Thursday, 24 July 2014

Italian Cyclists

Italian Cyclists - acrylic 30x40 cms
Isn't it funny how you read all these articles in art magazines by competent artists who give you step-by-step instructions on how to create a masterpiece like theirs in several easy steps, then when you try it, it turns out to be utter rubbish that goes straight in the bin!

after 2 hours
Well for once, I followed one such artist's advice and tried a method of painting that was mostly alien to the normal way I do things, and I was actually quite surprised at the results. "Italian Cyclists" was definitely NOT the way I usually do things and scared the pants off me as it was mostly done at a painting club I belong to, and under much scrutiny from fellow artists.

Working from memory using a stretched canvas and acrylics, the first instruction I followed was to give the canvas an under-painting of red. Not sure what to do after that, I sketched the scene from a photo loosely with a small brush using burnt umber. Normally I would have meticulously sketched the scene in pencil first, though come to think of it, the last portrait I did was done initially in a similar way with a fine brush. The rest of the painting was done mainly using larger brushes, applying the paint in a fairly dry manner so that small areas of the under-painting showed through. I had much difficulty in stopping myself from going into more detail as I knew that I had to keep this one down to an impression.
after 4 hours

The painting took around three 2-hour sessions.

In conclusion, the resultant work that had a continuity about it and a feeling of a warm sunny day. This has set me off on a new course in the wonderful world of painting.


  1. Frank you are very brave and it paid off. This is so very good. The whole piece ties in together probably because of the underpainting..
    Excellent work and good luck on continuing your new found technique.
    Barbra Joan...

    1. Thanks Barbara, when I painted the canvas red, some of my artist friends looked at me a bit strangely!

  2. Hello Frank, I'm glad this worked out for you. It's so exciting to find a new technique and it really recharges the batteries.

    I don't use acrylics much at the moment, but when I do, this is the way I like to work. I get frustrated with a careful drawing that then quickly gets covered over. I much prefer to put in a few guidelines and then get straight on with laying in the tonal structure.

    Using a toned support seems to work well too. It unifies the painting and helps to create broken areas of colour, which gives a more vibrant look.

    1. Thanks Keith, I don't recall you doing any acrylic work but if you do and it's anything like your lovely watercolours, we are in for a treat!

  3. Hi again Frank, thanks for the visit to my blog.. Just to let you know here in these parts of the world the Rose of Sharon is very much like a Hibiscus and comes in pink, purple, white etc. Hey, you have to live in Florida to understand the language of flowers. !!! LOL !

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  5. Well, I must have done something right with this work, as it sold earlier this year when it was shown in the Little Theatre in Leicester.