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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Create a Steampunk Triptych Part 2

This blog is a follow-up of the previous blog where we started preparations for creating a set of three mixed media steampunk paintings. In the first blog we did most of the preparations, preparing our surfaces, etc. In this blog the magic happens when we start putting everything together. Today's blog is jam-packed with a number of techniques and art tips including painting with sand, impasto work, palette knife tricks, etc.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

As the project I am working on will stretch over a few days, I start by preparing a stay-wet palette for my acrylic paints. This saves a lot of wastage on paint and it is easier to retain my mixed colors. If you've missed the blog on making a stay-wet palette, you can read it here.

We start on one of  the collections in the Digital Downloads on, called Steampunk Divas. Starting with the rhinoceros, I mix three acrylic colors to get the color I want; Titanium White, Raw Umber and Payne's Grey.

I mix some fine Art Sand into this.

I always use a palette knife to mix my colors with, but in this case I will also use it to paint the sand onto the surface.

Spread the sand evenly onto the surface, using the sharp edge to keep the medium inside the lines as well as to scrape detail into the thick medium.

Work directionally with the palette knife, instead of any direction you like, or the eye will be restless when viewing the painting.

Both the tip and the side of the palette knife holds useful tricks for the artist to use.

This was very slow going, but it has already brought so much to the painting that there is no doubt in my mind that it was worth it. Isn't it amazing how accurately one can work with a palette knife?

I use the leftover sand mixture to paint some canvas supports with. There are the little wooden supports that come packaged with canvasses and are supposed to be slid into the corners at the back. Most artists I know don't use these (aside from myself!) and I have been donated a huge number of these.

I use Raw Umber and a medium Angle Brush to paint the negligee with.

The Raw Umber is very transparent, but it is only a first layer and I do not take steps to increase its opacity yet. Once again, I want to point out how important it is to paint directionally. Simply painting in the right direction, has already added curves to the figure, even though no light or shadow has been added.

It is time to add opacity to the paint. Titanium White always adds opacity, but it also changes the tint in the paint.

This is much lighter than what I want, but I can work with this color in the highlighted areas. All I need to do now, is to add shadow in the darker areas.

I return to the original color to darken all the areas aside from the highlights.

Then I use Lamp Black for the deep shadows.

I continue working these three colors until I am satisfied with the results.

I now need to paint the hat and will do this in another semi-transparent color, namely Yellow Ochre.

This first layer of paint does not give me the contrast I desire, but it is a good starting block from which to work.

I return to my previous palette to continue working on the hat.

Finally I add a band to the hat in Dark Brown.

Every brand of paint has its own version of Flesh and they differ as widely as human skin tones do in reality. Best is to learn to mix your own skin tones. However, for today's project I love the color mixed by Dala, called Flesh Tint and will be using this.

This photo is much brighter than the actual skin tone, but it allows you to see what I did.

I use the Raw Umber to create shadow in the skin tone.

I start by painting Titanium White into the details on the rhino.

Once the white is dry, I will be adding silver. I have some left in a bottle from a previous craft project and will use this as it will easily glide in there. If I did not have this, I would turn the angle brush on its side and use it to paint a thin trail.

The squeeze bottle works beautifully, but the paint will have to be flattened with a brush.

I use a round brush to pain the thin lines on the tackle of the rhino.

I then use black to add shadows to the tackle as well as to pain the detail on the nose, ear and eye.

Raw Umber and Black is used to add detail to the face.

I am going to use Brown to paint the hair. It is the same colour I used inside the eye.

I then mixed some Modeling Paste into the Brown.

The modeling paste does not affect the color much.

I lay down thick layers of this for the hair using the side of the palette knife.

Use the tip of the palette knife to scrape detail into the hair, creating the loose strands.

I decide to bring a little of this mixture into the tackle of the rhino as well.

I then use the tip of a round brush and Mars Black to paint some lace onto the negligee.

I am finally satisfied with the results, but now I need to give the rhino something to walk on, or I will need to paint on some wings!

This time I mix some Coarse Art Sand into my Raw Umber.

I want to add some warmth to the earth and end up mixing Raw Umber, Payne's Grey, Azo Vermillion, Titanium White and Light Brown together with the coarse sand.

I once again used a palette knife to plaster this onto the painting.

And once again, I painted the leftover mixture onto the canvas supports.

I will use wood glue to glue the painted canvas supports and the cardboard gears onto the painting.

The metal nuts and washers will be glued on with Genken Contact Adhesive.

Using a pair of tweezers helps to keep your hands free of glue and makes for much tidier work.

I use the tip of the round brush to sign the painting with.

And finally we are all done with the first of the three paintings! We will be using the same techniques in the remaining two paintings, but I will not explain it in as much detail again, making it possible to publish the last blog in the series in the upcoming blog.

This set of paintings (triptych) is available from the Gallery in, under the artist Miekie.
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