I tried acrylics for the first time, using a very liquidy type called Golden High Flow. They’re the consistency of ink yet extremely saturated with pigment. They called out to me because of their permanent and lightfast qualities, plus finished artwork doesn’t have to be placed behind glass.
I attempted to paint with them like watercolors, but they were far too vivid. I had trouble keeping paint in my palette and not making a mess, too. So, I bought some empty paint markers, filled them with paint, and used a damp brush for blending. This works best on a gessoed surface or something that doesn’t absorb quickly or you’ll get dark lines from the markers.
I overpainted my test piece. When I look back at it in an earlier stage, I think I like it better, except I’m fond of the little dragonflies I made from stray dots in the finished piece.
This one started as a winter scene but I honestly got confused with adding snow, so I swapped back to warm weather. I used two reference photos from Paint My Photo, and the branches and leaves were from observing the crab apple in our yard–with plenty of artistic license.
I used a piece of Strathmore 500 Illustration Board for this, and I absolutely loved it. It’s sturdy, takes water, and has a very minimal texture. Expensive? Yes, but it’s perfect for this medium.
Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever paint anything but birds. They’ve fluttered around my brushes and pencils and paper for the past few months, and now that I’m pairing them with Inktense as a medium, they’re not showing signs of flying south.
The Bluejay and Goldfinch photos come from Paint My Photo yet again, a wonderful place to find all those closeups you can’t take yourself.
Although I’m pleased with the rainy day Bluejay, I like the colors in the Goldfinch painting. Inktense is responsive to layering, so anything that looks plain or washed out can be strengthened with a quick second or third gazing.
Inktense takes some getting used to, but I’m becoming more and more fond of it as a pencil and paint medium. The pencils can seem overwhelming when water is added because their color is so intense. The blocks can seem difficult to use because they don’t spread out in water like watercolor and they tend to granulate.
Now that I’m spending more time with them both, however, I’m really pleased with my paintings. I can layer colors over other colors and not end up with mud. I can top off an area with pencil to get thin lines and highlights.
I really love the painterly effect, too, especially with this little wren. I put more effort into the background and branches with that one, too. With the crow, I nearly skipped the background, but I focused on creating an inky black with emerald green, gold, and blue highlights.