All about the inspiration behind the art. Acrylic Paintings, Impressionism, Art, Southern, Modern, Contemporary, Coastal, Flowers, Famous Places, New Orleans, Florida, Gulf Coast, Food, Expressionism, Fauve, Cityscapes, Architecture, Decor, Painting, Beach, Tropical, Seascape, Landscape, Still Life Mona Vivar Fine Art: July 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

Simplify Your Acrylic Color Selection

I am all about time management and simplification especially when it comes to producing art.  If you are like me you want to spend more time painting and less time (and money) buying supplies.  Walk into any art supply store or browse any art supply website and you will be overwhelmed by the color selections available with each acrylic paint brand.  What colors do you REALLY need to make a painting? 
I have spent a lot of time doing trial and error work to narrow down my color selection.  I do both impressionistic and abstract paintings, and here is the palette that works for virtually any painting in those styles.
Starting on the left top corner and going right and then down these are my colors:
Titanium White
Cadmium Yellow (medium)
Yellow Ochre (sometimes called Yellow Oxide by various companies)
Cadmium Red (light)
Naphthol Crimson/Red
Alizarin Crimson
Magenta (or Permanent Rose)
Ultramarine Blue
Phthalo Blue
Cerulean Blue
Cobalt Blue  (this one is optional but I really like the color)
Phthalo Green (or Viridian Green)
Burnt Umber
Black (Mars Black or Ivory Black will work)
These acrylic colors work well for me.  I keep them in the same order on the palette because it trains my hand to automatically dip the brush in the right color without looking.  A real no brainer!  As you can see from the mixes in the middle of my palette everything looks harmonious.  Maybe you can try them for yourself and make those paint purchases easier on the wallet and less time consuming.
Well it's back to the easel with me and my latest New Orleans scene.....


Friday, July 11, 2014

Painting the Essence of a Dragonfly

The other day I was on my patio admiring the few container plants that have survived the first half of summer when a beautiful blue dragonfly perched on the succulents and sat still long enough for me to get a snapshot of him.   I also took a photo of my fiery red salvia blooms.  Yet another example of painting subjects readily available in my own backyard!
Here is the step by step process I used to combine my subjects in an acrylic painting.

My easel with the printed photos for reference.  I use blue house painter's tape to keep my canvas from sticking to the easel.  Also helps with clean up.

Convenient set up with easel, palette, water and a chair if I need to sit rather than stand while painting.

I use my handy foam brush for a quick gestural block in of the star of the painting.  The canvas is already toned with yellow ochre.
I continue to use the foam brush for broad slapping on of paint for the succulents.

The palette colors mimic what I have on the canvas.  I don't thin my paints with anything.  This allows me to make juicy strokes on the canvas.  I keep the foam barely damp with water.

Here I use a large nylon brush to place smaller details on the dragonfly.

I go back to the foam brush and add the dark foreground for the blooming salvia.  Up until this point I have been painting wet in wet paint.  The greens will dull the red blooms so I wait until the paint dries before continuing with the blooms. 
I add the red blooms.

I add lighter leaves on the salvia and multiple stokes of various cheerful colors around the canvas.
I use dull yellow on the background and allow some of the darker toned canvas to peek through.  I also put a few strokes of red on the dragonfly for more unity with the red blooms.

I sign and Summer Visitor (acrylic on canvas, 11 inches by 14 inches) is finished!
Now listed on Etsy at Mona Vivar Fine Art
All images copyright Mona Vivar 2014.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Paint Red, White and Blue Loose with Foam Sponges

Summer conjures up images of endless flowers for me so I cave in to the urge to paint them.  This week was no different except I decided to use foam sponges instead of brushes to paint with.  I have been experimenting with the foam sponges as a way to exaggerate motion and paint thickness.  It keeps me from piddling along with details.
Here are the foam sponges I use.  They came from Target in the hardware and house painting section.  A pack of three was slightly over a dollar.  You can find them in most other discount stores or hardware and home improvement stores.

At first, I wanted to paint pink, orange and yellow blooms in an aqua fiestaware pitcher.  I blocked in the basic shapes.

The colors looked great on my palette, but I thought the painting looked anemic as it began to develop.  I was very happy with slapping paint on with the foam sponges though!  I used a brush only towards the end to finish off the table and pitcher.

Independence Day was right around the corner, so I made a decision to completely change the color of the flowers to red, white and blue.  That's the great thing about painting, you can make it anything you want....
I kept the pitcher the same color.

I changed the background from the neutral grey green to white in order to make the mood of the painting more summery.

Finally I was happy with July Blooms.  Here is the finished piece.  Those foam sponges are my new best painting "secret"!  Enjoy Independence Day.

Copyright Mona Vivar, July Blooms, 14 inches by 11 inches, acrylic on canvas
Now on Ebay at Mona Vivar Fine Art