Mixing it up and learning a lot

I’m really learning a lot by mostly confining myself to working with acrylic paint. I’ve definitely shaken off my paint phobia and begun to feel that the paint will do my bidding as opposed to the other way around. One of the things that motivates me is trying out new methods of working with each new piece or project. Once I feel I have assimilated a particular technique, I experiment with a new one.

stay-wet paletteI noticed that when I was finishing off the last piece that I could work a lot more quickly and confidently because I had some left over paint still mixed which I could dip into so this time I decided to try pre-mixing a palette of colours based on the underpainting I’d done at the start of the piece.

Now, I’ve always been extremely reticent about mixing up paint and have tended to resort to mixing it actually on the painting rather than anywhere else…This works but it can be very time-consuming when you try to recreate the same colour somewhere else in the piece!

paint swatchSince I’m way behind on my 7 months-7 paintings schedule and time is of the essence, I thought I would try an approach that was a bit more organised. I mixed up a palette of seven colours (a coincidence, I assure you, though it is my favourite number) and as I mixed them I splashed a sample of each onto a strip of paper and jotted down next to it what I had used. I didn’t write percentage proportions but wrote the main colour down first followed by the additions in descending order of quantity ending sometimes with ‘plus a touch of’ for whatever that last magical ingredient had turned out to be. I’ve pretty much stuck to my original colour scheme but I have added two more colours as I’ve gone along.

I can’t believe how much time and stress this has saved me! Why on earth was I so reluctant to do it before?



  1. Robyn said

    It’s all about practice isn’t it? Now that you have lost your fear so quickly you can see that once you begin it (dear old Goethe!) movement has power and magic in it. So next time you fear, just begin it and see what happens.

  2. Its definitely about practice, I agree…so that its not just a question of beginning but keeping at it! That’s the difficult bit…but it helps a lot to entertain myself with specific challenges which are not about the success of the piece per se…in this case, learning to mix up paint…in the previous one to work over a coloured ground…in the next one…? Something will occur to me! At least this way, whatever the success or not of the piece, I can always say, “Ah well, at least I learnt to…”

    Thanks for stopping by!

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