIP - collage and watered acrylics

Finally, I have several portraits that are now WIP.

I am not sure what modifications I will make to the above portrait but I feel like she is not yet finished. It will be an experiment.

After all, I am advancing toward what will be in my art journey.

Cheers everyone!

2 thoughts on “What I learned from trying out a new technique

  1. Just love the progress you have made Louise, but I still have to say, no matter what you think, you do have a natural talent which shines through in everything you do.

    1. Thank you Sally. I feel the same way about your creative works whether it is knitting, or painting, or writing books…you are a multi talented person. Your work inspires me! I still hope that some day, we will meet in person and have a very long chat about all we have in common. ❤️😘

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *