Monday, January 13, 2014

My First Foray Into Acrylics (and painting in general)

So this afternoon I finally bit the proverbial bullet and decided to do some acrylic painting. I've had the paints for a while, and kept on putting it off via the excuse that I had no canvases or anything to paint on. Then I got the canvases and had no excuse except for the fact that I was totally afraid it would turn out looking like a dirt road after a rainstorm and a cattle stampede. But I gathered what courage I could find–and my brushes, paints, and materials–and set to work. I decided to paint a skull because, well, it's a reasonably simple shape, nice and round like an orange or an apple or something, but a little more interesting. Well the first thing I immediately realized was that I wished my canvas-covered board were about four times larger than it was. Skulls have these things called teeth, that are tiny and require detail. My board was around the size of an 8.5"x11" sheet of paper, and that size coupled with my complete lack of skill led to an inability to render any sort of detail. Nevertheless, I kept slapping paint on there, rationalizing that even if it did look like a dirt road after a rainstorm and a cattle stampede, well, at least I'd be a little more comfortable with handling a brush. And little by little it actually started to look like a skull. Kinda. As far as a painting, it's not that great. But I'm pleased that I at least had my light working somewhat logically, and it is recognizable as a skull, if you squint. I also think that by forcing myself to post it, I'll be more motivated to do better next time–and to make sure there is a next time. Regardless, I consider this a fairly major milestone in my growth as an artist, and hopefully it won't be too long before I do some more with acrylics.


  1. Actually, Seth, this is pretty great. What I like about this is you're forcing yourself to look at value and form. That's pretty hard to do in painting. I can see that you're actually *observing* the skull and painting it, not just painting a skull (does that make sense?) That's not an easy task! And actually, by not completely defining the teeth, you're leaving that to the viewer's imagination - even better. Check this post out by Greg Manchess, he talks about that very topic a bit:

    You're on the right track! And you're determined. That's what counts. Looking forward to seeing more paintings.


    1. Hey Will, thanks for the comment! And I actually saw that post by Greg Manchess a little while ago, and think it's really fascinating. Although I'm hesitant to claim that I'm "leaving things to the viewer's imagination" when I'm doing so solely from lack of ability to render detail. And hopefully I'll have another painting done sometime this week.

  2. I like it. *nods* The canvas gives it a cool texture, too.

  3. It does not look like a dirt road after a cattle stampede. You did a nice job blending the shadows.