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Time Well Spent

Here are a few fun projects you may enjoy experimenting with while awaiting your next fabulous masterpiece to come to mind.

Mix color right on the canvas
Suppose you want to depict brilliantly sunlit green foliage. Squeeze any bright yellow pigment directly from the tube and directly onto the blank, clean canvas. Next, squeeze a smaller amount of any blue pigment beside the yellow, then blend gently with a brush until you see a bright yellow-green. By eliminating the white pigment, youíre assured of stronger, high-intensity color. By not mixing thoroughly, youíll retain an intriguing sparkle. Experiment with other pure colors. Your eye will soon find them all acceptable and exciting, and you may never mix weak, timid color again.

Depict rocks under water
Completely cover a section of canvas depicting rocks. Be sure to vary measurements, positions, and angles. Strive for color variations and strong dark and light difference. Next, use the edge of a painting knife and scrape all of what youíre just done off the picture surface. The remaining, blurred stain will look like rocks under the water. All youíll then need is to portray the waterís surface above them. Use a few graceful elliptical curvatures of sky color or perhaps reflected images. If it doesnít work the first time, try and try again.

Mist and Mystery
An atmospheric haze, such as ocean spray or fog, can add dramatic touches to a background or near the outer edges of a picture surface. This is a wonderful device to subdue areas away from a focal point. Oil painters can achieve a watercoloristís wet-on-wet appearance by diluting white pigment with an odorless paint thinner until it looks like fat-free milk. Use a soft brush to apply the mixture wherever you wish, over thoroughly dry oil or acrylic color. The paint thinner will evaporate quickly, leaving you with a beautiful transparent veil.

Would Blue Have Been Better?
Imagine that you have painted a bouquet of flowers that stands in a white vase that seems too attractive to the eye. You begin to wonder what other color you could have used for the vase, or if you should repaint it. Donít! Stretch Saran Wrap over the unframed painting surface, wrapping it around to the back and taping it down so itís wrinkle-free and taut. Use a soft brush and pliable color to repaint the vase right onto the Saran Wrap. If you like what you see, redo the original painting. If not, toss the Saran Wrap and be thankful you didnít lose what youíd already had, which youíve now discovered to be the best choice after all. Try this with other subjects.

Don Foster

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