Techniques and Tips

Special Effects in Acrylic: A Close-Up Look

Special Effects in Acrylic: A Close-Up Look


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Close-Up: Special Effects in Acrylic by Pat Stanley originally appeared in the July/August 2011 issue of Magazine.

I began by laying the gessoed canvas flat on the floor and pouring very diluted fluid acrylics (Golden quinacridone/nickel azo gold and transparent red iron oxide) onto the surface. Using water in a spray bottle, I sprayed and tilted the canvas to allow the colors to merge. As this thin, multicolored layer started to dry, I spritzed it with rubbing alcohol. The alcohol repelled the pigment, forming blotches. When the underpainting was dry, I drew the beams of a ceiling—using a watercolor pencil so that I could wipe off some lines later.

A I used masking fluid to save the underpainting (bright yellow) in various spots. Then, using diluted Mars black acrylic and a small sponge roller, I painted over most of the surface. You can see one coat on the boards of the beams and two coats on the sky to the left.

B What seems to be the dark red sky is actually a red area of the underpainting covered with two layers of diluted Mars black.

C I filled in some of the blotches in the underpainting with opaque grays that caused these blotches to come forward as if they were exploding.

D I used other opaque grays to solidify some beams. I followed the beam structure, as well as the light and shadow pattern, but I avoided painting over some of the interesting shapes in the underpainting.

Read more about Pat Stanley’s process in the July/August 2011 issue of Magazine.


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