When I recently invited you, our readers, to send in your comments, one recurring theme was the desire for more acrylic content. I’m happy to do just that, as today’s newsletter is about Inside Acrylics: Studio Secrets from Today’s Top Artists by Phil Garrett, a book so new that it’s only available for pre-orders. It features artists such as Jim Campbell, Patti Brady, and John Hull. Reserve your copy today, and in the meantime, here’s a free excerpt from the chapter on techniques, focusing on Mike Williams’ working process.
From Inside Acrylics: Mike Williams is a South Carolina painter whose inspiration comes from his love of the outdoors and fishing. He does not work from reference photos–his imagery is in his mind and heart.
When Mike sets up to work and faces that proverbial blank canvas, he begins by making marks that help him visualize and then steadily builds on them as ideas come to him. The attributes of the materials he uses help him in building his paintings. He might draw a line into a painting, then fix it by scraping a layer of gel medium over it. Then he might take a large brush and work color over the wet gel and underlying drawing.
Mike works with jars of heavy body paint that he opens well before he starts his painting sessions so that the paint has time to set and thicken. He likes the pull and friction that it gives his brushstrokes. For Mike it’s all about the paint and its infinite options for mark-making. Mike usually works on several paintings at a time. He returns to these works in progress over weeks and sometimes months until he’s satisfied they’re finished.
Let’s follow Mike’s process for beginning the painting that eventually became Flow (above).
1. In the Beginning: Sketching and Scraping
Mike sketches his composition with a Stabilo pencil because its marks can be smeared and manipulated. He then uses a scraper to work gel medium over the finished drawing.
2. Applying the Initial Paint Layers
He loosely brushes various areas of the painting with heavy body and fluid acrylics, as well as some lightfast colored inks. He uses a range of brush types, from traditional long-handled to house painting brushes.
3. Adding More Color and Refining Details
Mike works in more color and begins to refine details using a brush and palette knife. The shapes of the fish are now becoming apparent. ~Phil Garrett
And there you have it! I have to admit that this might just be one of my new favorites from North Light Books: the cover alone is simply gorgeous. It’s spiral-bound, so it lays nice and flat. The paintings featured in the interior are beautiful, and I absolutely love all of the pictures of working artists in their studios and in the field. Click here to pre-order your copy of Inside Acrylics for more acrylic painting instruction from some of the best artists today.