Usually when I’m learning a new medium, I take a slow but steady approach, doing my best to get the basics down before attempting more involved projects. Not so with acrylics for some reason. Oh, I did start with the basics — creating values and painting a simple cube — and I do have one painting in progress which is looking fairly good. It’s from the video course on acrylics at The Virtual Instructor.
While I was browsing through other projects at the site, I came across a video for a still life painting. An acrylic still life painting. Beginner’s level.
Sure, why not! Despite the fact that I know next to nothing yet about acrylic techniques, I jumped right in, sketched the still life on a sheet of canvas, and set to work. The video shows how to create an underpainting using Payne’s gray and burnt umber. Hmmm…I don’t happen to have either of those colors in my acrylics set. So, of course, I improvised. It was just for fun, right? Yeah, I used black and brown.
Hey, stop laughing! This is a learning experience, remember. And I learned that black and brown aren’t good substitutes for Payne’s gray and burnt umber.
That was only the beginning of my acrylic woes. My attempt to follow along with the video quickly went from bad to worse. I used the grin and bear it philosophy for a time, but soon my grin turned to a grimace, and I just couldn’t bear it any longer.
At that point, all I could do was shake my head, laugh, and walk away.
Please, don’t even ask what it’s supposed to be or how it got to be such a mess. I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to make any effort to salvage it or not. I’m thinking maybe I should just name it “Study in Black and White” and be done with it. I could frame it and look at it whenever I need a good laugh.
Yep. I’m laughing at it. Please feel free to do the same.
Meanwhile, I’m reading more about underpainting and why we do it. I’ve also subscribed to Acrylics Anonymous, and will be dutifully following their “12-step” program.
Step 1: We admit we are powerless over painting — our lives have become too much fun.
Painting is fun. Even in the midst of my acrylic disaster, I’m still enjoying it, and that’s what really counts.